Indian equity markets had a volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a cautious note and most of the morning session saw them trading firm albeit within a range. However, buying activity intensified in the afternoon session ensuring that the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex today closed higher by 144 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 45 points. Both the BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap closed marginally higher. Gains were largely seen in auto and banking stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed in the green today while European indices have also opened firm. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.56 to the dollar at the time of writing.
MNC Pharma stocks closed mixed today. While Pfizer and GSK Pharma closed firm, Novartis and Sanofi India were at the receiving end. GSK Pharma announced results for the first quarter ended March 2013 (December ending company). Topline grew by 1.3% YoY during the quarter, with its core pharmaceuticals business growing marginally by 1.5% YoY. The muted performance was largely due to supply chain related issues in this business during the quarter. Operating margins declined by 5.8% to 26.3% in 1QCY13 due to increase in operating expenses and decline in operating income. The material costs increased by 4.3%, while staff costs and other expenses grew by 21.5% and 17.1% respectively. Bottomline increased by 37.5% YoY during 1QCY13, due to higher exceptional loss in 1QCY12. This helped in the PAT margins improvement of 7%. However, adjusting for the exceptional impact, bottomline declined by around 21% with margins declining by approximately 8%.
Most auto stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M). As per a leading business daily, passenger car sales declined for the sixth straight month in April 2013 as a slowdown in the economy, firm interest rates and weak consumer sentiment took its toll. According to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic passenger car sales declined 10.4% to 150,789 units in April this year compared with 168,354 units in the same month of 2012. This has been the longest stretch of decline since the SIAM started collating data in 1997-1998. SIAM expects the decline in sales to continue for the next two months and expects some growth thereafter on account of the cut in petrol prices. New product launches are also expected to bolster sales in the coming months. As far as other auto segments are concerned, motorcycle sales in April declined by around 2%, while domestic scooter sales grew by a decent 14.7%. Total two wheeler sales grew by a mere 1% during April 2013.