After opening on a weak note, Indian markets oscillated to either side of yesterday's close in the morning session before a fresh bout of profit booking took its toll. Persistent selling in the index heavyweights in the afternoon session led the indices to close well below the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex closed lower by around 322 points (down 2%), the NSE Nifty lost around 85 points (down 2%). Midcap and smallcap stocks were not spared either as the BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap closed marginally in the red. While losses were seen in stocks across sectors, FMCG and healthcare stocks managed to buck the trend.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened in the red. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.21 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Software stocks closed weak today with the key losers being Infosys and Wipro. As per a leading business daily, UK's National Grid has shortlisted Infosys, Mahindra Satyam and Cognizant for an outsourcing contract. The potential of this deal has been pegged at US$ 250 m. National Grid manages UK's natural gas and electricity networks. The company had a 7 year US$ 470 m contract with Computer Sciences Corporation, which is set to expire this year. The scope of the contract includes developing software applications and maintaining the utility firm's IT infrastructure. If either of the Indian IT firms bag this deal it will be a huge positive given the pressures that Indian IT companies have had to face in the wake of the global economic slowdown. The outlook for global IT spending seems to be improving and so things could be on a further uptick for Indian IT majors.
As per a leading business daily, Aurobindo Pharma has received tentative US FDA approval for US based IPR Inc.'s cholesterol reducing drug 'Crestor' (generic name is 'Rosuvastatin'). It must be noted that Aurobindo had made a Para IV filing for this drug, whereby it had challenged the validity of the drug's patent. The matter is still pending in the courts. Aurobindo has yet to receive final approval. As and when the company launches the drug it will receive 180-day marketing exclusivity given that it has a first-to-file (FTF) status on the same. The total market size of this drug has been pegged at US$ 2.9 bn. Aurobindo now has 116 ANDA approvals out of which 86 are final and 30 are tentative. The stock closed 2% higher today.
India's annual rate of inflation (WPI) managed to ease a bit in April 2010 as compared to March 2010. While in March, the WPI was 9.9%, it fell marginally to 9.59% in April 2010. Food prices, however, failed to cool down. In April, prices of food articles increased 16.87% as compared to 16.65% in March 2010. The government maintains that inflation is on the decline after the fresh rabi crop season. A good monsoon this year will also go a long way in easing food prices. The RBI has forecasted that the annual inflation will be around 5% by the end of March 2011. It remains to be seen whether this target is met and what further measures the central bank chooses to take to bring it under control.