Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with China (down 1.6%) and Hong Kong (down 0.1%) leading the losses. However, markets in South Korea (up 0.8%) and Singapore (up 0.3%) are trading firm. The Indian share markets indices have opened the day on a firm note. The sectoral indices have opened mixed with stocks in healthcare and technology leading the gains. However, the stocks in auto and consumer durables space are leading the losses.
The Sensex today is up by around 44 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 13 points (0.2%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.3% and 0.2% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.77 to the US dollar.
Pharma stocks have opened the day mainly in green with Indoco Remedies Ltd and Glenmark Pharma Ltd leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, leading drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd has pleaded guilty to felony charges related to drug safety. It has agreed to pay US$ 500 m in civil and criminal fines. This is under the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. It was Mr. Dinesh Thakur, former Ranbaxy director and global head of research information & portfolio management who had uncovered the unsafe practices and violations at Ranbaxy. He had notified the management of these issues. However, the management's failure to solve problems led Mr. Thakur to alert healthcare authorities. As per the Justice Department, Mr. Thakur is entitled to US $48.6 m as the whistleblower in the case.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a mainly in the red with Tata Steel and Tayo Rolls Ltd leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Tata Steel will book a US$ 1.6 bn non cash impairment charge for the financial year that ended March 31, 2013. The impairment charge is for the loss of value of Tata Steel Europe (TSE), formerly Corus, and other overseas assets in Thailand and South Africa. The write-down is 63% higher than Tata Steel's entire net profit for the previous fiscal of 2012 (FY12). It is mainly on account of weak economic and market conditions in Europe that happens to be its main market. The steel demand in Europe has fallen by 8% year on year in 2012-13. As per the management, the weak scenario is likely to continue over the near and medium term. It has led to the downward revision of cash flow expectations underlying the valuation of the European business.