Indian equity markets were at the receiving end today as weak manufacturing data from China and the possibility of the US Fed scaling back bond purchases sparked intense selling activity. Weakness persisted throughout the day and there was no respite in the final trading hour either as the indices closed well into the red. While the BSE Sensex today closed lower by 388 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 127 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap were not spared either and lost 2% each. Losses were largely seen in banking and oil & gas stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian equity markets closed in the red today with Japan falling by around 7% while European indices have also opened weak. The rupee was trading at Rs 55.76 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The stock price of Wockhardt plunged by around 20% today. This is on back of news in a leading business daily that the US FDA has issued an import alert for the company's Aurangabad unit. Wockhardt has three plants in Aurangabad. It is likely that the US FDA's decision may impact Wockhardt's sales by around US$ 100 m if the import alert is for its entire Export Oriented Units (EoU). Having said that, Toprol XL, which is the company's biggest product with sales of over US$ 120 m, is not manufactured in Aurangabad. The US FDA in recent times has become very stringent in terms of sticking to good manufacturing practices and many Indian companies in the recent past have ran into trouble for not adhering to them. Ranbaxy's prolonged troubles on this front are a case in point.
PSU banking stocks closed in the red today with the key losers being State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Baroda. SBI announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended March 2013. For the quarter, the bank's total income on a standalone basis grew by 9% YoY, while net interest income declined by 4% YoY. As a result, the company's net profits fell by 18.5% during the quarter. The gross NPA as a percentage of total loan rose to 4.75% during the quarter, from 4.44% in 4QFY12. The net NPA stood at 2.1% of loans in 4QFY13. For the full year, net profits of the bank rose by 20% YoY.
Thermax also announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended March 2013. For the full year, the company's net sales declined by 12% YoY. The fall in net profits was steeper at 14% YoY. The company's order book, however, rose by a decent 21% YoY during the year. As per the company, among the significant orders received during FY13 were the company's first African EPC power plant order for a project in Zambia and another EPC order from a leading Government of India enterprise for setting up a captive power plant for its integrated steel plant in Central India. Going forward, management does not expect the situation in the power sector to improve though it clearly stated that the pricing levels prevailing in the industry are unsustainable. However, there are signs of revival from the cement sector. The stock closed 1% higher today.