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Positive Start to the Week
Mon, 30 May Closing

Indian equity markets began the trading week on an encouraging note and finished above the dotted line. Positive global markets led to the sustained buying activity in metal, IT and automobile stocks. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 72 points, while the NSE Nifty finished higher by 22 points. The S&P BSE Midcap the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. Meanwhile, losses were seen in oil & gas and realty stocks.

Asian markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Japan leading the region. The Nikkei 225 is up 1.39%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 0.26% and China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.05%. European markets are trading mixed today. The German DAX is higher by 0.31%, while the CAC 40 is even. The London markets are closed.

The rupee was trading at 67.34 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 49.18 at the time of writing.

Oil & gas stocks finished the day with negative bias. Indian Oil Corporation and BPCL witnessed maximum selling activity. According to a leading financial daily, ONGC could buy a majority stake in GSPC's Krishna Godavari basin gas block, preventing the Gujarat government firm's Rs 195 billion loan from turning into an NPA.

GSPC was to begin gas production from the block in 2013 but after sinking in US$3.6 billion it was found that gas reserves are one-tenth of 20 trillion cubic feet claimed in 2005 and technically difficult to produce. Reportedly, it has amassed Rs 195 billion of debt, on which interest cost was Rs 18 billion in 2014-15. Against this, its revenue was Rs 1.52 billion in 2014-15.

Money from ONGC can repay a part of the debt and the remaining would become a joint liability of the two firms. GSPC's field is one of the most difficult fields in the world as cost of extracting gas would be in the vicinity of US$12 per million British thermal unit, double the rate provided by the government currently.

In another development, according to an article in The Economic Times, ONGC Videsh, a subsidiary of ONGC, is set to make a foray into oil trading and has signed an initial pact with the trading arm of Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR. The company plans to initially sell its share of oil from the large Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli group of fields in Azerbaijan through the new venture. OVL, which has stakes in oil and gas assets in 16 countries including Russia, Sudan and Brazil, produced about 178,400 barrels per day of oil and gas equivalent in the fiscal year to March 31, 2016. ONGC finished the day up by 0.3% on the BSE.

Moving on to news from the healthcare sector. Shares of Sun Pharmaceuticals finished the trading day on a negative note (down 1.5%) after the company's US subsidiary Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Inc (SPII), has received a grand jury subpoena from the anti-trust division of the US Department of Justice seeking documents from the company and its affiliates.

The subpoena was pertaining to corporate and employee records, generic products and pricing, communications with competitors and others regarding the sale of generic pharmaceutical products. The company is responding to the Justice Department's subpoena, and reportedly the outcome of the inquiry is unlikely to have any adverse material impact on operations or financial results (Subscription Required).

Also, the company reportedly recently terminated the umbrella agreement as well as the transaction agreement with Japanese drug maker Daiichi Sankyo as the latter has divested its stake from Ranbaxy. Daiichi, which owned Sun Pharma shares worth $3.6 billion as part of the Ranbaxy transaction, had sold its stake in April 2015, ending its run in the Indian pharma market.

Healthcare stocks finished the day on a mixed note with Natco Pharma and Divi's Laboratories leading the gains.

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Jan 18, 2018 (Close)