Indian equity markets extended their initial gains and were trading in the green during last two hours. All sectoral indices except realty stocks were trading firm.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 111 points and NSE-Nifty is trading up by 41 points. BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices are trading firm by 1% and 0.9% respectively. The rupee is trading at 55.49 to the US dollar.
Indian pharma stocks are trading in the green led by Panacea Biotech and Natco Pharma. As per a leading daily, Piramal Healthcare is looking at acquisitions in the pharma space. For this, Piramal has even set up a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) team. We may note here that earlier in 2010, Piramal had sold its pharmaceutical formulations business to US drug maker Abbott Laboratories. The M&A team will be headed by chief operating officer Vijay Shah. It will be a three-member team which will include group's chief financial officer Rajesh Laddha another senior executive too. As per Vijay Shah, the M&A team is already in talks with some contract manufacturing companies in Europe and the US for probable deals.
Energy stocks are trading strong. Gas Authority India Limited(GAIL) and Cairn India are the biggest gainers while Gujarat State Petronet and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) are the biggest losers. According to a leading financial daily, Indian oil and gas companies are hoping to secure oil and gas exploration blocks in Afghanistan. Indian companies were hoping to get some prospective blocks in Afghanistan without participating in the bidding process because of the goodwill that India has generated in Afghanistan. Indian firms might also commit investments in Afghanistan to get blocks on nomination basis. India is also keen on joining the second round of bidding for energy blocks this time in the Afghan-Tajik-basin, having missed the first. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC)'s foreign arm, ONGC Videsh, is considering participating in the auction of the six exploration blocks offered. An Indian delegation, including officials from ONGC, is expected to visit Afghanistan soon on invitation from Afghanistan's mines minister.