Indian markets saw an end to their winning streak, as they fell today after being in the positive for seven days on the trot. Today’s selling was led by stocks from the metals and oil & gas sectors. On the broader BSE, almost two stocks lost today for every one that closed in the positive.
The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty closed with losses of around 45 points (0.3%) and 10 points (0.3%) respectively. Mid and small cap stocks followed suit. The BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap indices closed weaker by around 0.5% apiece.
Among other key Asian markets, while China (down 1.8%) and Japan (down marginally) closed in the red, gains were seen in Hong Kong (up 0.7%) and Indonesia (up 1.3%). European markets have also opened today on a mixed note.
Auto stocks closed mixed today. While gains were seen in Hero Honda and Tata Motors, selling pressure marked trading in TVS Motor and Maruti Suzuki. Gains in Hero Honda, India’s largest 2-wheeler company, were seemingly on the back of reports that the company is looking at options to extend its joint venture with Honda. The current alliance between the two companies is there till 2014, and there have been concerns as to how Hero Honda would cope up after the JV ends. Anyways, the management has indicated that it had faced a similar situation 10 years back when the previous round of partnership ended, and was renewed again. Though it is still keeping its fingers crossed on the outcome.
The continuation of the JV with Honda is critical for the company, especially given that it is facing tough competition from the like of Bajaj Auto. Bajaj is in fact closing in the gap with Hero Honda in the entry level 100 cc bike segment. Thus it is very important for Hero Honda to continue to work along with Honda Motors in keeping its new product launches up to the pace.
Software stocks also closed mixed today. HCL Tech and TCS emerged key gainers. On the other hand, Mphasis and Tech Mahindra led the losers’ pack. Gains in TCS were helped by the company winning a multi-year deal from Norway’s leading telecom firm, Telenor. As part of the deal, TCS will provide software solutions across Telenor’s businesses of mobile and fixed telephony, accounting systems and data warehousing.
The stock of Sun Pharma was amidst the top gainers from the BSE-Healthcare Index. Gains in the stock were on the back of the company receiving the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) nod to market a generic version of ‘Alprazolam’ in the US. It is an anti-anxiety drug. ‘Alprazolam’ is a generic version of Pfizer’s ‘Xanax’ tablet. It is reported that the market size of this drug is about US$ 145 m (approx. Rs 6.5 bn) in the US alone.
This is Sun Pharma’s second approval from the USFDA in two days. Yesterday, the company had reported of receiving an approval for marketing a generic version of the ‘Keppra’ injection, which is used for treating epilepsy. As per the company, the size of this injection’s generic market opportunity is worth US$ 85 m (approx. Rs 3.8 bn). These are positive developments for the company and will enhance its revenues from the highly competitive US generics market. This is especially given that the company’s 76% subsidiary Caraco has run into trouble with the US FDA.