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Indian share markets open weak
Tue, 18 Jun 09:30 am

Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with Indonesia (up 1.5%) and Singapore (up 1.1%) leading the gains. However, markets in Hong Kong (down 0.7%) and Japan (down 0.3%) are facing selling pressure. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the power and oil and gas space are leading the losses. However, information technology stocks are trading firm.

The Sensex today is down by around 69 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 24 points (0.4%). However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 58.10 to the US dollar.

Indian pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Panacea Biotech and Orchid Chemicals leading the gains. However, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Sun Pharma are trading weak. A leading financial daily has reported that the drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) issued a notification to regulate prices of about 150 essential medicines. As a result, widely used medicines such as painkillers, anti-infectives, antibiotics, anti-cancer and cardiovascular drugs are set to witness upto 50% reduction in prices by end of July. It must be noted that the notification has come after the drug pricing control order, mandated under the national pharma policy, was cleared last month.

As per the national pharma policy, prices of 652 formulations under 27 therapeutic areas such as anti-infectives (cetrizine), cardiac (aten), gastro-intestinal medicines (ocid), painkillers (paracetamol) and anti-diabetic drugs (insulin) are expected to drop. The other formulations in the national list of essential medicines include anti-fungal, anti-tuberculosis, anti-leprosy, anti-hypertensives and cancer drugs. After the implementation of the policy, drug prices would decline by nearly 15-20% on an average. The price changes will be made effective 45 days after the date of issue of notification.

Telecom stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel leading the gains. As per a leading daily, India's largest telecom services provider by subscriber base and revenue share Bharti Airtel is hiving off its data centres into a standalone business. The company's board of directors has approved the move and plans to induct a partner into the newly formed unit. The company plans to appoint a new CEO to scale up its data centre operations which is present in 7-8 cities as of now. Currently, the data centres are part of its enterprise services, an independent 100% subsidiary. It is worth noting that Bharti Airtel's move to hive off its data centres comes at a time when global telecom conglomerates such as NTT Communications and SingTel have been scouting for deals to acquire data centre firms in a bid to tap the rising demand for information and communication technology (ICT) business.

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