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Strong Start to the Week
Mon, 20 Jun Closing

Indian equity markets began the week on a strong note as buying activity intensified in the post noon session amid strong European markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 241 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 68 points. The S&P BSE Midcap & the S&P BSE Small Cap gained 0.4% each. Gains were largely seen in IT and auto stocks.

Asian markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Japan leading the region. The Nikkei 225 is up 2.34%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 1.69% and China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.13%. European markets are trading sharply higher today after latest opinion polls showed that Britain would vote to stay in the European Commission. Shares in France lead the region. The CAC 40 is up 3.33%, while Germany's DAX is up 3.21% and London's FTSE 100 is up 2.59%.

The rupee was trading at 67.41 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 49.23 at the time of writing.

Shares of Cipla Ltd finished the trading day on an optimistic note (up 0.7%) after it was reported that the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia's National Immunobiological Company to innovate antiviral medical products for HIV and Hepatitis C treatment, technology transfer and for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing. Reportedly, the total investment in the project will be over 2.8 billion rubles.

The company will finalize construction and validation of the manufacturing plant together with Cipla in 2017 and products will be commercially available in 2018. New drugs production (Subscription Required) will help to change therapeutic regimens and substantially increase availability of drugs for Russian patients. By 2019 the total market share for anti-HIV drugs will reportedly increase to 60%.

Meanwhile, Zydus Healthcare, a subsidiary of Cadila Healthcare strengthened its US portfolio after the company acquired two abbreviated new drug applications (ANDA) from Teva Pharmaceuticals. The acquired portfolio comprises an ANDA which is already commercialized and one pipeline ANDA which is a transdermal patch. Reportedly, the estimated market size of the two ANDAs put together is US$200 million. The scrip of Cadila Healthcare finished the trading day up by 0.7% on the BSE.

Moving on to news from the banking sector. Shares of Axis Bank declined 0.6% in today's trade after the bank decided to keep its lending rates based on marginal cost of funds unchanged.

According to Axis Bank, the bank's Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) for overnight loans will be 8.95%, the rate for one month will be 9.05% and for three months it will be 9.25%. The MCLR on 6-month loans will be 9.3% and for one-year loans the rate will be 9.35%. MCLR on two-year loans will be 9.45% and for three-year loans the rate will be 9.5%.

All rupee loans sanctioned and credit limits renewed with effect from 1 April 2016 are priced with reference to the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), which is the internal benchmark of the concerned bank. Actual lending rates are determined by adding the components of spread to the MCLR.

In a similar development, Axis Bank has entered into an agreement with Kasikorn Bank to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and other businesses. The bank is the first private sector bank to sign an agreement with the Thai bank. Kasikorn Bank is the fourth largest bank in Thailand with an asset base of US$75 billion.

The agreement will create a platform for partnership development in various spheres of inter-banking cooperation and facilitate joint projects as well as trade flows between India and Thailand.

Banking stocks finished the day on a positive note with City Union Bank and Karur Vysya Bank leading the gains.

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Mar 23, 2018 (Close)