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Volatility plagues Indian bourses
Wed, 23 Jun Closing

Indian markets had a volatile trading session today. After languishing in the red in the morning session, strong buying activity post noon pushed the indices above the dotted line. However, in the final hours, markets were struggling to stay afloat. While the BSE Sensex closed higher by around 10 points (up 0.1%), the NSE Nifty gained around 7 points (up 0.1%). More interest was seen in midcap and smallcap stocks as the BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap notched gains of 1% each. While healthcare and FMCG stocks found favour, metals and oil & gas stocks were at the receiving end.

As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while the European indices have opened in the red. The rupee was trading at Rs 46.20 to the dollar at the time of writing.

As per a leading business daily, Raymond has shut down its premium brand offering 'Be:Home'. This move is part of the company's strategy to rationalize brands and consolidate. The withdrawal of this brand comes within 2 years of its launch. It must be noted that this brand was originally launched as Be: in 2001. It was then discontinued in 2007 with a view to repositioning it. In 2008, it was re-launched as Be:Home with the aim of offering soft furnishings and accessories sourced from across the globe.

It must be noted that several Indian textile companies had in the past few years formed alliances (by way of JVs or stake acquisition) with their global counterparts, particularly those with strong front-end capabilities, in a bid to access global markets, tap technological know-how, design skills and branding and retailing ability. Raymond was the foremost amongst them to harness this opportunity and get a global footprint through these alliances. However, none of these initiatives have been value accretive to Raymond as the business scenario in the global textile industry has been muted. Further, the company has also been facing increasing competition from Bombay Dyeing, Shopper's Stop among others. The stock closed 1% higher.

Most pharma stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Cadila Healthcare, Dr.Reddy's and Sun Pharma. As per a leading business daily, Piramal Healthcare is mulling the payment of one-time cash bonuses to its employee base of over 8,000. This would be from the proceeds of US$ 3.7 bn that Piramal Healthcare is expected to receive from Abbott Laboratories on sale of the former's domestic formulations business. These cash bonuses are likely to be upto 6 months of the employees' fixed salary.

It must be noted that as part of the deal, Piramal Healthcare is scheduled to receive US$ 2.12 bn by FY11 from Abbott. The balance US$ 1.6 bn will be doled out in equal installments over the next four years beginning 2011. While the proceeds will be utilized to grow Piramal Healthcare's existing businesses, the company is also looking to give a special dividend to its shareholders once the money comes in. Further, Piramal Healthcare had also stated its intention of foraying into areas beyond healthcare although the details of the same have not yet been divulged. The stock closed marginally higher.

Ramping up infrastructure is a key requisite if India wants to grow its economy at a sustainable pace of 9%. As reported in a leading business daily, India requires US$ 1 trillion in the next five years to create infrastructure, which will be the key to a robust growth. The Indian economy is expected to grow by 8.5% this fiscal, up from 6.7% in FY09 after the 2008 global financial crisis. In the three years preceding FY09, India's economy had expanded by over 9%. Even if India receives the funding, execution will remain the key. In this department, the government has been found to be severely lacking. Already there is a big fiscal deficit staring in the face. This means all concerned parties will have to get their act together to bridge the gap.

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