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Sensex Off to a Cautious Start; Realty & Power Stocks Gain
Fri, 23 Jun 09:30 am

Most of the Asian equity markets are lower today after the sell-off in mainland China markets in the previous trading session. The Shanghai Composite is off 0.13% while the Hang Seng is down 0.21%. The Nikkei 225 is trading down by 0.01%. US stocks closed mixed on Thursday, with the healthcare sector posting strong gains.

Meanwhile, share markets in India have opened the day on a sluggish note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 11 points while the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 4 points. The BSE Mid Cap Index and BSE Small Cap index opened the day up by 0.1% & 0.2% respectively.

Barring metal stocks, automobile stocks and FMCG stocks, all sectoral indices have opened the day in green with power stocks and realty stocks leading the pack gainers. The rupee is trading at 64.50 to the US$.

Pharma stocks opened the day on a mixed note with Wockhardt & Dishman Pharma leading the gains. As per an article in a leading financial daily, Lupin has launched generic Desoximetasone cream used for the treatment of inflammation and itching of skin in the US market.

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The company has launched its generic Desoximetasone cream in the strengths of 0.05% and 0.25%. The drug firm had earlier received approval for the product from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

The drug is the generic equivalent of Taro Pharma's Topicort, which had US sales of US$ 38 million per year.

Reportedly, the company has 151 product filings pending approval with USFDA. Cumulative filings with the USSFDA now stand at 368 with the company having received approvals for 217 products.

Meanwhile, the company's drug facility at Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, has received five observations from USFDA.

The observations made by the USFDA for the Pithampur unit are the failure to review any unexplained discrepancy, not establishing control procedures, taken samples not representative in nature, acceptance criteria for sampling non-adequate and appropriate controls not been exercised.

Notably, Lupin has been facing heat from USFDA for some months now. The US regulator had given observations on the company's Goa plant, the most important with respect to imports to the US, in April. In May, the Indore unit of the pharmaceutical manufacturer received six observations from USFDA.

US Remains Key Growth Driver

Lupin derives 43% of its global revenues from the US. The US continues to be a principle growth driver for the company. Lupin enjoys a strong brand equity in the US and is the 5th largest pharmaceuticals company by prescriptions in the country.

However, the pharma sector, once considered a safe haven for investors has been on a steady decline over the past two years.

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Lupin share price opened up by 0.7%.

Moving on the news from stocks in power sector>. As per an article in a leading financial daily, Tata Power Co. Ltd has offered to sell 51% stake in its Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (CGPL) unit, which runs the 4,000-megawatt (MW) Mundra power plant, for a token sum of Re1.

However, the power generating company's offer is contingent to the government helping to cover production costs at the Mundra UMPP. Tata Power has also assured to stay on as a 49% stakeholder in the project after the stake sale.

The move is a tacit admission by Tata Power of its inability to run the project at the existing tariff of Rs 2.26 per unit.

Reportedly, the losses at Mundra (UMPP) (subscription required) have eroded approximately Rs 38 billion of Tata Power's net worth in the past three years.

While there has been a considerable decline in the coal prices in international market in the recent times, the plant continues to post losses due to under-recoveries on account of cost of coal.

The project has been in a bind ever since the Supreme Court set aside an Appellate Tribunal for Electricity decision that allowed Adani Power and Tata Power to charge compensatory tariff against the increased imported coal cost from Indonesia.

Notably, Adani Power and Essar Power, which also have power projects based on imported coal, are contemplating similar moves, the reports noted.

Tata Power share price opened the day down by 1%.

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