Indian equity markets began the day's proceedings on a weak note and languished in the red in the morning session. However, in the subsequent hours, buying at lower levels pushed the indices above the dotted line. This buoyancy continued in the final trading hours as well and indices closed well into the green. While the BSE-Sensex today closed higher by 76 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 22 points. The NSE-Nifty and the BSE Small Cap index also did well to notch gains of 1% each. Gains were largely seen in FMCG and banking stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed firm today while European indices have also opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 59.90 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most energy stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Petronet LNG, Gujarat State Petronet and HPCL. As per a leading business daily, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) will be entering into a joint venture (JV) with Shapoorji Pallonji to set up a terminal for import of liquid gas (LNG) on the Gujarat coast at a cost of about Rs 50 bn. This will be a 50:50 JV. Shapoorji is already developing a greenfield, direct berthing port in Junagadh district. According to the terms of the JV, a feasibility study will be carried out to establish technical and commercial viability of setting up a LNG import and regasification terminal of 5 m tonnes per annum capacity at the proposed port. The project is expected to be completed in around 3 and half years. This move is part of HPCL's strategy to bolster its LNG business. At present, domestic gas production in India is catering to only half the demand. Thus, there has been a beeline for setting up LNG terminals to capitalise on the opportunity.
Pharma stocks closed mixed today. While Wockhardt, Cipla and Ranbaxy found favour, Dr.Reddy's and Cadila Healthcare closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, Cipla plans to fuel its growth plans by expanding in Africa. In this regard, Cipla already has a big share in the South African pharmaceutical market as it will be acquiring local pharma company Cipla Medpro. The two have a supply agreement since 2005. But plans on the anvil include expanding in other African markets as well. Priority will especially be on Nigeria and the East African region. The company' strength lies in the anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and anti-malarial space. Growth will largely be driven by volumes especially since margins in these markets will be on the lower side.