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Indian Indices Trade Marginally Higher; Pharma Stocks Witness Buying
Tue, 17 Jul 12:30 pm | Monish Vora, TM Team

Stock markets in India are presently trading marginally higher. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the energy sector and pharma sector witnessing maximum buying interest. FMCG stocks are trading on a negative note.

The BSE Sensex is trading up 48 points (up 0.1%) and the NSE Nifty is up 31 points (up 0.3%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 1.1%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.4%.

The rupee is trading at 68.33 to the US$.

In the news from pharma sector, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals share price is in focus today.

Gains are seen as the company has received final approval from the US health regulator for Colesevelam Hydrochloride for oral suspension which is used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

As per the company filing, the approval has been granted by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in the strengths of 1.875 grams/packet and 3.75 grams/packet.

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Colesevelam Hydrochloride is a generic version of Welchol 1 of Daiichi Sankyo Inc. According to IQVIATM sales data for the 12-month period ending May 2018, Welchol for Oral Suspension achieved annual sales of approximately US$ 73 million.

Apart from the above, the company has also completed the formalities for the acquisition of the equity stake and has acquired the 100% equity share holding of Zorg.

At the time of writing, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals share price was trading up by 1.9% on the BSE.

Speaking of pharma stocks, the BSE Healthcare Index has been on a roller coaster ride in the past few years. The period from 2012 to 2015 saw the index go up more than three times. Since then it has been a painful ride downwards, as can be seen in the chart below:

The Roller Coaster Ride of the BSE Healthcare Index

Pre-2015, pharma companies enjoyed a fairytale ride in the US market. Low labor costs, good chemistry skills, along with efficiency, ensured Indian companies could copy innovator drugs to make generic drugs at a fast pace.

The generic business had lucrative margins for all major pharma players. But the party did not last long. In the quest to supply drugs quickly, they compromised on quality at their manufacturing facilities. No wonder, the US regulatory authority (USFDA) took strict action.

Here's what we wrote about the same in one of the editions of The 5 Minute WrapUp:

  • It's important to understand the core issues. Regulatory problems for pharma companies have increased over the past few years. The frequency of visits as well as quality expectations have increased a lot.

    The intensity of competition has also increased. Faster approvals of drugs have led to price erosion for generic players.

    While we expect the pain to continue in the short-term, the long-term picture still looks bright.

    Stricter norms and pricing pressure will ensure only quality players remain. Companies with strong R&D facilities and quality compliant plants will have an edge over the others.

    Those are the only pharma stocks you should be looking at.

The regulatory issues coupled with price erosion in US markets has impacted the business of major pharma players. How the pharma industry handles this situation remains to be seen. Meanwhile, we will keep you updated on all the developments from this space.

In the news from global financial markets, US retail sales rose faster than expected in June, suggesting a continued robust performance from the US economy during the second quarter.

Data from Census Bureau showed US retail sales rose by 0.5% during June which, although down from an upwardly-revised 1.4% previously, was ahead of the consensus forecast for sales growth of 0.4%. This leaves consumer spending up by 5.9% when the second quarter is compared with sales for the same period one year ago.

The above rise was boosted by increases in purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods.

Further, core retail sales, which remove sales of large ticket items like cars from the numbers, rose by 0.4% during June. Although down from the 0.9% seen back in May, this number is still ahead of the 0.3% average growth seen so far in 2018.

This solid retail sales data coupled with a sharp narrowing trade deficit in April and May has boosted expectations of a strong US GDP reading in the second quarter.

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