Indian equity markets languished in the red throughout the trading session today on account of persistent selling activity across index heavyweights. The indices began the day's proceedings on a weak note and in the subsequent hours moved deeper into the red. There was no respite in the final hour either and the indices closed well below the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex today closed lower by 155 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 55 points. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap index were not spared either and lost 1% each. Losses were largely seen in FMCG, oil & gas and banking stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed weak today while European indices have opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 59.33 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most engineering stocks closed in the red today with the key losers being Voltas, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and ABB. Thermax, however, bucked the trend and closed firm. Thermax announced results for the first quarter ended June 2013. Net sales declined by 12.3% YoY during 1QFY14. The fall came in on the back of about 17.2% YoY decline in the energy segment and 1.4% YoY decline in the environmental segment. Operating profits fell by 15.5% YoY during 1QFY14 with margins registering a decline of 40 bps on a YoY basis. Net profits declined 25.2% YoY due to muted performance at the operating level and fall in other income by 56.5% YoY. The standalone order back log of the company stood at Rs 55.3 bn during 1QFY14, up 23.7% YoY. Order inflow during the quarter stood at Rs 21.2 bn. On a consolidated basis, the order book stood at Rs 63.2 bn, up 25.4% YoY.
Novartis also announced results for the first quarter ended June 2013. Net sales for the quarter grew by a mere 1.7% YoY due to poor performance in most of its business segments. The core business segment, Pharmaceuticals, barely grew by 0.4% YoY. The overall sales were subdued due to reduction in trade stocks after notification of new drug price control order announced during May 2013. Novartis' operating margins decreased by 760 bps (7.6%) to 1.2% during the quarter due to overall increase in manufacturing and operating expenses. This increase was also attributed to rupee depreciation, as the company imports large part of its drugs from the parent company. Led by the poor sales growth and margin performance at the operating level, net profits witnessed sharp decline by 48.6%. The stock closed marginally higher today.