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Share Markets in India Open Flat; ONGC Top Gainer
Tue, 26 Sep 09:30 am | Rini Mehta, TM Team

Asian stock markets are lower today against the backdrop of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The Shanghai Composite is off 0.08% while the Hang Seng is down 0.01%. The Nikkei 225 is trading down by 0.1%. Wall Street dipped on Monday, as a selloff in technology shares weighed heavily on the Nasdaq, while the most recent statement from North Korea's to Washington added to a cautious tone.

Back home, share markets in India have opened the day on a flat note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 54 points while the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap index opened the day on a flat note.

Barring bank stocks, metal stocks and capital goods stocks, all sectoral indices have opened the day in green with stocks from oil & gas sector and power sector leading the pack of gainers. The rupee is trading at 64.84 to the US$.

ONGC share price was the top gainer on BSE in the opening trade on the reports that ONGC will acquire the government's 51.1% stake in HPCL through a bulk or block deal some time in November or December at the prevailing market price.

Pharma stocks opened the day on a mixed note with Strides Shasun & Aarti Drugs leading the losses. Lupin share price> opened the day on an encouraging note after the company received final approval for its Clobetasol Propionate Lotion, 0.05% from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to market a generic version of Clobex Lotion, 0.05%.

Lupin's Clobetasol Propionate Lotion, 0.05% is the AB rated generic equivalent of Galderma Laboratories, L.P.'s Clobex Lotion, 0.05%. It is indicated for the relief of the inflammatory and pruritic manifestations of corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses.

Further, Clobex Lotion, 0.05% had US sales of USD 14.3 million according to IMS MAT June 2017.

In another development, Suven Life Sciences has been granted a patent each by India and Japan for a drug used in the treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases.

The granted claims of the patents are being developed as therapeutic agents and are useful in the treatment of cognitive impairment associated with neurodegenerative disorders.

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One must note that, innovators in the pharmaceutical industry make use of patents largely. They make heavy use of patents whenever they create a new drug. In one of the editions of The Equitymaster Digest, we have spoken everything that you need to know about patented drugs, its advantages and its implications. Here's a snippet:

  • "That's how the innovators in the pharmaceutical industry work. They make heavy use of patents whenever they create a new drug. The patent allows them to recoup the high capital expenditure that goes into the research and development (R&D) of new drugs. Companies that have a patent on a particular product are immune from competition for the duration of the patent."

Notably, a number of patent infringement cases have been filed against leading Indian pharma companies and their counterparts in other countries over the last few years.

Indian pharmaceutical companies have been facing intense pressure on account of anti-trust cases too in the US.

Additionally, the BSE Healthcare Index is down 24% in two years. This is a mighty fall compared to the benchmark index, which is up 23% during the same period. A downgrade in earnings estimates has led to the selloff in the pharma space.

Returns of BSE Healthcare Index vis a vis Sensex

USFDA alerts on Indian pharma companies have increased over the past few years. Regulators used to visit the plants every two years.

While the short-term pain is expected, whether these companies with strong R&D capabilities and compliant plants do well over the long term remains to be seen.

Moving on to the news from oil & gas sector. As per an article in a leading financial daily, the board of directors of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) gave an in-principle approval for the proposal of its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) to set up a refinery in Tamil Nadu at an estimated cost of Rs 274.6 billion.

The planned refinery will be CPCL's third refinery. It currently operates a 10.5 million tonnes Manali refinery in Tamil Nadu. It also has a smaller 1 million tonnes Nagapattinam refinery.

Besides its main Manali refinery, CPCL already has a refinery at Cauvery Basin- called as CBR- with over 600 acres of land available with oil jetty and a port. The new refinery would be an expansion of this facility.

Notably, the company is executing projects worth Rs 52 billion in the next five years, a new crude oil pipeline with an investment of Rs 2.6 billion.

IOC share price opened up by 0.3%.

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