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Sensex Opens Marginally Up; Lupin & L&T Top Gainers
Tue, 10 Oct 09:30 am | Rini Mehta, TM Team

Majority of Asian stock markets were subdued during early trade today following muted cues from Wall Street. The Nikkei 225 gained 82 points. The Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 26 points and the China's Shanghai Composite edged down by 11 points. In the US, Wall Street fell from record levels on Monday as gains in Microsoft and other technology stocks failed to offset a drop in General Electric and a slide in healthcare stocks.

Back home, share markets in India have opened the day marginally higher. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 76 points while the NSE Nifty is trading higher by 21 points. The BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap index both opened the day up by 0.4%.

All sectoral indices have opened the day in green with stocks from capital goods sector and information technology sector leading the pack of gainers. The rupee is trading at 65.31 to the US$.

L&T share price surged in the early trade today on the reports that the company has won a Rs 13.6 billion contract to supply 5 million smart electricity meters, according to state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), which is procuring the devices.

Pharma stocks are trading mixed today with Biocon and Piramal Enterprises being the most active stocks. Lupin announced that it has received final approval for its Nadolol Tablets USP 20, 40 and 80mg from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing its generic variant.

Reportedly, the generic variant will comprise US WorldMeds, LLC Corgard Tablets, 20, 40 and 80mg. The tablets are indicated for management of patients with angina pectoris and for the treatment of hypertension.

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As per IMS MAT June 2017 data, Nadolol tablets USP in the three strengths had annual sales of around US$ 109.8 million in the US.

Speaking of pharma sector, at a point in time, almost every stock in this space was considered a safe stock. You could just pick the top 5-6 companies from the sector and expect to make decent returns over a period of time.

But over the last two to three years, the pharma stocks have been anything but safe. In fact, the BSE Healthcare Index is down 24% in two years. In comparison, Sensex has gained 23% in the same period.

But the recent developments have been encouraging. Domestic growth seems to have bounced back post the GST impact. The Indian Pharmaceutical Market (IPM) which declined in July showed a 2.4% YoY growth in August.

Improved Domestic Growth

Here's what Kunal Thanvi, our research analyst, recently wrote about the sector:

  • "Pharma companies which can adapt to these changes will thrive in the long run. The uncertainties highlight it important to be stock specific in the sector. It is crucial to look for companies with the competence and staying power to overcome the challenges."

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Lupin share price opened the day up by 1.7%.

Moving on to the news from the aviation sector. In the latest development, Tata Sons Ltd executive chairman N. Chandrasekaran has said that the group is eyeing Air India Ltd's disinvestment being executed by the government.

Notably, Tata, which already has two small airline joint ventures in India, one with Singapore Airlines and the other with Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd, is still not clear about what a sale would look like.

In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet gave the go-ahead to sell Air India, which has received US$3.6 billion since 2012 in state aid.

Some companies including low-cost Indian carrier IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, ground handling company Bird Group and Turkey's Celebi Aviation Holdings have expressed an interest in buying some of Air India's various businesses.

Air India, founded in 1930s by the Tata Group, is saddled with debts and a bloated cost structure.

As per Business Standard, international foray could change completely with the acquisition of Air India, as then they would not have to build operations from scratch. There is huge value in buying Air India - it has 18 valuable level-three slots (cities with huge shortage), which include London, Paris and New York.

The value could be gauged from the fact that a slot in Heathrow was sold for US$75 million recently. The international foray would give the Tatas a 16.9% share of the international market, making them the largest player ahead of Jet Airways.

However, there are some issues. The current policy does not allow foreign airlines to bid for Air India. Which means the Tata's cannot bid, with Singapore Airlines being their joint venture partner. But the government is reassessing the policy after witnessing a lukewarm response on Air India divestment.

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