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IT stocks push markets lower
Fri, 15 Oct 09:30 am

The Indian markets have started today's session on a negative note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark but soon slipped into the negative territory. Other key Asian markets are in the red with Japan (down 0.7%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets ended marginally lower yesterday.

Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading weak with software majors facing the brunt of selling activity. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 21 points, while the NSE-Nifty is trading down by around 14 points. However, buying interest is being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.2% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.2 to the US dollar.

Energy stocks have opened the day on a weak note. Losers here include Castrol and HPCL. As per a leading business daily, ONGC may join hands with the energy firm that gets the rights to develop Russia's largest discovered fields Trebs and Titov. Together, the Siberian fields have about 200 m tonnes of recoverable reserves. Only two Russian energy firms, OAO Bashneft and OAO Surgutneftegaz are qualified to bid for them in the auction in December. Earlier, ONGC Videsh had expressed interest in the project through its Russian subsidiary Nord Imperial. However, it was rejected along with four other companies on technical grounds. It may be noted that in Russia, assets having more than 70 m tonne reserves are classified as strategic in nature. Foreign firms are discouraged from managing such fields. Hence, ONGC will have to make use of the persuasion skills of the Indian oil ministry.

Pharma stocks have opened the day on a weak note. Losers here include Aventis Pharma and Pfizer. As per a leading business daily, the British parent of GSK Pharma will increase its capacity to make a drug for the treatment of elephantiasis at its manufacturing facility in Nasik, India and Cape Town, South Africa. The two units have a combined capacity to produce 600 m units per annum of the drug, all of which is donated by the company to global health organisations. It now intends to increase this to 1 bn units annually. The cost of making these drugs will be about Rs 850 m a year. The Nasik plant is operated by GSK Pharma.

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