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Sensex Finishes Flat; Realty and FMCG Stocks End Negative
Wed, 19 Oct Closing

Indian share markets swung between gains and losses in the afternoon session amid weak European markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 66 points, while the NSE Nifty finished down by 19 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.1% and 0.6% respectively. Gains were largely seen in power and energy stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.21% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.03%. The Hang Seng lost 0.38%. European markets are lower today. The CAC 40 is down 0.18% while the DAX lost 0.25% in early trade. The FTSE 100 is off 0.23%.

The rupee was trading at 66.71 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 51.03 at the time of writing.

Share price of Sun Pharmaceuticals finished on an encouraging note (up 0.7%) in today's trade after the company announced a new collaboration with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) for development of dengue vaccine.

As per the reports, Sun Pharma will fund and support further development of the vaccine candidate and existing ICGEB knowhow and patents. ICGEB will grant Sun Pharma exclusive rights and licenses for development and commercialization of this vaccine globally. ICGEB will receive pre-defined royalty and milestone payments.

This is the second collaboration between Sun Pharma and ICGEB focusing on dengue. The first one announced in May 2016 was related to the development of a botanical drug for treatment of dengue. The current collaboration is focused on developing a novel, safe and effective vaccine for prevention of dengue.

In another development, the central drug regulator has sent letters to nearly 300 companies, which have sought marketing approvals for fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs. As per an article in The Economic Times, some of these firms have been issued show-cause notices and asked to conduct Phase IV trials - a post-marketing study, as evidence to show their products are safe and effective.

In March this year, the government had decided to ban (Subscription Required) 344 FDCs that it found to be irrational and unsafe. The banned FDC market was valued at Rs 35.35 billion in June. Several companies with the largest share of the banned FDC market reflected a reduction in sales of these drugs between May and June, with some seeing up to 30% drop in sales.

Moving on to news from stocks in steel sector. According to a leading financial daily, ArcelorMittal is all set to finalise a 50:50 joint venture agreement with the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) on October 20 for setting up an Rs 50 billion facility at Rourkela to produce high-end products for the country's growing automotive sector. ArcelorMittal is keen on making greenfield investments in India's steel sector.

Both the companies last year signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up the facility at Rourkela in Odisha. The size of the plant could reportedly be around 1.2-million-tonne unit.

The joint venture company would construct a state-of-the-art cold rolling mill and other downstream finishing facilities that will offer technologically advanced steel products to India's rapidly growing automotive sector. Steel minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said that the joint venture would be operational by December.

SAIL is supposed to supply steel to the joint venture entity while the ArcelorMittal will provide the required technology. ArcelorMittal caters to around 17% of the global auto steel demand.

India is likely to manufacture 7 million units to become the world's fourth largest automobile manufacturing nation by 2020. Increasing the availability of indigenously produced automotive steel would reduce India's dependence on imports and is likely to give the automotive industry a competitive advantage.

Share price of SAIL finished the day down by 0.3% on the BSE.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)