The major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with markets in Hong Kong (down 0.3%) and China (down 0.2%) leading the losses. However, stock markets in Singapore (up 0.5%) and Malaysia (up 0.4%) were trading in the green. The Indian share markets have opened the day on a positive note. Barring banking and software, all sectoral indices have opened firm with the stocks in the metal and capital goods sector leading the gains.
As per a leading financial daily, Union government is likely to de-incentivize gold imports to prevent the rupee from depreciating like in August last year, when it had plummeted to the 69 per dollar level. It is noteworthy that gold imports have registered a 300% increase over last October, something that is a matter of concern as it can adversely impact current account deficit (CAD) and forex reserves. As such, finance ministry is having discussions on how to curb gold imports. The debate is whether to increase the import duty (10% at present) on gold or to do away with the relaxation granted to bullion trading houses and impose a moratorium on imports by them. No final decision has been taken yet, but if any such step is taken, gold prices are likely to go up.
Indian Pharma stocks have opened mixed with Panacea Biotech Ltd and Torrent Pharma Ltd leading the gains. However, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Wockhardt Ltd were leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd has taken a legal recourse against the US drug regulator for revoking the tentative approvals granted for launching the generic versions of AstraZeneca's heartburn drug Nexium and Roche's antiviral Valcyte in the US. It is estimated that the company could have gained US$250 m, had it received the drug regulator's approval to launch both the drugs for six months exclusivity period. It is noteworthy here that soon after revoking approvals to Ranbaxy, FDA had approved Dr Reddy's Laboratories and the US-based Endo International to launch generic Valcyte. Currently, there is no other company with market exclusivity for Valcyte generic. In its lawsuit, Ranbaxy has requested the court to restrain FDA from approving any other generic versions of Valcyte and Nexium until the end of its six-month exclusive periods on the launch of the drugs.