The US Federal Reserve yesterday announced plans to reduce its monthly asset purchases by US$ 10 bn to total US$ 75 bn. It however also assured that interest rates would remain lower for even longer than previously promised. As a result, despite the prospect of liquidity being sucked out of global markets, the key indices remained stable. Barring Korea (down 0.2%), the major Asian stock markets have opened the day in the green with stock markets in Japan (up 1.6%) and Singapore (up 0.2%) leading the gains. Indian markets started the session today with a relatively soft reaction to the development.
The Sensex today is down by around 48 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 19 points (0.3%). However, mid cap stocks and small cap stocks have opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.3% each. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 62.32 to the US dollar. The sectoral indices have opened mixed with the stocks in the energy and banking space leading the losses. However, the stocks in the metal and software sector have opened on a firm note.
Indian Pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with J.B Chemicals Ltd and Indoco Remedies Ltd leading the gains. However, Strides Arcolab and Orchid Chemicals were facing selling pressure. The biotechnology major Biocon has recently entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with Quark Pharmaceuticals Inc for the development of a range of siRNA (small interfering RNA) based novel therapeutics. This arrangement is likely to enable Biocon to co-develop, manufacture and commercialize QPI-1007, a novel siRNA drug candidate for ophthalmic conditions for India and other key markets. As per the agreement, Biocon will have access to Quark's innovative and proprietary siRNA technology platform that can be used for the development of novel therapeutics for various unmet medical needs. The financials details have not been disclosed.
Engineering stocks have opened on a mixed note with Everest Kanto Cylinder and Bharat Bijlee Ltd leading the gains. However, Jain Irrigation Ltd and Bharat Electric Ltd were facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd's power transmission vertical has bagged an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) order for setting up transmission and distribution network in Qatar. The order is valued at Rs 29.4 bn and has been offered by Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation for supply and commissioning of transmission lines and substations. The scope of work for the company includes supply, erection, testing and commissioning of switch gears, power transformers and auxiliaries. The order is part of expansion of the Qatar Power Transmission System. As per the management of L&T, the order aligns well with the company's expansion plans in the international arena. The project is scheduled to be completed in 22 months.