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Sensex Opens Flat; Realty Sector Up 0.9%
Tue, 20 Dec 09:30 am

Asian markets are lower today as Chinese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Shanghai Composite is off 0.68%, while the Hang Seng is down 0.20%. The Nikkei 225 is trading down by 0.03%. Stock markets in the US closed their previous session on a firm note.

Meanwhile, Indian share markets have opened the day on a flattish note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 31 points while the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 1 point. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index both opened the day up by 0.1%. The rupee is trading at 67.73 to the US$.

All sectoral indices have opened the day on a positive note with realty and information technology stocks witnessing maximum buying activity.

As per an article in The Economic times, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) along with Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp and Kobe Steel Ltd is planning to team up for potential technical agreements to help the firm expand its global footprint.

In this regard, SAIL has already held an initial round of talks with Japan's top steelmakers. With defence sector using lot of steel, the steel produced through the tie-ups would be sold to the defence sector, the company stated. Notably, SAIL already supplies steel to the Indian navy and army, primarily for battle tanks.

Meanwhile, the company is in talks with two European steelmakers for similar partnerships. Besides these, SAIL is also ironing out details with the ArcelorMittal, for a proposed US$884.36 million joint venture.

Further, SAIL is planning to raise output of saleable steel in the year starting April 2017 by about 10% to 16.5 million tonnes. It is aiming for a 10% jump in 2017-18 exports, versus an estimated 700,000 tonnes shipped this year.

This comes at a time when the steel sector remains in the woods, accounting for 28% of the banking sector's stressed loans.

Moreover, SAIL is also considering to buy troubled domestic steel firm assets if offered a "cheaper price". While government steps such as duties and quality controls on cheap imports from China (Subscription Required) have helped Indian steel companies raise prices, SAIL has been asked to buy some troubled private steel assets or manage their operations as part of the broader clean-up of lenders' bad debt pile.

Contribution of stressed loans from Iron and Steel sector

The excess global production, underutilized capacities with poor realizations and rising debt burdens have made the scenario worse for Indian steel makers. The impact of the same is not limited to the steel sector. Public sector banks have the maximum exposure to the steel sector with the highest stressed advances.

SAIL's share price opened up by 0.5%.

Moving on to the news from stocks in pharma sector. Lupin Limited has announced the launch of its Voriconazole Tablets, 50 mg & 200 mg and Voriconazole Oral Suspension, 40 mg/mL in the US market.

Reportedly, Voriconazole tablets and Voriconazole oral suspension are the AB rated generic equivalent of PF Prism C V's Vfend tablets and Vfend oral suspension. It is indicated for use in the treatment of the fungal infections, particularly aspergillosis.

Notably, Lupin had received an approval from USFDA earlier in June this year for its Voriconazole Tablets, to market a generic equivalent of PF Prism CV's Vfend Tablets. According to the IMS September health sales data, Vfend tablets, 50mg & 200mg had US sales of US$81 million, while Vfend Oral Suspension, 40 mg/mL had US sales of US$15.2 million.

The pharma industry as a whole is undergoing regulatory crackdowns. Considering the pharma's regulatory distresses, are Indian pharma companies now adapting to the scrutiny by the USFDA? (Subscription Required. Our pharma sector analyst, Bhavita Nagrani, is of the opinion that Lupin was able to insulate its growth despite rising pressures in the sector. She has recently shared a detailed view on the company and valuations in the recommendation report of The India Letter.

Meanwhile, Sun Pharma's share price opened the day up by 0.9% after it was reported that one of the company's wholly-owned subsidiaries has voluntarily requested the USFDA to withdraw approval for 28 Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs).

As per the reports, the withdrawn drugs were the older products from the former Ranbaxy laboratories, and were not marketed in the US since 2008.

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Jan 19, 2018 (Close)