All major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a solid note with stock markets in Taiwan (up 4.2%), South Korea (up 2.9%), Singapore (1.5%) and Hong Kong (up 1.5%) leading the gains. The Indian stock markets have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the metal and banking space are the biggest gainers.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 270 points (1.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 81 points (1.8%). Mid cap and small cap stocks are trading in the green as well, with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by 1.5% and 1.1% respectively. The rupee is trading at 52.69 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a strong note with Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Maruti Suzuki leading the gains. However, Hero MotoCorp is facing selling pressure. Auto maker Ashok Leyland has announced that it has acquired an additional 49.1% stake in British bus maker Optare Plc for over Rs 300 m. Owing to refinancing agreement announced yesterday, Ashok Leyland and its associate companies will hike their stake in the British company to 75.1%. The company's share will reach 75.1% of Optare's share capital through placing of shares and raising new equity. The Hinduja Group flagship company had first acquired a 26% stake in Optare in July 2010 as a long term strategic partnership. It considers this as an important move in achieving its vision of being among the top five bus makers globally
Pharma stocks have opened the day in the firm note with Pfizer, Novartis and Abbott India trading in the green. The rural markets form just about 20% of the revenues of the Indian pharma industry. As such, the penetration of the pharma industry in the rural markets is relatively lower compared to other industries such as two-wheelers, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), gold consumption, etc. As a result, big drugmakers like Novartis, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Pfizer, Aventis Pharma and GSK Pharma are aiming to achieve the same kind of penetration in the hinterland markets. However, they seem to be facing a slew of challenges in these markets. One, health is still low on priority in villages; for every 25,000 people there is just one doctor. Certain estimates claim average per capital rural spending on medicines to be just Rs 100 per year. Additionally, there is a dearth of good healthcare infrastructure and stiff competition from small regional pharma players as well.