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Sensex Finishes in Red; Pharma Stocks Continue to Drag
Wed, 21 Dec Closing

Indian share markets fell in the final hour of trade to finish in the red for sixth straight session. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 66 points, while the NSE Nifty finished down by 21 points. The S&P BSE Mid Cap finished down by 0.2% while the S&P BSE Small Cap finished on a flat note. Losses were largely seen in FMCG, IT and capital goods' stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed, losing some of the optimism after Dow Jones hit a new record close overnight. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.11% and the Hang Seng rose 0.37%. The Nikkei 225 lost 0.26%. European markets are mixed today. The DAX is up 0.08% while the FTSE 100 gains 0.01%. The CAC 40 is off 0.06%.

The rupee was trading at 67.87 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 53.66 at the time of writing.

Gold imports witnessed a fall of 30.5% to $15.74 billion in April-November of the current fiscal. The total imports of the precious metal in the corresponding period of 2015-16 stood at US$22.64 billion. According to the commerce ministry data, the gold imports however grew for the second straight month in November by rising 23.24% to US$4.36 billion.

The softening prices of the gold globally as well as locally are seen to be having an impact. This fall in imports is expected to keep a lid on the current account deficit. The increase in gold imports pushed the trade deficit to about two-year high of US$13 billion in November from US$10.33 billion in the same month last year.

Gold Imports in India over Last Six Months

Imports remained stable at around 100 tonnes in November despite a fall in the sales of jewellery because of the cash crunch after demonetisation. Rural demand too has been affected because of the currency shortage.

India is one of the largest gold importers in the world and the imports mainly take care of demand from the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country's total official gold imports declined to 60 tonnes in April-July of this fiscal, much lower than 250 tonnes in the year-ago period. India imported 650 tonnes of gold in 2015-16.

Globally, gold showed some strength as the dollar weakened against a basket of currencies overseas, raising the appeal of the precious metal as a safe haven. Gold rose 0.46% to US$1,139.8 an ounce and silver by 0.03% to US$16.07 an ounce in Singapore.

Moving on to news from stocks in pharma sector. According to an article in Livemint, The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has reportedly issued Form 483 observations against Unit I of Aurobindo Pharma in Hyderabad. The plant is used for manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The unit contributes over 20% of the company's total revenues.

Earlier in February, Aurobindo's Unit VII in Telangana had also received Form 483 observations from the USFDA inspectors. One must note that, companies receiving Form 483 observations must respond to the US drug regulator with remedial action plan followed by its implementation.

Aurobindo Pharma's share price finished the day down by 1.2%.

Meanwhile, Wockhardt announced that the UK health regulator has confirmed that its manufacturing facility at Chikalthana in Maharashtra complies with good manufacturing practices (GMP). In September, the UKMHRA had completed inspection of Chikalthana plant without any critical observations on the facility.

UK MHRA (UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) has considered the manufacturing unit suitable for risk based inspection. This will reduce inspection frequency of two years from the existing inspection frequency of 1 year, the reports noted.

Recently, Wockhardt's other manufacturing facility at Kadaiya in Daman also cleared by the UKMHRA. With this, its three facilities, including Shendra unit in Aurangabad, cleared by the UK MHRA.

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).

Wockhardt's share price finished the trading day down by 1.7% on the BSE.

And here's an update from our friends at Daily Profit Hunter...

The Pharma index broke below its key support zone of 10, 500 this week. This has paved way for lower levels in the index. The pharma index opened with a downside gap on Monday. It continued to trade lower the entire day. Despite a positive opening on Tuesday, the bears dragged the index lower below 10,500 level to close below this important support zone. On Wednesday, the selling pressure continued, shedding 0.7% from Tuesdays close. Unless the index crosses above the 10,500 levels, it is expected to remain under pressure.

Nifty Pharma under Pressure

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May 29, 2017 (Close)

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