After a strong show yesterday, Indian stock markets began the day's proceedings on a cautious note. The indices languished in the red for the larger part of the day. However, buying at lower levels intensified in the later hours and pushed the indices above the dotted line enabling them to close well into the positive. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 128 points (up 1%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 41 points (up 1%). The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap also did well to notch gains of 1% each. Gains were largely seen in banking and oil and gas stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while the European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 52.71 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most pharma stocks closed firm today and the key gainers here were Ranbaxy, Cadila Healthcare and Biocon. As per a leading business daily, Clinigene, the contract research subsidiary of Biocon, has inked a collaborative agreement with a Seattle based company Pacific Biomarkers to address the speciality biomarker and high-end clinical trial laboratory needs of the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Biomarkers are traceable substances that are introduced into an organism as a means to examine its functions. Contract research is an important part of Biocon's business model and these services are provided by both the company's subsidiaries namely Syngene and Clinigene. This business grew by a healthy 20% YoY in 1HFY12 and accounted for around 22% of Biocon's overall sales. Although Syngene accounts for a larger share of Biocon's total contract research revenues, the latter expects Clinigene's performance to also ramp up going forward and more tie-ups such as these will help Clinigene attain that goal.
As per a leading business daily, there was some relief on the food inflation front as it eased sharply to 1.81% in the week ended December 10, from an annual 4.35% rise in the previous week. This was largely due to the high base effect of the previous year and a sharp slide in vegetables and cereals. This is the lowest rate of WPI-based food inflation since the week ended February 9, 2008, when it was recorded at 2.26%. While onions were down over 49% YoY during the week under review, potatoes fell by over 34%. Wheat prices also came down by 4.21%, while vegetables were cheaper by 26.37%. However, there was a rise in pulses (up 14% YoY) and protein based items such as milk, eggs, meat and fish. However, whether this trend will continue in the coming months and help in taming overall inflation remains to be seen. The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) had undertaken 13 successive rate hikes in the past which did not do much in bringing overall inflation down as it hovered around 9% for a year. The central bank expects inflation to moderate to 7% by March 2012.