Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a firm note, but subsequent sessions saw them oscillating to either side of yesterday's close. Selling activity intensified in the afternoon session and there was no respite in the final trading hour as the indices closed well below the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex today closed lower by 68 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 16 points. Both the BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap, however, bucked the trend and gained 1% each. Losses were largely seen in metals and banking stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed firm today while European indices have also opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 61.88 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Pharma stocks closed mixed today. While Ranbaxy, Glenmark and Biocon found favour, Sun Pharma and Cipla closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, Ranbaxy's parent company, Daiichi Sankyo, is contemplating bringing in technical experts from Japan to resolve the issues raised by the US FDA with respect to Ranbaxy's manufacturing plants. It must be noted that import alerts were issued in 2008 on two of the company's plants namely Paonta Sahib (Himachal Pradesh) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) for violating the US regulator's good manufacturing practices (GMP) norms. Subsequently, the US FDA issued an import alert on the company's third plant in Mohali for the same reason. In addition to this, in May this year, Ranbaxy had pleaded guilty for manufacturing adulterated drugs and distributing them in the US market. For this, it had to pay damages to the tune of US$ 500 m. Ranbaxy's business and reputation thus has been adversely impacted and whether Daiichi will be able to get the company back on track remains to be seen.
Auto stocks also closed mixed today. While Ashok Leyland and Bajaj Auto closed firm, TVS Motors and Hero Motocorp closed weak. As per figures released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), overall domestic volume sales during the period April-November 2013 grew marginally by 2.7% YoY. This was attributed to growth in two wheelers sales. Two wheelers reported a 5.8% YoY growth in volumes during this period largely on account of 18.7% YoY growth in scooters. Volumes of passenger vehicles declined by 5.3% YoY during this period. All the three namely cars, utility vehicles (UVs) and vans reported a drop in sales. The commercial vehicles (CV) segment continued to be the worst hit as volumes plunged 17.5% YoY. This was largely on account of the 26.8% YoY decline in volumes of medium and heavy CVs. Indeed, slowdown in the economy, firm interest rates and fuel prices have taken a toll on demand. Much hope was pinned on the festive season to revive sales but that largely remained average as compared to the previous festive seasons. The outlook for the rest of the fiscal for the industry remains subdued as well.