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Indian share markets remain buoyant
Thu, 26 Dec 01:30 pm

Indian share markets continued to trade above the dotted line in the post-noon trading session. Barring auto, all the sectoral indices are trading in the green with power, consumer durables and meta stocks being the biggest gainers.

BSE-Sensex is up 35 points and NSE-Nifty is trading 14 points up. BSE Mid Cap is trading up 0.8% and BSE Small Cap index is trading up 1.5%. The rupee is trading at 61.9 to the US dollar.

Majority of the public sector banking stocks are trading in the green with Indian Bank and Dena bank being among the major gainers whereas Punjab & Sind Bank and Bank of Maharashtra are the only stocks trading in the red. As per a leading financial daily, banks opened record number of 7,300 branches in 2013 which is the highest in a decade. Despite the growing popularity of alternative bank channels, the brick-and-mortar branches have failed to lose attraction. Reportedly, the government's financial inclusion programme to provide banking services across 6.25 lakh villages has led to banks setting up branches in rural and semi-urban regions. The expansion program was aided by relaxation in branch licensing norms by the Reserve Bank of India. Among state-run banks, Canara Bank opened the highest number of branches at 723 whereas largest bank State Bank of India opened 627 branches in 2013. Among private banks, ICICI Bank opened the highest number of branches at 587 during the year.

Pharma stocks are trading mixed with Indoco Remedies and Orchid Chemicals being the major gainers whereas Biocon and Dishman Pharma are among major losers. As per a leading financial daily, large pharma companies such as Sun Pharma, Abbot Healthcare and Glenmark Pharmaceuticlas have still not restored the trade margins offered to drug distributors. In May 2013, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority had enforced a ceiling on the prices of 348 essential medicines. As a result pharma companies cut margins on wholesalers by 2% and that of retailers by 4%. While mid-sized pharma companies restored margins after several months of negotiations that had also resulted in a disruption in the supply of drugs for a brief period but big pharma companies are still negotiating. However, companies such as Torrent Pharma, Pfizer and Ranbaxy Laboratories are offering discounts on a slightly higher stockist selling price.

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