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India mirrors mixed Asia
Wed, 30 Dec 10:30 am

The Indian markets have started on a shaky note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark, fell below the dotted line but have managed to return to the positive territory since then. Asia is currently trading a mixed bag with China (up 1.1%) leading the pack of gainers. However, Hong Kong (down 0.4%) is in the red. The US markets closed marginally lower yesterday.

Currently, in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading a mixed bag with software, metal and banking stocks leading the pack of gainers. However, auto majors are in the red. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 18 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by 4 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small-cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.5% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.74 to the US dollar.

Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include Gujarat Gas and Petronet LNG. However, Castrol is in the red. As per a leading business daily, ONGC and GAIL plan to take a 12.5% stake in the pipeline project in Myanmar to transport natural gas from the Bay of Bengal. They will invest US$ 251 m in the 870 km pipeline that China is building at a cost of US$ 2 bn for moving gas from the A-1 and A-3 blocks in offshore Myanmar to mainland China. Both ONGC and GAIL are part of the consortium that is developing the gas blocks. Existing discoveries in the blocks are expected to produce 500 m standard cubic feet of gas per day for 19 years. It may be noted that while India was also keen to buy the production, eventually it was awarded to China at US$ 7.72 per m British thermal unit at the landfall point in Myanmar. In our view, this is part of the larger drive by the two emerging giants to secure energy and mineral assets across the globe. So far, China has been more successful and has established its presence in numerous Asian and African nations.

Pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include Panacea Biotec and IPCA Labs. However, Sun Pharma is in the red. As per a leading business daily, Ranbaxy has sold its 83% stake in its Chinese joint venture (JV) Ranbaxy (Guangzhou China) Ltd. The JV had sales of US$ 20 m in 2008. The company had recently announced its exit from a Japanese JV, Nihon Pharmaceutical Industry Co Ltd. Apparently, the stake sales are part of the company’s effort to develop a new business model after the acquisition by Daiichi Sankyo. As Daiichi Sankyo itself has a strong presence in Japan and China, Ranbaxy’s resources are better utilised in other geographies.

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