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After trading below the dotted line for the major part of the day, Indian equity markets recovered in the final hour to finish flat amid strong European markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 7 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 2 points. The S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P BSE Small Cap closed up by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. Sectoral indices finished mixed with metal and IT stocks leading the gains. Selling activity was seen in oil & gas and consumer durable stocks.
Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.35%, while the Nikkei 225 led the Hang Seng lower. They fell 0.28% and 0.25% respectively. European markets are trading broadly higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 1.01%, while France's CAC 40 is up 0.52% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.24%.
Oil prices were trading at US$41.11 a barrel at the time of writing. The rupee was trading at 66.54 against the US$.
Healthcare stocks finished the day on a mixed note with Ipca Labs and Strides Shasun leading the gains. According to a leading financial daily, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has entered into partnership with the AstraZeneca Pharma India for the distribution of Dapagliflozin, an innovative Type 2 diabetes medicine, in India. Dapagliflozin is AstraZeneca India's leading diabetes medicine.
Under the agreement, the company will promote and distribute Dapagliflozin under the brand name 'Oxra'. AstraZeneca India markets Dapagliflozin under the brand name 'Forxiga' and under the terms of the agreement, both companies will promote, market & distribute Dapagliflozin in India under different brand names. AstraZeneca will retain the intellectual property rights to Dapagliflozin.
Reportedly, the company will also gain the rights to promote and distribute the combination of Dapagliflozin with Metformin under the brand name 'Oxramet', following regulatory approval. AstraZeneca India is currently seeking approval from the Drug Controller General of India (Subscription Required) for the combination of Dapagliflozin with Metformin. The script of Sun Pharma finished flat on the BSE.
Recently, the Indian Health Ministry announced a ban on 344 fixed dosage combination (FDC) drugs. FDC drugs are developed using two or more different active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in a single pill. The pharma companies will have to suspend the manufacturing and sale of these 344 drugs, including cough syrups, analgesics, and antibiotic combinations. In our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we have explained how the ban poses a new challenge for the pharma companies (Subscription Required).
According to a leading financial daily, Tata Chemicals has temporarily shut down its fertilizer plant at Babrala in Uttar Pradesh due to regular maintenance work. The company has shut down its plant from March 22, 2016 and will last approximately for 30 days. Tata Chemicals is one of the world's largest manufacturers of soda ash. The plant has installed capacity of 8.64 lakh tonnes of urea per year, which constitutes nearly 12% of the total urea produced by the country's private sector. Reportedly, this will not have material financial impact on the company. The stock price of the company finished the trading day up by 0.9% on the BSE.
In another news, Tata Chemicals recently announced it is exiting the biofuel business in Mozambique, where the company has maintained investment for eight years. Tata Chemicals, which holds interests in the Mozambique biofuel unit, Grown Energy Zambeze Limitada, through its Mauritius subsidiary announced the sale of its 95% stake to co-promoter Rademan Janse van Rensberg for nearly US$6 million. The company plans to cut costs and boost returns. Tata Chemicals, which gets about 40% of its revenue from outside its home market, has presence in the US, Europe and Kenya.
Tata Chemicals recently announced its December quarter results. While the topline fell by 4.2% YoY, bottomline fell 45% YoY during the quarter (Subscription Required).
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