The Indian stock markets continued to trade on a firm note during the previous two hours of trade led by continuous buying among the index heavyweights. Stocks from the mid and small cap indices are however more in demand today. Barring consumer durables stocks almost all sectoral indices are trading firm. Stocks from oil and gas and metal sectors are amongst the key gainers today.
The BSE-Sensex is trading up by 188 points and the NSE-Nifty is trading up by 57 points. The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 1.1% and the BSE Small Cap index is trading up 1.8% today. The rupee is trading at 60.43 to the US dollar.
Indian Pharma stocks are trading mixed today. While Indoco Remedies and Natco Pharma are leading the pack of gainers, Torrent Pharma is trading weak. As per a leading business daily, Indian major generic drug manufacturers such as Lupin, Dr. Reddy's, and Sun Pharma, are exploring options to enter the US$ 111 bn Japanese drug market. This market is third largest in the world after the US and Europe. Penetration of generic drugs in Japan, is about 30% as compared to 80% plus in the US. And Japan wants to earnestly raise it to 60% by 2017 as it looks to make healthcare affordable. Lupin, which has formed joint venture with Japan's Yoshindo for biosimilars this year, is in talks with various other local drug makers for alliances. Dr. Reddy's continues to be interested in Japan and is exploring all opportunities, even after its joint venture with Fuji Film Corp ended last year. The company is open to all options to form an alliance, acquire a local company or start organically. In FY14, India exported US$15 bn worth of drugs. From this, shipment to Japan formed a miniscule portion of US$ 120 m.
Barring MTNL almost all telecom stocks are trading positive today. Top gainers include HFCL Infotel and Tata Communications. As per a leading business daily, Bharti Airtel's African subsidiary has divested its telecom tower assets to Eaton Towers in a bid to cut costs. This will entail agreement to divest over 3,500 telecom towers to Eaton Towers. This agreement also includes Bharti Airtel to lease back those towers under 10 year contract. It will enable the company to become an asset light one and focus on its core business of marketing of telecommunication and customer services. The sales proceed will help the company to curb its debt levels. The stock of Bharti Airtel is trading higher by 0.7% today.