Barring China (up 0.1%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in Japan (down 1.9%) and South Korea (down 1.2%) leading the pack of losers in the region. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day in the red. Stocks in the power, banking and realty space are leading the losses. However, healthcare stocks are trading firm.
The Sensex today is down by around 89 points (0.5%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 34 points (0.6%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 0.3% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 52.91 to the US dollar.
Power stocks have opened the day on a weak note with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Reliance Infra, Adani Power and Jaiprakash Power trading the red. As per a leading financial daily, power minister Mr M Veerappa Moily recently said that the government was evaluating the option of divesting a 9.5% stake in state-run power producer NTPC. The ministry of finance has sought the views of the power ministry regarding the planned stake sale. It is said that the company's management is of the view that a stake sale in the current market scenario would not garner a good price. It must be noted that the company has been facing several challenges on account of inadequate fuel supplies as well as the reluctance of banks to extend loans for financing projects. If the government's plan to divest 9.5% stake (783.3 m equity shares) in NTPC materialises, the sale is likely to fetch the government about Rs 131 bn. As per certain sources, the government is planning to sell the stake by way of Offer for Sale (OFS) of shares through the stock exchanges. It must be noted that the government currently holds 84.5% stake in NTPC.
Indian pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Sun Pharma, Torrent Pharma, Cipla and Ranbaxy Laboratories leading the gains. However, Biocon, Lupin and Dr Reddy's are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, biotechnology firm Biocon is scouting for new partnerships with multinational pharmaceutical companies for its biosimilars. These are low-cost copies of biotechnology products. In March 2012, the company had called off its two-year old partnership with Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker. After calling off its partnership with Pfizer in developing countries such as Thailand and Malaysia, the company has activated several regional partnerships. As per the company's Chairman and Managing Director, Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon will now restrict its partnership to the developed markets such as the US and Europe. However, it has not finalised yet whether the new partnership will be a co-development project or a pure marketing relationship.