Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in Indonesia (down 0.6%), China (down 0.3%) and Malaysia (down 0.3%) leading the losses in the region. However, markets in Japan (1.7%), South Korea (up 1.2%) and Hong Kong (up 0.7%) are trading firm. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the telecom, IT and realty space are leading the gains. However, FMCG stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 41 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 10 points (0.2%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 55.02 to the US dollar.
Indian pharma stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Strides Arcolab, Natco Pharma and Aurobindo Pharma leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, biotechnology firm Biocon has said that it is expecting to soon launch a new drug for treating inflammatory skin disease Psoriasis. The first clinical trial of the drug has shown promising results. As per Managing Director and Chairman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the new drug also holds potential for treating other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. It must be noted that Biocon has recently entered into an option agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company for the latter's IN-105, a prandial oral insulin product candidate. Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will have the right to exercise an option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to the programme.
PSU Bank stocks have opened the day on a firm note with United Bank of India and Union Bank leading the gains. As increasing number of companies have been failing to meet their financial obligations, the financial health of Indian banks has been on the decline. During the first half of the financial year 2012-13 (1HFY13), domestic banks have witnessed a rise of up to 86% in their bad loans. It is worth noting that the number of corporate debt restructuring (CDR) cases has shot up to record-high levels. During this period, the banks referred a record number of 74 CDR cases. This involved a total debt amount of Rs 400 bn for restructuring. As a result, at least 35 banks have already reported an increase in their gross NPAs (Non-Performing Advances) from the levels recorded at the end of financial year 2011-12 (FY12). Lenders such as Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Allahabad Bank have reported an increase in gross NPAs by about 60%. For South Indian Bank, the rise has been as high as 86% during 1HFY13. Others banks such as Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank and Corporation Bank have also seen their bad loans rise by over 50% during this period.