Markets end 0.7% down for the week

Indian equity markets started the day on a positive note on firm global cues but turned volatile post noon session before finally closing the day in the green. Pharma and Metal stocks were the biggest gainers. While the BSE Sensex closed higher by 65 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 26 points. BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed on a positive note.

As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the green. European indices have also opened firm. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.4 to the dollar at the time of writing.

Cadila Healthcare Ltd has announced its results for the quarter ended December 2013. Consolidated net profit grew by 81.5% YoY helped by lower interest cost and taxation. The consolidated net sales also moved up by 17.8%. EBDITA increased by 16.9%. Cadila's business in the US registered a growth of 61%, while the emerging markets business grew by 30%. The company filed 31 additional ANDAs with the USFDA taking the cumulative ANDA filings for the period April-December 2013 to 49. For the nine months period ended December 2013, Cadila's consolidated net sales increased by 12.2%.

The Supreme Court of India (SC) has directed National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to continue supplying power to Reliance controlled BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd till March 26. SC has directed the discoms to pay Rs 500 m to NTPC as a part payment of its outstanding dues within two weeks. Hearing the petition by the two Reliance discoms, the court issued notice to the central and Delhi governments, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission and NTPC, asking them to respond to the Reliance plea within two weeks and gave another one week to the discoms to file their rejoinders. The move comes against the backdrop of the Delhi government's recommendation to the regulator for revocation of the licenses issued to the two firms if they failed to pay their dues to NTPC and/or resort to long power outages in the city.

Indian share markets remain buoyant
01:30 pm

Indian share markets pared early gains but continued to trade higher in the post-noon trading session. Majority of the sectoral indices are trading in the green with metal, pharma and realty witnessing maximum buying interest. Only FMCG, IT and consumer durable stocks are trading in the red.

BSE-Sensex is up 40 points and NSE-Nifty is trading 14 points up. BSE Mid Cap is trading 0.6% up and BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.5%. The rupee is trading at 62.2 to the US dollar.

Majority of the automobile stocks are trading in the green with Bajaj Auto and Escorts being among major gainers whereas TVS Motors and Eicher Motors are the biggest losers. As per a leading financial daily, Tata Motors is aiming to achieve 15% growth in revenues from the defence business over the next two years. The company is trying to expand its defence business in ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The company recently signed a distributorship agreement for defence vehicles for Indonesia. Tata Motors has been in association with India's off-road defence and security forces since 1958. Tata Motors stock is presently trading up 0.8%.

Most of the Indian pharma stocks are trading firm with Aurobindo Pharma and Biocon leading the pack of gainers while Panacea Biotech and Ranbaxy Labs are a few stocks trading in the red. As per a leading business daily, the Indian arm of the Swiss pharma company Roche has sued Biocon and US generic company Mylan for launching the world's first biosimilar version of the breast cancer drug Herceptin (Trastuzumab). The company has also sued the Drug Controller General of India for giving approval for the launch of the drug. Roche had relinquished its patent on Herceptin in India last year. The Delhi High Court has issued a restraint order on Mylan and Biocon against relying or referring to Herceptin or any other data for selling or promoting their brands Canmab (Biocon) and Hertaz (Mylan) till the next hearing. According to Roche, both Biocon and Mylan have not followed the due process as per guidelines on getting approvals for biologics in India. Biocon stock is trading up 3.2%.

Metal and Pharma stocks lead the gains
11:30 am

After opening positively, the Indian indices are trading above the dotted line in the morning session. The buying interest is the highest in metal and pharma stocks. The selling pressure is largely restricted to FMCG stocks

The BSE Sensex is trading up 88 points and the NSE-Nifty is trading up 28 points. The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up 0.7% and the BSE Small Cap index is trading up 0.6%. The rupee is trading at 62.31 to the US dollar.

Software stocks are trading mixed today. While Infosys and Wipro are among the stocks leading the gainers; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tech Mahindra are among the stocks leading the losses. India's second largest software company Infosys has opened a new delivery center in Brazil. The center will house about 100 employees and will cater to the Latin American market. Infosys began operations in Brazil in 2009 had currently employs over 700 people in the country. Brazil is a key market in Latin America for Infosys. In this geography, it employs over 1,700 people and has plans to significantly scale up its operations. The Latin American market contributed about 10% of revenues for the company in 3QFY14. Infosys is trading up 1% today.

Automobile stocks are trading on a mixed note. While Maruti and Ashok Leyland are trading firm, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is trading weak today. As per a leading financial daily, Mahindra & Mahindra and its unit of Ssangyong Motor plan to jointly develop and launch their first engine in 2015. Ssangyong Motor, a South Korean company that M&M acquired during 2011, would make use of its X100 compact SUV engine for joint development. The X100 based engine would be used as common platform for both companies future products. The appropriate use of resources in this manner could reduce costs for M&M through synergy. The company believes that through the joint effort they plan to produce about six engines that would include both petrol and diesel variants. Notably, M&M plans to roll out two of its own SUVs and a commercial vehicle in 2015 that is expected to use the engines made from this joint effort.

Indian stock markets open in the green
09:30 am

Barring China (down 0.2%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note with stock markets in Japan (up 1.7%) and Taiwan (up 1.1%) leading the gains. The Indian stock markets have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the realty and healthcare space are leading the gains.

The Sensex today is up by around 108 points (0.5%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 35 points (0.6%). The midcap and smallcap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices trading higher by 0.8% and 0.6% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 62.37 to the US dollar.

Barring ACC Ltd, most major cement stocks have opened the day on a firm note with The Ramco Cements and Ambuja Cements leading the gains. Cement major ACC Ltd has announced results for the quarter ended December 2013. During the quarter, the company's standalone net sales declined by 13.1% YoY to Rs 26,934 m owing to the sluggishness in cement demand and fall in realisations. Operating profits for the quarter declined by 17.2% YoY to Rs 2,626 m. Profit before tax reported a decline of 13.4% YoY in line with the trend in the topline. However, net profits increased by 16.3% YoY on account of tax credit of Rs 363 m arising from reversal of tax provisions relating to prior periods. During the full calendar year 2013 (CY13), while sales declined by 2% YoY, net profits increased marginally by 3.3% YoY. The company's board of directors has announced a final dividend of Rs 19 per share for CY13. Along with the interim dividend of Rs 11 per share, the dividend for the full year stands at Rs 30 per share.

PSU bank stocks have opened the day firmly in the green with Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank leading the gains. Public sector lender Bank of Baroda has announced its financial results for the third quarter of the financial year 2013-14 (3QFY14). During the quarter, the company's standalone net interest income stood at Rs 30,571 m, higher by 7.6% YoY. Other income grew by 10.9% YoY to Rs 9,321 m. Net interest margins at 3% during the quarter remained almost stable. Net non-performing assets (NPA) increased from 1.12% in 3QFY13 to 1.88% in 3QFY14. At the bottomline level, net profit increased marginally by 3.6% YoY to Rs 10,748 m. It must be noted that the bank's capital adequacy ratio stood at 12.01% at the end of 3QFY14.

Is it all over for Aadhaar?

UID - 'Aadhaar' was touted out as a transformational initiative - one that would change the face of India, make it the most digitised nation in the world, with the biggest data base of demographic information anywhere and so forth. But four years post launch, Aadhaar seems to have hit a rough patch.

The Aadhaar project has had its fair share of controversy. While the Planning Commission - of which UIDAI is an attached body was the first to raise objections about administrative matters, the project entered into a fierce battle with the Union home ministry's Registrar General of India - which is creating a National Population Registrar - on the issue of collecting biometrics.

But last week, the decision of the government to suspend direct benefit transfers in cooking gas subsidy - one of the biggest showcases for UID-based payment system in the wake of ground level implementation challenges might be the death nail in the coffin for Aadhaar. But the government has said that they are complying with the Supreme Court's order. The SC had passed an interim order last year stating that no one should suffer due to unavailability of Aadhaar. The matter is still pending in the Supreme Court.

However not all is lost for Aadhaar. UIDAI has done very well when it comes to meeting its enrolment target. It has already covered 572 m people and will soon touch the 600 m mark - a target it had set for itself when it first started. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also recently asked banks to put in place the infrastructure required to make sure that Aadhaar-based biometrics can be used as an additional factor of authentication for card transactions. Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi recently took stock of Aadhaar project in Gujarat and pushed for it to be fast-tracked. This seems like the biggest hope for the project right now.