The Indian equity markets had a flattish outing on the bourses today, having started the day well in the green. After opening in the green, markets converged towards the dotted line in the morning session. They moved slightly higher post noon and were trading well in the green for a large part of today's session. However, in the final hour of trade, the indices shed gains and moved towards dotted line, reaching the day's low. There was some volatility seen towards the final hours; however the indices managed to close near the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 22 points (up 0.1%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 4 points (up 0.1%). The smaller indices also had a lackluster day on the bourses. BSE Mid cap index closed 0.1% lower. The BSE Small cap, however closed the day 0.2% higher. IT stocks were the top gainers by a fair margin, followed by realty. FMCG and consumer durables stocks however closed in the negative.
As regards global markets, all Asian indices had a positive outing today. European indices opened the day on a mixed note. The rupee was trading at Rs 55.76 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Post the steep hike in petrol prices, there was speculation in the market that other fuels would also be hiked. The central government however declared that there will be no immediate hike in the prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene. This will help ease the minds and pockets of consumers. However in the recently unveiled Delhi Budget, the value added tax on petrol was slashed. But, the same was increased for the transport fuel CNG, thus bus, taxi and auto fares may see a hike soon.
Biscuit maker Britannia posted a robust 17.2% growth in revenues for the quarter ended March 2012. However, the company has barely been able to maintain its profitability through controlled operating spends. During 4QFY12, cost of goods sold and employee costs (both as a percentage of sales) declined by 2.6% and 0.5% respectively. This offsets the over 0.5% jump in each of the advertisement outgo, conversion charges and other expenses (all as a percentage of sales). Britannia's operating margin stood at 6% during the quarter. At the net level, profitability marginally improved to 4% backed by 8.6% reduction in depreciation outgo and a 2.3% fall in tax expense. During the quarter, the company's tax incidence fell to 22.6% from 26.9% in the year-ago quarter.
For the full year FY12, Britannia's turnover was up by 17.8%. But operating margin remained stagnant at 5.6% as rationalisation in input costs were offset by higher advertisement and conversion charges. The earnings for FY12 surged by 28.5% backed by slower rise in depreciation and interest expenses. The stock closed around 1.8% lower.
Ranbaxy Laboratories recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to launch Absorica, one of its best selling brands in the US after being banned for nearly four years. Absorica is a patented brand formulation of the acne medication isotretinoin, developed by Cipher, for treatment of severe recalcitrant nodular acne. As per the agreement signed, Ranbaxy will pay royalties to Cipher on its net sales. This brand is expected to be launched in the US in the fourth quarter of 2012. The drug generates nearly US$ 500 m in the US markets. On the back of this news the stock was trading over 2% higher.