Indian equity markets languished in the red throughout the trading session today. The indices began on a weak note and subsequent sessions saw them slip further into the red. Although buying activity was seen post noon, it was not enough to push the indices above the dotted line. While the Sensex today closed lower by around 60 points, the NSE-Nifty today closed lower by around 19 points. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap, however, bucked the trend and closed marginally into the positive. Losses were largely seen in metals, FMCG and IT stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the red today while European indices have also opened weak. The rupee was trading at Rs 57.17 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Auto stocks closed mixed today. While Maruti Suzuki and Hero Motocorp found favour, Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM) closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, the Haryana government's labour department has initiated prosecution proceedings against Maruti Suzuki for not adhering to the agreement signed with the workers at the Manesar unit. Allegedly, Maruti has not set up a welfare committee and a grievance redressal unit as was agreed. It must be noted that the strike at the Manesar facility in FY12 crippled Maruti's performance. Volumes for the full year were down by 11% YoY, while revenues fell by 3% YoY. This had an impact on the overall auto industry as well given that Maruti is a market leader. Passenger cars, in particular, witnessed a tepid 2.2% YoY growth during FY12.
MNC pharma stocks also closed mixed today. While Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) closed firm, GSK Pharma (NYSE:GSK) and Aventis (NYSE:SNY) were at the receiving end. As per a leading business daily, MNC pharma companies have been increasing their focus in India on the back of a healthy growth in the domestic market. MNCs have started witnessing growth at a faster pace as revenues grew by 15% in CY11, while growth stood at 12% and 9.8% in CY09 and CY08 respectively. The parent companies of the pharma MNCs in India have been facing rising pressure as research pipelines are drying up and major drugs are losing patents. As a result, these companies are looking at various strategies to bolster sales across geographies. These include focus on chronics, branded generics and launch of patented products. Overall, the growth in the domestic pharma market is driven by expansion in volumes and new drug introductions. The lifestyle-related disorders are driving growth at a faster pace than acute segments.