Indian equity markets had a volatile trading session today. The indices began on a weak note and oscillated to either side of yesterday's close throughout the morning session. However, buying activity picked up pace post noon and pushed the indices well into the positive. This momentum was sustained in the final trading hour as well and the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the Sensex today closed higher by around 80 points, the NSE-Nifty today closed higher by 23 points. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap also did well to notch gains of 0.5% and 0.3% respectively. Gains were largely seen in metals and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened firm. The rupee was trading at Rs 55.43 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most auto stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors. Bajaj Auto announced its results for the first quarter ended June 2012. Net sales rose by a tepid 4% during the quarter. However, operating margins improved to 19.4% this quarter as compared to 19.1% in the corresponding quarter last year. Sales of its motorcycles in India fell 1% as against 6% growth in the overall market. Exports fared poorly as volumes declined by 41% during the quarter on account of a tax hike in Sri Lanka and political instability in Egypt. It must be noted that earlier the company had set a target of selling a total of 5 m units, translating as a 15% YoY increase in overall volumes. Bajaj expects motorcycles sales to contribute to about 4.5 m units (90% of total volumes), while three-wheelers would contribute to the rest. With the domestic market expected to grow at a subdued pace, exports will have to do quite well for the company to meet its target. Given that the exports scenario has been poor so far, meeting the target seems a bit challenging although the management expects exports to pick up in the coming quarters.
Pharma stocks closed mixed today. While Cadila Healthcare and Wockhardt found favour, Dr.Reddy's (RDY) and Ranbaxy (OTC:RBXZF) e last year for not meeting U.S. drug manufacturing norms. It stated that there was a significant violation of Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for finished pharmaceuticals at Cadila's Moraiya plant. However, the issue has now been resolved with the FDA declaring the facilities at Moraiya to be acceptable. Many Indian pharma companies in the past have come under the scanner of the US FDA for not complying with good manufacturing practices. The worst hit so far has been Ranbaxy and Sun Pharma as the warning letters significantly impacted revenues from the U.S. generics market for both the companies.