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Weak market breadth

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Key benchmark indices hovered in negative zone in mid-morning trade . At 11:31 IST, the barometer index, the S&P Sensex, was down 54.81 points or 0.19% at 29,463.93. The 50 index was down 16.80 points or 0.18% at 9,110.05.

Earlier, the key benchmark indices had drifted higher in early trade on positive Asian stocks. Key benchmark indices reversed direction in morning trade.

The Mid-Cap index was down 0.7%. The Small-Cap index was down 0.35%. The fall in both these indices was higher than the Sensex's decline in percentage terms.

The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was weak. On the BSE, 1,448 shares declined and 925 shares rose. A total of 140 shares were unchanged.

Pharma shares dropped. Dr Reddy's Laboratories (down 3.69%), Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 2.72%), Lupin (down 0.48%), GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (down 0.09%), Cadila Healthcare (down 0.87%), Cipla (down 0.57%) and Wockhardt (down 2.63%) declined.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals (up 0.97%) and Alkem Laboratories (up 1.93%) rose.

Aurobindo Pharma lost 1.59%. The company announced that it has received final approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture Guaifenesin and Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide extended-release tablets, 600/30 mg and 1200/60mg (OTC). Aurobindo's Guaifenesin and Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide extended-release tablets are the AB rated generic equivalent of Reckitt Benckiser's Mucinex DM tablets. The product will be launched in Q1 FY2018.

Guaifenesin and Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide extended-release tablets helps loosen mucus and phlegm, and thin out bronchial secretions, making coughs more productive. The approved product has an estimated market size of $235 million for the twelve months ended December 2016, according to IRI database. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 20 March 2017.

Divi's Laboratories tumbled 17.86% after the US drug regulator issued an import alert at the company's Visakhapatnam unit-II. Divis Laboratories announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has issued an Import Alert 66-40 on 20 March 2017 on the products manufactured at the company's Unit-II at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The agency has exempted the 10 products namely Levetiracetam, Gabapentin, Lamotrigine, Capecitabine, Naproxen Sodium, Raltegravir potassium, Atovaquone, Chloropurine , BOC core succinate and 2, 4-wing active ester, from the import alert, it added.

Divi's Laboratories said the company, along with third party consultants, is currently working to address the concerns of the USFDA and is making all efforts to fully meet the compliance requirements.

Telecom stocks declined. Bharti Airtel (down 0.62%), MTNL (down 2.61%), Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) (down 4.43%) and Reliance Communications (down 1.44%) declined.

Idea Cellular lost 6.92% to Rs 90.85, with the stock extending Monday's slide triggered by the company's announcement of merger details with Vodafone India. Shares of Idea Cellular have fallen 19.56% in three trading sessions from its closing of Rs 112.95 on 16 March 2017. The decline in the stock accentuated yesterday, 20 March 2017 as the stock settled 9.55% lower at Rs 97.60 after the company during market hours on that day announced details of its proposed merger with Vodafone India (VIL).

The board of directors of Idea Cellular at its meeting held yesterday, 20 March 2017, approved the scheme of amalgamation of VIL and its wholly owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services (VMSL) with the company subject to receipt of necessary approvals.

Shares of Bharti Infratel rose 1.04%. Bharti Infratel is a provider of tower and related infrastructure and is a unit of Bharti Airtel.

Overseas, most Asian shares were trading higher on the prospects of a less-hawkish Federal Reserve policy trajectory. The main US stock indexes closed marginally lower yesterday, 20 March 2017 for the third straight day of losses, as investors were reluctant to make big bets without major economic or corporate news.

Expectations that the US Federal Reserve will have to step up rate hikes to counter inflationary pressure from President Donald Trump's stimulus are waning after the Fed dropped no hints of an acceleration in credit tightening last week.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 21 2017. 11:34 IST