Pharma Stocks Look Up In Volatile Trading

Updated: Dec 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
The market ended almost unchanged for the week ended December 20, 2002, amid volatile trading.

For the week, the 30-share BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex) ended with a marginal loss of 5.75 points, or 0.17 per cent, from its previous weeks close.

The market cap of 1,720 companies traded on The Stock Exchange, Mumbai (BSE) rose marginally by Rs 3,511.50 crore, or 0.05 per cent. Dealers said that although the change in the BSE Sensex was marginal, the overall market witnessed a huge volatility during the week.

Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) turned net buyers last week, with net purchases of Rs 190.20 crore.

Stocks slipped in the second half of the week, after a steady opening and subsequent gains.

Dealers also said stocks rose earlier in the week on the reckoning that the landslide victory in the Gujarat assembly elections would help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads the coalition government at the Centre, in its ability to push ahead with reforms.

Dealers informed that while bank stocks, led by the State Bank of India, were in the limelight, pharma stocks gained ground following a slew of favourable developments in the last few days thanks to two pharma majors Dr Reddys Laboratories (DRL) and Ranbaxy Laboratories.

Dr Reddys Labs (up 11.55 per cent to Rs 893) firmed up following a favourable court ruling on a drug that the company proposes to launch in the US in August 2003.

DRL said that the US District Court in New Jersey dismissed Pfizer Incs complaint regarding DRLs amlodipine maleate product.

Ranbaxy Labs (up 2.92 per cent to Rs 566.45) rose after the company received its first breakthrough in the research and development programme relating to a NDDS (new drug delivery system) product.

State Bank of India (up 0.16 per cent to Rs 277) erased all its earlier gains later in the week after the finance ministry denied reports that it has increased the foreign fund ceiling in the countrys largest commercial bank.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that the finance ministry has decided to let the leading commercial bank exempt its ADR issuance (GDR holding in SBI is about eight per cent) from the FII investment cap of 20 per cent. HDFC (down 1.01 per cent to Rs 360.85) ended lower after a firm opening. The stock of the housing finance major advanced earlier this week after Union finance minister Jaswant Singh said last week that the Centre will not reverse its policy of tax incentives for the housing sector.

Among tech majors HCL Technologies (up 3.36 per cent to Rs 192.35) recorded modest gains after the company announced that it has acquired the software exports business of group company, HCL Infosystems. The acquisition is a move by the company to add competencies like package software implementation and support that have seen strong growth in the recent past, dealers informed.