Unstructured Finance

Healthcare stocks firm in a weak market

Shares of healthcare companies traded firm on Thursday, helping push the sectoral index up 1.4 percent to the top of the gainers’ list.

Ranbaxy Labs gained 3.3 percent and ended as the top gainer in the healthcare index. Cipla and Sun Pharma were also among the shares that clocked decent rises.

Investors in this sector should be happy, with the healthcare index gaining 7.3 percent since mid-March, and a little over 8 percent in 2010. During this period, the Sensex has seen a fall of 2.7 percent.
In fact, Pharma mutual funds topped the charts in March, returning 10.8 percent on an average.  Experts said the passage of the U.S Healthcare Bill helped stocks of healthcare firms.

Going ahead, would you invest in such funds or stocks?

Market rises on short covering

INDIA-BUDGETThe good times continue for the market. The benchmark extended its rally on Thursday and ended 186 points up as investors covered short positions on the last date of derivatives expiry.

Engineering firm L&T beat forecast with strong quarterly numbers. Its shares closed 2.3 percent up.

Ranbaxy Labs, which gained 4.2 percent, and Sterlite Industries, which rose 3.6 percent, topped the list of Sensex gainers. Bharti shares rose nearly 3.5 percent after a three- session fall.

Sensex gains 26 points, Bharti falls

INDIA-BUDGETThe Sensex seesawed through the day to end marginally higher at 13,913 points, after a historic last week when it had surged over 14 percent.

Bharti Airtel was in the limelight after it announced the restart of merger talks with South Africa’s MTN. The news saw Bharti’s shares closing 5.4 percent down on fears that its earnings would initially be diluted after the deal. The counter had risen by over 8 percent earlier in the day.

Ranbaxy’s shares jumped 20 percent after Daiichi Sankyo said on Sunday that Malvinder Singh, chairman and chief executive of its Indian unit had resigned.

Sensex ends marginally higher, ICICI jumps

MARKETS-SOUTHASIA-STOCKS/The stock market seesawed throughout trade today and ended marginally higher at 11,372, as investors covered short positions ahead of the monthly derivatives expiry.

The benchmark had risen over 1 pct during trade, but was unable to sustain it and closed just 42 points higher.

Several corporate houses like Ranbaxy Labs, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Bank and JP Associates announced their quarterly numbers today.

Sensex falls 2.9 pct to lowest close in 3 years

MARKETS-SOUTHASIA/STOCKSThe Sensex closed 2.9 percent down on Thursday to its lowest close in 3 years, as worries over the economy remained despite rate cuts by the RBI yesterday.

The benchmark closed at 8198, dragged down by index heavyweights Reliance Industries (down 5 percent) and ITC (down 3.5 percent).

Ranbaxy and ICICI Bank were among the top Sensex losers, falling over 9 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Markets end higher on expiry day

Well things looked shaky in the morning with the Sensex in negative territory, but it managed to recover in late trade to close 52 points up at 8954.86.

Buying was seen in index heavy weights such as Reliance Industries, Infosys and Bharti Airtel.MARKETS-SOUTHASIA-STOCKS/
Autos appeared to be the flavour of the day with the BSE Auto Index closing 2.7 pct higher.

Tata Motors led the rally as investors’ hopes were restored with a rather delayed launch of the people car “Nano”.

Markets lacklustre as results pour in

It was a results packed day as big companies like Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel and Ranbaxy reported their quarterly earnings.

The profits of Reliance Industries, India’s largest listed company, fell 9.8 percent, its first drop in three years. Ranbaxy Labs’ foreign exchange losses pushed it into the red in the December quarter.

But Bharti Airtel’s profits jumped 25 percent as it signed up a record 8.2 million users and remained confident of sustaining growth.

Game, Google

google.jpgWith Google looking like the big winner after doing an ad search deal with Yahoo, pretty much everyone else involved is looking like a loser. Microsoft will have to take its mammoth war chest and try to find another way to make a meaningful stab at the coveted online ad space — or concede the market altogether. Though Yahoo is waving enhanced revenue and cash flow figures around, the deal is seen as better for Google, which is the undisputed heavyweight champion in ad search and just gets a juicy space to show how mighty it is. “Google has made an enormous gain strategically. This move might well have shut Microsoft out of the online space altogether,” said Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay. Speculation is rising that the Yahoo/Google deal could provoke antitrust scrutiny, and Carl Icahn still has his troops massing to oust Jerry Yang and the Yahoo board. But if he had any clout to force Yahoo into a deal with Microsoft, it wasn’t on show yesterday. Did he lose cred, or does he plan to keep fighting? He may say soon, but probably not on his blog.

With signs that its wealthy clientele are growing nervous, UBS has wrapped up a 16 billion franc ($15.4 billion) rights issue. Flows into its wealth management business slowed to a trickle in the first three months of the year, and this is the Swiss bank’s second effort to resuscitate finances ravaged by the global markets crisis. Dieter Ewald, a fund manager at UBS shareholder Frankfurt Trust, said such concerns had prompted him recently to pare back his investment in the Swiss bank. “UBS is handicapped,” he said. “We are worried that wealth management will be hit. We want to see that the new management can bring it back on track, and then we would invest more again.”

Pfizer may bid for Ranbaxy Laboratories, countering a $4.6 billion offer by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo for the Indian generic drug maker, the Business Standard newspaper said. Ranbaxy’s shares jumped nearly 5 percent on the report while Daiichi Sankyo’s shares dropped 2 percent. Daiichi Sankyo and Ranbaxy are seeking to become a pharmaceuticals powerhouse that sells both branded drugs and generics. The newspaper added Pfizer had held talks with the Ranbaxy founders for a possible acquisition a year earlier.

Not quite last call

inbev-brito.jpgTalk about a friendly bid. InBev CEO Carlos Brito gushes about Bud in this video statement, making a $46.3 billion bid sound almost cheap. “We respect the Anheuser-Busch board a lot,” he said. “We admire them a lot and we think that the business rationale is very strong. But Bud shares are still trading well below the $65 per share offer, so skepticism abounds. With analysts calling for a bid closer to $70, expect at least a few more rounds.

India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories sees huge opportunities for growth in Japan’s generics drug market and mergers and acquisitions are a likely option for it to expand. The attractiveness of the market was a big factor in its decision to team up with Daiichi Sankyo, Ranbaxy Chief Executive Malvinder Singh told a news conference in Tokyo. Faced with an ageing population and ballooning healthcare costs, Japan’s government has recently taken steps to promote the use of the off-patent drugs — currently only 17 percent of volume compared with 63 percent in the United States. Ranbaxy and Daiichi Sankyo announced on Wednesday that Japan’s No. 3 drug maker would pay up to $4.6 billion for control of the Indian generic drugs maker.

Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit must have seen this coming. The Wall Street Journal reports that the bank plans to close the hedge fund he co-founded, and which more-or-less launched his rocket ship to the top. Last month, Citi said it was looking at restructuring the fund, called Old Lane. Nearly all investors unaffiliated with the fund have requested to redeem their money. Citi bought Old Lane last year for more than $600 million, but the fund’s performance has since been disappointing. Citi wrote down $200 million of intangible assets linked to the acquisition in the first quarter.