The News International Team
03:00pm Snapdeal acquisition: E-retailer Snapdeal.com today said it bought online mobile recharge firm Freecharge for an undisclosed amount in a bid to boost its reach in the fast-growing mobile transactions business.
Snapdeal, backed by SoftBank Corp, competes with Flipkart and Amazon.com Inc’s India unit in the country’s online shopping market, which is expected to be worth USD 102 billion by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley.
Easy availability of smartphones and cheap data plans have resulted in most of those transactions to be made via apps, where consumers use their mobile phones for everything from buying clothes to booking movie tickets.
Freecharge allows users to top up amounts on their mobile phone or internet connections and get coupons as reward for using its service.
Snapdeal Chief Executive Kunal Bahl said 1 million mobile transactions would take place daily once the companies are combined. About 75 percent of all Snapdeal transactions now are through mobile users, he said.
02:30pm Pharma cos in focus: The government has allowed pharmaceutical companies to hike rates of 509 essential medicines used for treating various ailments like diabetes, hepatitis and cancer by 3.84 percent with effect from April 1.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has issued a notification for price hike of drugs in line with the wholesale price index of 2014 under Drug Price Control Order, 2013.
“As confirmed by the economic adviser (Minister of Commerce and Industry), the annual increase in the wholesale price index (WPI) works out at 3.84 per cent during calender year 2014 over the corresponding period in 2013,” NPPA said in a notification.
02:00pm Market Check
The market remained strong aided by technology, FMCG, capital goods, auto and select oil stocks. The Sensex jumped 195.60 points to 28712.19 and the Nifty advanced 49.45 points to 8709.75.
Coal India rallied 5 percent after the government removed the cap on e-auction sales volumes. Reliance Industries and TCS extended uptrend to 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
Dr Reddy’s Labs gained 2 percent as the company and its subsidiaries filed 3 new drug applications with the US drug regulator FDA. ITC, Infosys, Bharti Airtel, Cipla, GAIL and BHEL advanced 1 percent each whereas HDFC, Axis Bank, ONGC and Hero Motocorp fell 1-2 percent. Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank and NTPC slipped over 0.5 percent.
Sesa Sterlite declined more than 2 percent after S&P downgraded Vedanta’s credit rating to BB- from BB with a negative outlook citing weak financial performance for atleast 12 more months because of low oil prices.
The broader markets also maintained morning gains, up 0.8-1.7 percent. About 1707 shares have advanced, 955 shares declined, and 201 shares are unchanged on the BSE.
Meanwhile, the cabinet on Tuesday evening amended a bill to regulate the real estate sector, protect home buyers and curb undeclared “black money” in property markets that costs the exchequer billions of dollars in lost taxable income.