Asian share markets are lower today as Japanese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Nikkei 225 is off 0.1% while the Hang Seng is down 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite is trading down by 1%. Wall Street’s three major indices closed lower on Thursday, with tobacco stocks leading a tumble in consumer staples while concerns about smartphone demand hurt the technology sector and rising bond yields and earnings helped financials rebound.

Back home, India share markets opened the day marginally lower. The BSE Sensex is trading down by 41 points while the NSE Nifty is trading down by 12 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index both opened the day down by 0.3% & 0.1% respectively.

Sectoral indices have opened the day on a mixed note with IT stocks and energy stocks witnessing buying interest. While metal stocks & bank stocks have opened the day in the red. The rupee is trading at 65.78 to the US$.

In the news from the FMCG sector. As per an article in a leading financial daily, Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) has agreed to purchase the consumer health business of the German drug maker, Merck.

Reportedly, the US$4.2 billion deal will add about US$1 billion in annual revenue, roughly 3,000 employees and more than 900 new products to P&G’s health care portfolio.

P&G’s healthcare brands, including Vick’s, Metamucil, Crest and Oral-B, already generate US$7.5 billion in annual sales, about 12% of P&G’s total revenue. The acquisition, expected to close in the next 14 months, will bring to P&G vitamin brands and over-the-counter remedies for muscle, joint and back pain that are now sold in 44 countries.

One shall note that it was announced hours before P&G disappointed investors with a third-quarter earnings report that declining revenue in two of its biggest categories: Shaving and baby care.The acquisition is the biggest in years for P&G, which spent much of the last decade selling off under-performing brands and struggling to restore growth with those it retained.

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