ECONOMY

Sun Pharma, Lupin, Wockhardt, Aurobindo Shares Lead Health Care Rally As RBI Eases Lending

Health care stocks including hospital and laboratory operators surged after Reserve Bank of India announced additional liquidity to key sectors participating in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

India’s central bank will give Rs 50,000 crore in liquidity to key sectors, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said in an unscheduled address amid surging Covid-19 cases in the nation.

Banks can provide fresh lending support to pathology labs, oxygen suppliers, vaccine makers and hospitals under the priority-sector classification of lending, Das said.

India reported a record 3,780 fatalities on Wednesday, taking the overall death toll to 2.26 lakh. With 3.82 lakh new cases, the country’s total confirmed cases tally crossed 2.06 crore. In recent weeks, the scenes on the ground, with long lines outside crematoriums and hospitals turning away ambulances, have painted a picture of a nation overwhelmed by the crisis.

The S&P BSE Healthcare Index gained as much as 2.7%, the most in almost a month to trade just shy of its 52-week high. Lupin Ltd. contributed the most to the index gain and had the largest move. Shares of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Wockhardt Ltd., and Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. gained around 5% each. Morepen Labs Ltd. was the biggest drag on the index.

Vaccine makers Cadila Healthcare Ltd. and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. also gained after Pfizer Inc. laid out a plan to turn its Covid-19 vaccine into a long-term business. The U.S. drugmaker also boosted this year’s guidance for revenue from the jabs to about $26 billion from a previous forecast of around $15 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

Pfizer said it now expects to deliver 1.6 billion doses this year under contracts signed as of mid-April.

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