Barring Malaysia (down 0.7%), the major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with key indices in China (up 1.6%), Hong Kong (up 1.9%) and South Korea (up 1.4%) leading the gains. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a positive note. All sectoral indices have opened in the green with stocks in the realty and consumer durables leading the gains.
The Sensex today is up by around 130 (0.7%) points, while the NSE- Nifty is up by around 39 points (0.6%). Mid and small cap stocks have opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.34 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day mainly in the green with Hero Motocorp and Maruti Suzuki leading the pack of gainers. The auto manufacturers have reported the sales volumes figures for the month of December. Despite the heavy discounts, December auto sales witnessed a slowdown due to weak economic sentiment. Sales were also dampened by the interest rates and high fuel prices. Traditionally, sales are lean in December as customers prefer to postpone purchases to the new year. Going forward, the auto industry expects some corrective measures by the government to boost sales in 2013. Among the key manufacturers, Hyundai Motor India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and General Motors (GM) reported a 9.6% , 24% drop and 21% drop in sales (respectively) on a year-on-year (YoY) basis. Some of the companies that managed to see some positive growth are Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Renault and Honda Cars India. M&M reported an 18% YoY growth in passenger vehicle division and sales of Honda Cars rose 296% in December on account of low base of last year. Two wheeler sales also remained subdued in December. While Hero MotoCorp Ltd grew marginally by 0.2% YoY, the two wheeler sales by TVS motors were down by 8% YoY.
Engineering stocks have opened the on a mixed note with Manugraph India and Honeywell Automation Ltd leading the pack of gainers. However, Shanthi Gears and Emco Ltd are witnessing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, the government has imposed 35% safeguard duty on electrical insulators imported from China. The move is likely to help domestic companies like Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Aditya Birla Nuvo and others to counter the adverse impact of cheap Chinese imports. The safeguard duty on certain insulators would be for a period of two years. As per the revenue department, it will be 35% for the first year and 25% in subsequent year. The move follows recommendations for the imposition of the duty by the Directorate General of Safeguards (customs & central excise).