After starting the day on a firm note, the Indian markets lost favour as selling activity intensified post noon. The BSE-Sensex closed lower by about 45 points or 0.2%, while the NSE-Nifty closed lower by about 17 points or 0.2%. Coming to the performance of sectoral indices, auto and consumer durables stocks did well today, while those from the information technology and metal spaces were amongst the key losers. Mid and smallcaps ended the day on a positive note with their respective indices closing higher by about 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.
Stock markets in other parts of Asia ended the day on a weak note, while sentiments in Europe were weak as well. The rupee was trading at Rs 63.39 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Stocks of auto companies ended the day on a positive note today with Ashok Leyland, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors leading the gainers. Auto major Eicher Motors was in the news recently as details relating to its joint venture with Polaris were reported by the media. It turns out that the company is working on a new personal vehicle which will be aimed at small traders and marginal farmers - helping owners carry produce and use it for personal travel as well. The size of the engine will be about 600 cc. Commercial production of this vehicle will begin in May this year. While details relating to prices have not yet been released, the aim is to make it affordable - both in terms of purchase price as well as running costs. The mileage expected on this vehicle is about 25 km per liter. As reported by the Economic Times, the plan is to manufacture about 10,000 to 12,000 units for the first year, which will be scaled up to 100,000 units.
In other news from the auto space, two wheeler major Bajaj Auto is looking to launch two new brands this year in order to regain back its market share which current stands at about 17%. In FY10, the same stood at about a fifth. As per reports, the company has been unable to make a dent in the entry level scooter segment, a segment which forms about two thirds of the overall market - wherein it planned to leverage on its Pulsar and Discover brands. The company is also planning to launch new variants of the existing brands. While the company's management has seemingly acknowledged the mistakes it has made in terms of positioning its brands, whether it will be able to learn from its mistakes and achieve its target market share in the future will be interesting to see. It may however be noted that when it comes to profitability, the company stands way above its listed players.