Indian markets have started today's session a choppy note. Although the benchmark indices opened above yesterday's closing levels, they quickly slipped into the negative territory and have not managed to break out since then. Asia is currently trading marginally in the green with Malaysia (up 0.1%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets also closed marginally higher yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading a mixed bag with metal and telecom stocks leading the pack of gainers. However, select auto and power stocks are in the red. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 30 point, while the NSE-Nifty is down by 5 points. However, buying interest is being witnessed among mid and small-cap stocks as the BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.2% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.87 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a weak note. Losers here include M&M and Hero Honda. However, Maruti Suzuki is trading in the positive. As per a leading business daily, commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturers like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Eicher are set to introduce a flurry of new models and variants. Tata Motors will make about 15 new launches during 2010. They will range from mini trucks to busses and lorries. M&M plans to introduce at least four new heavy trucks on the new platform developed by its joint venture Mahindra Navistar. The joint venture between Volvo and Eicher plans to launch a series of tractor trailers, buses and tippers. It may be noted that the CV segment had gone into hibernation during the economic slowdown. These launches indicate the intention of manufacturers to make full use of the economic recovery as well as challenge the entrenched market leaders.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include ONGC and GAIL. However, BPCL and HPCL are in the red. As per a leading business daily, all the fourteen state-owned oil companies will present a health report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next week following concerns over their performance. It should be noted that oil marketing companies (OMCs) - Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL - are forced to sell fuels below cost. This under recovery is split between the upstream oil producers, the government and the OMCs themselves. As a result, the OMCs have had a tough time in the last several years. Apparently, the government is keen to ensure that they do not go the Air India way. But given the political compulsion to keep fuel prices low, it is difficult to see how the government will unburden the OMCs.