After trading around the dotted line for most part of the day, the Indian markets declined sharply during the final trading session before recouping and curbing some of the losses. The BSE-Sensex closed lower by about 160 points or 0.6%, while the NSE-Nifty ended lower by about 23 points or 0.3%. Barring stocks from the FMCG and pharmaceutical spaces, selling was witnessed across the board with realty and consumer durables stocks being the least favoured. While midcaps ended the day on a flat note, smallcaps closed with losses of about 0.4%.
Asia stocks ended the day on a mixed note, while stocks in Europe were trading firm. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.102 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Telecom stocks ended the day on a mixed note with Reliance Communication and Bharti Airtel leading the losses while MTNL and Idea Cellular closed on a firm note. As reported by the Economic Times, the number of mobile internet users in the country is expected to touch a figure of 213 m by mid-2015. At the end of December 2014, the figure stood at 173 m, thereby implying an increase of a fourth in less than a year. The growth in volumes is largely due to the increasing penetration of cheaper smartphones and affordable data plans. As per report, it is urban India that is likely to drive this increase with the expected user base rising to 160 m or about 75% of the overall market. Further, the average monthly bill is expected to rise by 13% to Rs 439; more than half of the bill is spent on internet plans as compared to a figure of 45% last year, thus indicating the movement towards the demand and acceptance of such data plans.
Auto stocks ended the day on a weak note with Hero Motocorp and Ashok Leyland leading the pack of losers. The South Korean subsidiary of Indian auto major Mahindra and Mahindra, SsangYong Motor has launched its first model ever since it was acquired. The model launched is named Tivoli - an SUV - which would be priced in the range of US$ 15,600 to US$ 21,500 per unit (petrol variants). The company is believed to be targeting sales units of 100,000 units of which about 60% would be exported to markets such as China and Europe; with the US following suit. The company is believed to have spent US$ 320 m towards this project and is further looking to invest about US$ 920 m over the next three years. At the launch, M&M chairman Anand Mahindra discussed about the turnaround at Ssangyong and that the same is still not complete. The company was acquired by the Indian auto major in 2011 for US$ 470 m.