The Indian markets have started today's session on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark and have managed to hold on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with Japan (up 1.9%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 1.2% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the green with metal and realty stocks finding favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 120 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 40 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 1.4% and 1.9% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.3 to the US dollar.
Aluminium stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Hindalco and Nalco. As per a leading business daily, Hindalco plans to produce cans for beverages and food giants from its plant at Hirakud, Orissa. In fact, it has begun dismantling a closed plant of Novelis in Britain and intends to ship all key equipment to Hirakud. The process is likely to be completed by October 2011. It may be noted that Novelis is the world's premier maker of aluminium rolled products, used for making cans. Hindalco acquired Novelis for US$6 bn in 2007. In our view, the shift stems from the fact that Indian aluminium companies are the lowest cost producers anywhere in the world. However, shipment of cans from Hirakud to overseas markets will have a component of transportation cost. Hindalco is expanding its smelter capacity in Hirakud to 231 kilotonnes per annum which will be completed in October, 2012.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Eicher Motor and TVS Motor. As per a leading business daily, India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki will not pass the benefits of lower taxes for the new petrol variant of Swift to customers. Swift is the company's most popular compact model. It will save around Rs 40,000 per car due to a lower excise duty for the model's smaller engine. But given the spike in input costs, the company is departing from its past tradition of passing on cost savings to customers. In our view, it is not difficult to understand the pressure auto makers are facing due to rising commodity prices. Maruti could also be keeping the lower price move for a later date when a series of small cars are expected to hit the market. But it does make life difficult for industry bodies that lobby with the government for tax concessions with the argument that eventually they will be passed on the customer.