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Markets Maintain Their Uptrend
Thu, 4 Feb 11:30 am

After opening the day on a positive note, the Indian Markets have continued to trade in the green. Sectoral indices are trading on a positive note with stocks from the capital goods, metal and consumer durables sectors leading the gains.

The BSE Sensex is trading up 133 points (up 0.6%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up 47 points (up 0.6%). Both, the BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap index are trading up by 0.3%. The rupee is trading at 67.83 to the US$.

Mining stocks are trading firm with Vedanta and NMDC leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, the government has finalised a policy for auction of Coal India contracts to unregulated sectors such as steel and cement. It must be noted that, the government expects to auction 24 MT (million tonne) of coal starting first quarter of next fiscal.

Under this new initiative, the private steel and cement firms will have to indicate their coal requirements and their end-use projects to the coal ministry before bidding for supply from Coal India. As per the mechanism, separate bidding will be held for cement, iron and steel, aluminum and fertilizer plants.

The existing contracts will not face any hindrance. This is as the current fuel supply contracts of steel and cement companies with Coal India will not be prematurely discontinued. The government will wait for these contracts to end and then auction them. Coal secretary Anil Swarup said that the auction process will be set moving in the next 7-10 days and the auction is expected to begin in three months. The framework will attempt to make coal available in a fair manner to end users.

Majority of the automobile stocks are trading on a positive note with Tata Motors and Eicher Motors witnessing maximum buying interest. As per an economic daily, Maruti Suzuki is planning to invest over US$ 1 billion to revamp its range and launch over 15 new vehicles in three to five years. The strategy comes ahead of new regulations and emission norms coming into force. The plan is part of Maruti Suzuki's Vision 2.0, the aim which is to hit 2 million in annual sales by the end of the decade from 1.28 million now.

For this, the company is going to adopt the Kei platform developed in Japan to conform to new crash standards at the entry level. These are said to be put in place by 2017-18. The company stated that this will be the base for the new Alto that is to be introduced in 2018.

Also, the company has started moving to new lighter and stronger platforms and expects to carry on this exercise for another three years. These platforms allow modular manufacturing, which will lead to economies of scale and therefore lower costs. Further, in the year to September, the company would have introduced next-generation A, B, and C segment platforms through the Ignis, Baleno and Vitara Brezza models, respectively. These cars are being localised ahead of time and will allow the company to expand volume and margins.

Maruti Suzuki has seen its sales volume rise more than 25% to 1.2 million units in the last four years. Its market share has risen to more than 48% from 40% in 2010. During the month of January, it posted monthly sales of 1 lakh units for 12 months in a row for the first time. With all of the above initiatives, it would be imperial to watch out the developments that the company will bring in the coming years. At the time of writing, the scrip of the company was trading up by 0.8%.

Radhika Pandit, Managing Editor of ValuePro, has released a detailed analysis of the company's December 2015 quarterly result. You can read it here (subscription required).

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