Indian indices slipped into the red on profit booking in heavy weights over the previous two hours of trade. Stocks from the realty and consumer durable space are trading weak, while stocks from the IT space are trading firm.
The BSE-Sensex is down by 98 points while NSE-Nifty is trading 35 points below the dotted line. BSE Midcap index is down by 1.2% while BSE Small cap index is trading 1.5% below yesterday's closing. The rupee is trading at 45.37 to the US dollar.
FMCG stocks are trading mixed with Camlin and Pidilite Industries trading firm and Dabur and P&G Hygiene trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) will soon be launching its first fruit-based drink under the Kissan brand. This is part of the company's strategy to cash in on the increasingly health-conscious mindset of the Indian consumer. It may be recalled that Kissan is the market leader in all three categories it is present in. These categories are ketchups, jams and squashes. The fast-growing Rs 15 bn fruit-based beverages market is currently dominated by Dabur, Parle Agro, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. However, the entry of HUL in this category is expected to potentially, shake it up. In India, the fruit-based beverages market is divided into three segments, fruit drinks, nectar and 100% juice. Carbonated drinks still remain the most popular non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages in India. But the two cola multinationals and other established players have been introducing newer variants and brands to expand fruit-based and other healthy beverages.
Auto stocks are trading weak led by Tube Investments and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M). As per a leading financial daily, M&M has marked its entry into the construction equipment business with the launch of earth moving machines. Branded the EarthMaster, the backhoe loader is meant for applications such as excavation, loading, grading, dozing and cutting. M&M has invested Rs 3 bn in the construction equipment business till date and has plans to produce nearly 2,400 backhoe loaders every year. EarthMaster which will go on sale in March will costs Rs 2.1 m per unit.
India's construction equipment industry was valued at Rs 90 bn in 2009-10 and is expected to double in the next five years. Every second construction equipment sold in India is a backhoe loader, and the segment has been expanding at 15% YoY. Tata Motors has been building construction equipment for years in collaboration with Japan's Hitachi. Seeing the growth potential Ashok Leyland also plans to launch products in this segment this year with the help of US-based John Deere.