Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in Hong Kong (up 0.8%) and Taiwan (up 0.6%) leading the gains. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the oil and gas and healthcare space are trading in the green. However, realty and banking stocks are trading weak.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 43 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 9 points (0.2%). Mid cap and small cap stocks are also trading firm with the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap index up by 0.3% each. The rupee is trading at 49.50 to the US dollar.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular leading the losses. Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Communications (RCOM) has declared its third quarter results for the financial year 2011-2012 (3QFY12). The company has reported a 1% YoY decline in consolidated net revenues. Operating profits also saw a decline of 10% YoY. As a result, margins at operating level dropped to 29% from the 31% seen during the same period last year. Interest costs continued to be a problem for the debt ridden company. Interest expenses more than doubled during the quarter. As a result, net profits declined by 61% YoY. The company net debt at the end of the quarter stood at Rs 368 bn, implying a net debt to equity ratio of 1.05 times. RCOM has been reeling under the pressure of high debt for quite some time and this has weighed on its bottom line. Recently, the company had raised US$ 1.18 bn from Chinese banks to raise funds in order to redeem its convertible overseas bonds which are due for redemption in March 2012.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Hero MotoCorp and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) leading the gains. In order to boost petrol car sales, India's leading passenger car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki has increased margins for its dealers. The move has come at a time when the company's share in the domestic market has fallen below 40% for the first time ever. Maruti will pay Rs 1,000 more to its dealers to sell small cars, such as the WagonR, Estilo and Alto. In the case of Ritz and SX4, it has increased commission by Rs 1,500; and in the case of the A-Star, the amount has been raised by Rs 2,000. The revision in commissions has come after the carmaker increased retail prices across its fleet last month. It must be noted that this is the first time in almost a decade that Maruti has increased the commission paid to its dealers. There was increasing pressure to revise the commission as it is the only carmaker in India that does not allow its franchisees to trade in other brands.