Warnings from leading ratings agency, Moody's, to cut ratings of 17 global and 114 European financial institutions, has not gone down well with the stock markets. Most Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note. Stock markets in South Korea (down 1.1%), Indonesia (down 0.9%) and Malaysia (down 0.7%) are leading the losses in the region. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a negative note as well. Stocks in the consumer durables and energy sectors are leading the pack of losers.
The BSE-Sensex is down by around 26 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 14 points (0.3%). However, mid cap and small cap stocks are trading in the positive zone, with the BSE Mid cap and the BSE Small cap indices up by about 0.5% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 49.31 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks are trading on a subdued note. Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp have opened the day in the red. However, the stock of Ashok Leyland is witnessing buying interest. As per a leading financial daily, Tata Motors' global vehicle wholesales increased by 21% year-on-year (YoY) in the month of January 2012. The company sold 119,799 vehicles during the month. The growth was led by robust sales of its luxury Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) vehicles. The company sold 29,293 JLR brands in January, registering a rise of 44% YoY. The company's passenger vehicle sales stood at 66,785 units during the month, a rise of 26% from the corresponding month of the previous year. Commercial vehicle sales were higher by 15% YoY to 53,014 during the same period. Tata Motors reported 40.5% YoY surge in profits during the quarter ended December 2011 on account of strong sales at Jaguar Land Rover which it had acquired in 2008 for US$ 2.3 bn.
FMCG stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. On one hand, Marico Ltd, Colgate Palmolive and Dabur India are trading in the positive zone. On the other hand, Hindustan Unilever and Godrej Consumer Products are trading weak. Marico Ltd has bought the personal care business of Paras Pharmaceuticals from Reckitt Benckiser. Paras Pharma's brands include Zatak deodorant, Set Wet hair gel and Livon hair serum. Though the financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, industry sources estimate the amount paid to be lower than the original demand of Rs 9,000 m. Marico would be funding the acquisition through a mix of internal accruals, equity and debt. The company's management stated that the deal will help them increase their presence in the youth segment. Marico's key products include Parachute hair oil and Saffola edible oil. The brands of Paras that it has acquired are among the top three in the hair gel, male deodorant and hair serum categories.