Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note. On one hand markets in China (down 0.5%) and Hong Kong (down 0.3%) are trading in the red. On the other hand markets in Korea (up 1.1%) and Japan (up 0.5%) are witnessing gains. The Indian equity markets have opened the day on a flat note with a positive bias. Stocks in the consumer durables and capital goods sectors have opened the day on a positive note while those in the pharma and energy sectors are witnessing losses.
The Sensex today is up by around 5 points (0.02%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 2 points (0.04%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green as well with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.57 to the US dollar.
Auto have opened the day on a mixed note with Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Bajaj Auto witnessing selling pressure. However, Maruti Suzuki and Ashok Leyland are seeing buying interest. The Union Budget 2013 was presented by the Finance Minister yesterday. And one of the things he stated was that the excise duty on the SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) would be increased from the current level of 27% to 30%. The excise duty increase is for both diesel as well as petrol variants. As a result SUV manufacturers including M&M and Toyota would be increasing the prices for their SUV offerings. As per Economic times, M&M may increase prices for its XUV 500 and Scorpio models in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000. Even other SUV manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki and Honda Siel Cars are likely to increase prices for the SUVs this year.
Pharma stocks have opened the day on a negative note with Strides Arcolab and Lupin Ltd leading the losses. As per a leading business daily, Cipla Ltd has offered US$ 500 m to buy out its South African affiliate Cipla Medpro. This is 17% higher than the price it had offered earlier. In November 2012, the company had offered US$ 215 m for a 51% stake in the South African affiliate. The acquisition will give Cipla an entry into the fast growing market in South Africa. The market has seen a surge in the demand for inexpensive drugs in recent times. Cipla Medpro recently won a contract from the South African government. Estimated at around 1.4 bn Rands, the contract is to supply HIV drugs to the local hospitals.