Indian stock markets had a rather volatile outing today as alternate bouts of buying and selling led the indices to oscillate on either side of yesterday's close. The indices began on a weak note although buying activity in the subsequent hours kept them above the dotted line. Profit booking, however, intensified in the afternoon session and pushed the indices into the red before a surge in momentum in the later hours led the stock markets to close into the positive. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 53 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 20 points. The BSE Mid cap and the BSE Small cap were, however, at the receiving end and closed marginally lower. With respect to sectoral indices, gains were largely seen in banking and healthcare stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed firm today while European indices have opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 49.51 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Engineering stocks closed mixed today. While Voltas and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) found favour, Crompton Greaves and Blue Star closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, engineering major L&T secured new orders worth Rs 13 bn in the month of February across its business segments. Out of this, the Power Transmission and Distribution division secured new orders aggregating to Rs 5.1 bn. This includes a major order from Power Grid Corporation. Further, the Building and Factories division bagged new orders worth Rs 4.5 bn for construction of residential towers and for civil, structural and mechanical erection work for construction of a cement plant. The Solar Division unit secured an order worth Rs 2.2 bn from a leading developer for construction of a 23 MW solar plant on engineering, procurement and construction basis in Rajasthan. This is a positive for the company since more order inflows signify revenue visibility going forward although execution remains the key. It must be noted that the company registered an order inflow of Rs 171.3 bn during the December 2011 quarter, taking the order book to Rs 1,457.6 bn as of 3QFY12.
Auto stocks closed mixed today. While Maruti Suzuki and Ashok Leyland closed firm, TVS Motors and M&M closed in the red. As per a leading business daily, auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) reported a 29% YoY increase in sales in February. In the domestic market, sales of passenger vehicles grew by an impressive 33% YoY led by the brands Scorpio, XUV500, Xylo, Bolero and Verito. Sales of the company's Gio and Maxximo mini-trucks and other four-wheeler commercial vehicles (CVs) increased by 36.5%. However, sales of its three-wheelers declined by 10.7%. Exports also did well and registered a stupendous growth of 86% YoY. That said, the performance of the farm equipment sector was poor. The division reported a 19.5% YoY fall in tractor sales largely on account of 21% YoY drop in the domestic market. Exports, on the other hand, managed to grow by 7.5% YoY during the month. M&M has reported a robust growth in sales in 9mFY12 as well and the management intends to keep up its pace of new launches both in the automotive and farm equipment sector as well as managing capacities.