Asian markets have opened the day in an upbeat mood. Almost all the major markets are trading in the green. Korea (up 1.5%), Singapore (up 1.0%) and Malaysia (up 0.7%) are the leading gainers. Profit booking, however, has led the Indian markets to open in the negative. IT and metal stocks are the biggest losers.
The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 127 points (0.7%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 16 points (0.3%). Midcap and small cap stocks are trading in the negative as well, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices down by about 0.3% each. The rupee is trading at 44.98 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have started the day on a mixed note with Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto trading firm. However, Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors are witnessing selling pressure. Most Indian auto makers registered higher vehicle sales for the month of February. Auto sales have benefitted from the introduction of new vehicles, easier availability of loans and higher personal incomes. Moreover, the February sales were higher also because customers advanced purchases on the expectation that prices would increase in March. It may be noted that the auto industry was expecting the government to raise excise tax in the Union Budget 2011-12. But the tax was left unchanged at 10%.