The Indian markets have started today's session on a volatile note. The benchmark indices opened below the breakeven mark, moved into the positive, but have not been able to hold on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with Indonesia (up 0.5%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed lower by 0.1% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading a mixed bag with software and engineering stocks attracting buyers' interest. However, auto and construction stocks are bearing the brunt of selling activity. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 14 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 3 points. Buying interest is being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.1% each. The Rupee is trading at 45.48 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include TVS Motor and Maruti Suzuki. However, Tata Motors is in the red. As per a leading business daily, Tata Motors plans to hike the prices of its passenger cars in the month of April. The hike will go towards complying with the Euro-IV fuel emission norms. However, the company has not indicated the exact amount of increase. The price hikes will not be limited only to Tata Motors and is likely to be adopted by the Indian passenger car industry in general. It may be noted the auto industry has already upped prices after the rollback of excise duty in the Union Budget. It remains to be seen whether higher prices will affect the dream run of India's domestic car sales, which have grown by 33%, 40% and 61% YoY in the last three months.
Banking stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include Indian Bank and Canara Bank. As per a leading business daily, the government plans to reduce its stake in India's largest lender SBI. It has recently tabled a bill in the parliament to bring down the requirement of a minimum government stake to 51% from the current 55%. The government currently holds a little more than 59% in the bank. This move will help the SBI raise funds from the stock markets. It could also raise funds through financial investors. It may be noted that it needs nearly Rs 400 bn in the next five years in order to meet its growth plans. It will also help the bank comply with Basel-II capital adequacy norms.