The Indian stock markets opened the day below the dotted line. The surprise decision by the Euro zone to tax bank deposits in Cyprus sent shockwaves across global markets. The euro zone struck a deal on Saturday to hand Cyprus a bailout worth 10 billion euros, but also levied a tax on deposits in the country. Markets continued to trade negative throughout today's trading session and were well below the dotted line. Ultimately the markets finished deep in the red. The cautious undertone is also ahead of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Monetary Policy review due tomorrow. The BSE-Sensex closed in the negative, lower by around 134 points (0.7%). The NSE-Nifty closed lower by around 37 points (0.6%). The smaller indices also had a negative day on the bourses. The BSE Mid Cap index closed 0.3% lower and the BSE Small Cap index closed 0.7% lower. metal and PSU banks stocks closed lower. FMCG and consumer durables stocks closed higher.
As regards global markets, Asian indices had a negative outing today. European indices also opened the day negative on the Cyprus deal. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.17 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Banking stocks ended the day on a weak note with most private sector banks leading the pack of underperformers. A leading business daily has reported that banks want the governments - both central and state - to provide statutory clearances for large sized projects at the earliest. It is believed that about Rs 540 bn of the banks' funds are stuck in 215 projects. This averages up to nearly Rs 2.5 bn per project. These projects are being implemented across the infrastructure space including those in the road, power, iron and steel, cement and port sectors. As per the RBI, policy uncertainties in areas such as iron ore and coal mining have adversely affected the output of the steel and power industries. It further mentioned that while so many projects are stuck at various stages, PSU banks received 126 new proposals with a total outlay of Rs 3.55 trillion (in the year till date ended December 2012), which are at various stages of sanctions and approvals.
Car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) recently launched the India's only all-electric passenger car, the e2o at Rs 5.96 lakh. This car is fully automatic, and is powered by 48-volt lithium ion batteries offering a range of 100 km per charge. Charging can be done anywhere through a standard 15-ampere plug point. Mahindra has added some new technologies into the e2o such as Sun2Car (allowing charge via solar energy), Revive and regenerative braking system that further boost the car's range. The two-door hatchback can seat four adults. The automatic gearbox features three drive modes including 'Boost' for a more spirited driving experience but at the cost of lower range. With the government not doling out any subsidy benefits for electric cars in the Budget, the car maker was unable to price e2o 15-20% higher than regular premium hatchbacks such as Maruti Swift and Hyundai i20, which cost around Rs 5 lakh. The electric will be produced at Mahindra Reva's production facility at Bengaluru which has a manufacturing capacity of 30,000 cars per annum.