The Indian equity markets languished in the red for the larger part of the trading session today. The markets began the day's proceedings on a weak note, and while there were attempts made to push towards the dotted line, these proved futile. Selling activity persisted in the final trading hour as well and the indices closed well into the red. While the BSE Sensex today closed lower by 93 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 41 points. While the BSE Mid Cap closed marginally lower, the BSE Small Cap closed flat. Losses were largely seen in banking and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed weak today while European indices have also opened in the red. The rupee was trading at Rs 61.23 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most auto stocks closed in the red today with the key losers being Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M). As per a leading business daily, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has gained the upper hand in a lawsuit with US auto dealers. The plaintiffs who brought the suit represented all dealers which had entered into agreement with Global Vehicles USA for selling M&M vehicles in the US. Global Vehicles was a former distributor of M&M. The plaintiffs accused M&M of fraud and misrepresentation which was denied by M&M. The US court denied the plaintiffs class certification. Under class certification, the group of dealers would have been allowed to sue M&M jointly. But now that the court has dismissed this certification, it means that dealer claims will need to be resolved on a case to case basis. M&M had planned to launch its pick-up trucks in the US in early 2009. However, there was a delay due to regulatory issues. Most of the deadlines since then were not met as well.
As per a leading business daily, as part of the Rs 173 bn expansion at SAIL's Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), a new sinter machine installed at a cost of around Rs 7.3 bn was operationalised. The new machine will produce 3.7 million tonne (MT) sinter per annum to meet the requirement of a new blast furnace coming up at the plant. This is in addition to meeting the need of the existing furnaces. Besides the sinter machine, there are various new modernized facilities coming up at the plant and these are expected to increase production capacity to 7.5 m tonne per annum (MTPA) of hot metal from the current level of around 5 MTPA. This is part of the total outlay of Rs 720 bn for expansion of SAIL's hot metal capacity to 23.5 MTPA from the present level of 14.2 MTPA. It must be noted that in 9mFY14, SAIL incurred capex of Rs 73.8 bn broadly on track to achieve its FY14 capex guidance of Rs 115 bn. The stock closed higher today.