Automobile stocks are trading strong led by Ashok Leyland and Force Motors. According to a leading financial daily, Ashok Leyland is going to increase the prices of its commercial vehicles in the next couple of weeks. This, the company wants to do to offset the excise duty hike announced in the latest union budget. The budget had announced an increase in basic excise duty from 10% to 12%. The company wants to pass on this hike to the consumers. However, it may take a final decision based on how its peers respond to this hike. Meanwhile, the company expects to get some savings from its plant in Pantnagar located in the excise free zone.
Steel stocks are trading in the green led by Tayo Rolls and Jindal Saw Ltd. According to a leading financial daily, Tata Steel has not yet paid compensation to the villagers in Bastar district who had given away their land for a mega steel project by the Tata group company. The company had earlier paid Rs 420 m towards compensation for this, but the total dues pending amount to Rs 270 m. It may be noted here that Tata Steel wants to establish a green-field integrated steel plant at Lohandiguda development block of Bastar district. For this, the company had gotten into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005. It was decided that since the proposed plant's area came under tribal area, the state government would acquire land on behalf of Tata Steel and later allot it on lease. The steel company would pay compensation for this.