Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with the stock markets in Japan (down 1.2%) and China (down 0.8%) leading the losses. However, markets in Singapore (up 0.4%) and Indonesia (up 0.2%) are trading firm. The Indian share markets have also opened the day on a firm note. The sectoral indices have opened mixed with stocks in the auto and power space leading the gains. However, metal and information technology stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 43 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 8 points (0.1%). The mid and small cap stocks have opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 60.14 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day in the green with TVS Motor Company and Ashok Leyland Ltd leading the pack of gainers. Despite the slowdown in auto demand and the recent cut in excise duty, automobile manufacturers are planning to increase prices for the third time this year. The price hike is intended to offset the impact of rising operating costs and volatility currency on profit margins. As per a leading financial daily, auto makers such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Honda Cars India and Renault India are set to increase prices from next month. Other auto players such as Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai Motor India and Ford India are considering a similar move.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Reliance Industries leading the gains. However, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Jindal Drill Ltd and Oil India Ltd were leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, state-owned oil marketing companies are likely to slash petrol prices by more than one rupee per litre sometime next week. The reasons for the same are the decline in global crude oil rates as well as the strengthening of the Indian rupee against the US dollar. While petrol prices may come down, diesel rates are set to increase by 50 paise per litre in accordance with the practice of hiking prices by a small quantum every month so as to bring down the subsidy burden. It is expected that the revision on petrol and diesel prices will be announced on March 31, 2014. It must be noted that petrol and diesel prices were last revised upwards by 60 paise an 50 paise respectively on March 01, 2014.