The Indian markets have started today's session on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened slightly below the breakeven mark but quickly marched into the green and have held on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with Hong Kong (up 0.5%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 0.4% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the green with auto and metal stocks attracting investors' interest. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 43 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 13 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.6% and 0.9% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.93 to the US dollar.
FMCG stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Camlin and Henkel India. As per a leading business daily, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has sold its remaining 49% stake in Capgemini Business Services (formerly Unilever India Shared Services). The stake has been picked up by Paris based IT services firm Cap Gemini SA, as per an agreement signed in October 2006. Capgemini Business Services was the in house BPO unit of HUL. Cap Gemini SA now provides the full range of financial and administration services to the Unilever companies that were customers of the in-house BPO. Eight other clients are also being served now. From Cap Gemini's perspective, this deal makes ample sense given that India has become a key centre for the company with over 26,000 employees. From HUL's perspective, this move is part of its strategy to exit non-core operations.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include TVS Motor and M&M. As per a leading business daily, leading car-makers will increase the prices of their vehicles next month with the implementation of the Euro IV emission norms from April 1. 13 major cities will upgrade to BS IV emission norms from BS III and the rest of India would move up from BS II to BS III as per the recommendations of the Mashelkar Committee to control pollution. As a result, auto majors like Tata Motors, M&M, Fiat, Hyundai, and General Motors will have to upgrade their products, triggering the price hike. It may be noted that car prices had increased after the Union Budget 2010 due to higher excise duties and this would be the second price hike in less than two months.