Barring Japan (down 0.4%) and Indonesia (down 0.1%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in South Korea (up 1.1%), Taiwan (up 0.8%) and Hong Kong (up 0.7%) leading the gains. The Indian equity markets indices have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the FMCG and metal space are leading the gains.
The Sensex today is up by around 190 points (1%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 45 point (0.8%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.23 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Eicher Motors, Escorts and Maruti Suzuki leading the gains. As per a daily, India's leading two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has inked a three-year wage settlement agreement with its workers at the Gurgaon plant. As part of the agreement, the company has agreed to raise salaries of workers by Rs 9,000 per month on an average, over a three-year period. The agreement will be valid for three years with retrospective effective from August 01, 2012. It must be noted that discussions between the workers and management had remained indecisive for about seven months. The Hero MotoCorp Workers Union (HMCWU) had been demanding a hike of upto Rs 18,000 per month over a period of three years. It is also worth noting that Hero MotoCorp's Gurgaon plant has about 1,100 permanent workers.
Cement stocks have also opened the day on a firm note with Shree Cement and Mangalam Cement leading the gains. Leading north Indian cement maker Shree Cement has announced its financial results for the quarter ended March 2013. During the quarter the company reported net sales of Rs 14,716 m, higher by 6.9% YoY over the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year. While the cement segment reported a marginal decline in sales of 0.5% year-on-year (YoY), the power segment reported a robust 27.8% YoY rise in sales. Operating profits stood at Rs 4,202 m, higher by 12.6% YoY. While other income declined by 44.6% YoY to Rs 428 m, depreciation charges also dropped by 46.1% YoY to Rs 1,265 m. The effective tax rate was also substantially lower at 6%, as against 33.5% in the quarter ended March 2012. This was mainly on account of MAT credit entitlements. As a result, net profits zoomed up by 139.8% YoY to Rs 2,741 m. Net profit margins increased to 18.6% in the quarter ended March 2013 from 8.3% in corresponding quarter of the previous year. During the nine month period ended March 2013 (the company has a June year ending), the company reported sales of Rs 42,235 m and net profits of Rs 7,197 m, both higher by 23.3% YoY and 239.5% YoY respectively.