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Autos weigh on stock markets
Mon, 9 May 11:30 am

Indian stock market indices have been trading in the red over the last two hours of trade after opening flat. All the sectoral indices are in the red except FMCG.

The BSE-Sensex is down by 117 points while NSE-Nifty is trading 35 points below the dotted line. However, BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices are trading flat. The rupee is trading at 44.68 to the US dollar.

Auto stocks are trading weak led by Tata Motors and Hero Honda. As per a leading financial daily, Mahindra & Mahindra is aiming at becoming a global SUV (sport utility vehicle) major. In the passenger car segment, the auto company intends to have just one brand "Verito" which is the re-launched version of Logan. Plans are also on for introducing a small car under "Verito" brand. As per the management, it is appropriate to have a single car in a portfolio of SUVs. It may be recollected that Mahindra had bought over South Korean firm Ssangyong last year. M&M plans to bring in Ssangyong's "Rexton" and "Korando-C" into the Indian markets. But, the hi-end sedan "Chairman" will be left out of this list of new launches. M&M's falling interest in passenger cars has been evident and the company recently avoided including a new car from Renault's portfolio.

Energy stocks are trading mixed with MRPL and Gujarat State Petronet trading firm while ONGC and IOC are trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, BG India, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and ONGC plan to invest a minimum of US$ 1 bn in the oil and gas fields Panna-Mukta and Tapti (PMT) which are situated off India's west coast. The consortium plans to invest in the fields to arrest the fall in production. The production from the PMT fields has been falling by 18% a year. The strategy is to inject water into the wells to improve production. If successful, the production could improve by 7%. However, the consortium is seeking an extension of the production sharing contract (PSC) by at least 5 years. The PSC is expected to expire in 2019. An extension till 2024 will enable the 3 partners to recover their costs of this investment. At present, the output from the PMT fields is 32,000 barrels oil per day and 11.5 m standard cu m gas per day. It may be noted that ONGC hold 40% stake in the field while BG and RIL hold 30% each.

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