Steel stocks are trading in the green led by JSW Steel and Tata Steel. According to a leading financial daily, SAIL is planning to fund the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for giving protection to its personnel and equipment in the iron ore-rich and Maoist-infested state of Chhattisgarh. The company has taken such a step because it wants to begin operations at its greenfield Rowghat mine, located deep inside the forests of Chhattisgarh. The company has allocated Rs 2 bn for CRPF's special security units if they agree to provide protection for the development of its mine. The Rowghat mine is critical for the survival of SAIL's 3 million tonne per annum (mtpa) Bhilai Steel Plant, the company's most profitable unit and India's sole producer of rails and heavy steel plates.
Auto stocks are trading strong led by Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors. According to a leading financial daily, Ashok Leyland is planning to strengthen its presence in the 5-12-tonne range of vehicles. Currently in the below 12 tonne segment, it has only one or two products. Most of its presence is in the above 25 tonne category. It is planning to launch trucks from the Prague-headquartered AVIA, which it had bought in 2006, and would be upgrading its light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from the joint venture it has with Nissan of Japan. The company is also confident that the JV with Nissan would turn cash-positive in the next 18 months. The company had joined hands with Nissan to enter the LCV space. The first model, Dost, was sold under the Ashok Leyland brand. It has 16.6% market-share in the 2-3.5 tonne segment.