The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened at the breakeven mark but soon moved into the positive territory. These have managed to remain in the green since then. Other key Asian markets are also in the green with Indonesia (up 0.9%) leading the pack. The US markets closed lower by 0.1% last Friday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with oil & gas, power and banking majors finding favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 100 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 30 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 0.7% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.38 to the US dollar.
Cement stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include Ultratech Cement and ACC. As per a leading business daily, cement prices are expected to soften across the country from this week. Prices are likely to be set at around Rs 200 to Rs 220 per 50 kg bag from July 1, against the current market rate of Rs 235. This will be the third successive fall since May as cement companies struggle to cope with lower demand for the commodity. The last two price corrections in May and June were severe in South India, where prices dipped by a combined 30% against a marginal drop in the West and East. Northern markets escaped the price fall largely because of increased demand from the infrastructure activities emanating from the Commonwealth Games.
It may be noted that cement prices usually weaken during monsoons, as construction activities come to a halt. However, this time around prices have started going down much before the onset of monsoon because of over supply of the commodity. The supply of cement has been rising by over 12%, outpacing the 10% growth in demand, creating a downward pressure on prices.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Tata Motors and Hero Honda. As per a leading business daily, Tata Motors plans to set up a trucks assembly unit in South Africa by the end of this fiscal (March 2011). The initial capacity could about 3,000 to 4,000 units per annum of medium-sized and small trucks. The company also has truck assembly units in Thailand and Bangladesh. Tata Motors' truck exports in FY10 stood at 30,000 units. Out of these about 2,000 to 3,000 trucks are headed for South Africa. In FY10, the company sold 373,615 trucks, up 41 % YoY. It is looking at a 10 to 15% rise in domestic truck sales in FY11.