All major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in Hong Kong (up 2%), Singapore (up 1.5%), Japan (up 1.5%) and Indonesia (up 1.5%) leading the gains in the region. The Indian equity market indices have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the power, capital goods and banking space are leading the pack of gainers.
The Sensex today is up by around 245 points (1.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 70 points (1.4%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.8% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 56.56 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors leading the gains. The ongoing slowdown in the economy coupled with high interest rates and rising fuel prices has severely affected the demand for cars. Carmakers are witnessing a huge inventory of unsold passenger vehicles. For most companies, the inventory has surpassed the normal 25-day levels. In case of petrol vehicles, the scenario is even worse, with inventory as high as 45-60 days. In order to align production with sagging demand, car manufacturers are planning to curtail their production by about 20% in July. Leading passenger vehicle maker Maruti Suzuki is the midst of a weeklong plant shutdown in order to trim its production cycle in July. Even other players such as Tata Motors, Hyundai Motor India, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Fiat and General Motors are following a similar course. However, it must be noted that while sales of cars are declining, two-wheeler sales have been mostly unaffected.
Power stocks have also opened the day on a firm note with Tata Power, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Reliance Infrastructure trading firmly in the green. As per a leading financial daily, the Power Ministry has finalised the new standard bidding documents (SBDs) for the upcoming thermal power projects. It has ruled out changes in the existing bidding norms for upcoming imported coal fired power projects. The development is likely to hurt interests of private power producers as cost of overseas fuel has increased. As per the document, domestic fuel based projects would take care of risks in terms of fuel availability and price hike. The documents are likely to be finalised in a month. However, the private power producers' body, Association of Power Producers (APP), said that the guidelines as per the SBDs for the imported fuel-based projects are not workable and cannot be accepted in their current form.