Not just the indices in the Indian equity markets, but those across Asia seemed to evince very little investor interest in today's session. Renewed fears about the possible failure of big banks and turbulence in global stock markets kept investors on the edge. Oil and gas and FMCG stocks in particular witnessed heavy profit booking in today's session. While the Sensex today closed higher by around 37 points, the NSE-Nifty ended 14 points higher. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap, however, bucked the trend and closed higher by 1% each.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed higher today while European indices have opened in the red. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.53 to the dollar at the time of writing.
State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest bank, has waived off the minimum balance criteria for saving bank account. Henceforth, the bank will not levy any charge for breaching minimum balance criteria. The bank has taken this step in order to increase its RETAIL customer base. This facility is available not only for new customers but also for existing customers. Initially, the bank customers had to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 1,000 in the savings account with cheque book facility. Upon failing to meet the minimum balance criteria the customers had to pay the penalty. The removal of minimum balance criterion, apart from improving customer base, will also help the bank to generate low cost deposits (Casa). This is because the savings bank account earns interest rate of just 4%. The bank had 154 m saving banks accounts as of March 2012.
CV major Ashok Leyland (All) has reported 27.9% increase in its sales in June this year. The company sold 10,244 units in June 2012 as compared to 8,009 units sold in June 2011. The surge is mainly led by the company's light commercial vehicle (LCV) range 'Dost'. The company sold 2,725 units of 'Dost' range during the month while, the company sold 7,519 units of heavy commercial vehicle range. During April-June 2012, it sold 27,585 units, up by 43.09% from 19,277 units in the corresponding period last year. It sold 20,337 units of heavy commercial vehicles and 7,248 units from the 'Dost' range.
FY12 was a mixed year for ALL. While it lost market share during the first half of the year due to various issues it faced in the southern market (where the company has a strong presence), volumes picked up strongly in the second half. The company expects to do well in the next year in terms of improving its market share as well as improving its operating performance. The company expects the M&HCV industry to grow by 6%, while the volume growth for the company to be relatively higher. ALL's management is also expecting operating margins to improve due to higher volume sales in the M&HCV segment (a relatively more profitable business). This is due to higher tax benefits on higher rollout from its Pantnagar plant. Further, it would also be able to reap full benefits of the pricing action that it took throughout FY12. The stock closed 3% higher today.