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Indian indices hold on to gains
Fri, 9 Jul 01:30 pm

Markets continued to trade in the positive on account of sustained buying activity across index heavyweights. Barring stocks from the FMCG space, buying activity is being witnessed across sectors. Stocks from the telecom sector are leading the pack of gainers. 

The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 160 points, while the NSE-Nifty is higher by 45 points. The BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.9% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.74 to the US dollar.

Bajaj Auto and Renault-Nissan have signed an agreement to roll out the much spoken about ultra low-cost car (ULC). The car is expected to be launched in 2012 to be sold in India and emerging markets. The car was initially scheduled to be rolled out in 2011. The same was delayed due to differences between the partners in terms of pricing and design. Finally a step forward has been taken and a path for the launch of ULC has been drawn. The small car is being launched in direct competition to Tata's Nano as the car is likely to be priced at US$ 2,500.  The companies had announced that the ULC would be rolled out from an all-new plant to be constructed in Chakan, Maharashtra with an initial capacity of 4 lakh units per year. As per the previous agreement, the design, manufacturing and sourcing for the car would be done by Bajaj while Renault-Nissan would handle marketing in India and overseas. The stock of Bajaj Auto is trading higher currently.

The competition in the small car segment is set to rise. India, along with China, is one of the few bright spots for the automobile sector. In India, the compact car segment is about 70% of the total passenger car market. A car that is compact in size and at the same time low priced suits the aspiring Indian consumer.

Steel sector stocks are trading firm with the major gainers being Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and JSW Steel. As per a business daily, Tata Steel, the world's sixth largest steel manufacturer is looking   to increase the prices of steel in order to pass on the hike in input costs. If the steel producer does not pass on the hike in raw material cost, its margins will be affected. However, the company has not revealed the quantum of hike in prices. Internationally, iron ore prices have witnessed an upward movement. With that the state-run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has increased the prices of iron ore by 11%. Since the prices of these commodities are internationally linked, the domestic prices have also seen a rise. 

If others follow suit, which is much expected, end user industries' margins may come under pressure in the short term.  Automobile and construction sectors are the primary consumers of steel and might face the pinch of an expected price hike.

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