The Sensex today is up by around 164 points (0.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 23 points (0.4%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.4% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 59.82 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Maruti Suzuki, Ashok Leyland, and Escorts leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, the Indian passenger vehicle market has been facing one of the worst slowdowns over last several months. Leading auto players such as Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Toyota Kirloskar and General Motors have been periodically cutting down production to adjust with the sluggish demand. Yesterday Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), India's leading utility vehicle maker also opted for a nearly week-long block closure to ensure that production stays in synch with demand. So far M&M had managed to buck the industry trend and has grown by over 20% YoY. This move shows the grim medium term prospects for the auto sector in India. It is worth noting that over the last 6 to 8 months at least 50-60 days of production days have been lost as auto companies have resorted to production shut downs to cope with the rising pile-up of inventory at stock yards and dealerships.
Private sector bank stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with South Indian Bank and Federal Bank leading the gains. However, IndusInd Bank and Karnataka Bank are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, India's third largest private sector lender Axis Bank is set to open its first branch in the city of London today. In April 2013, the bank had received approval from the financial regulator to provide a full range of banking services including deposit-taking and making loans and investments. It must be noted that Britain is encouraging the opening of new banks so as to boost competition in the financial services sector. It has introduced several measures to encourage new entrants in the sector. For instance, it has allowed start-up banks to hold less capital than the established competitors. Axis Bank plans to pursue corporate and retail banking in Britain and Europe. The bank also has presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.