All major Asian equity markets have opened the day on a mixed note with markets in Indonesia (up 1%) and Malaysia (up 0.5%) leading the gains in the region. However, markets in China (down 1.2%) and Taiwan (down 0.1%) are facing selling pressure. The Indian equity market indices have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the capital goods, auto and banking space are leading the pack of gainers. However, metal stocks are trading in the red.
The Sensex today is up by around 34 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 8 points (0.2%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.83 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Force Motors and Bajaj Auto leading the pack of gainers. At a time when car sales are witnessing a slowdown on account of high interest rates and rising fuel prices, India's leading passenger vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki is focusing on the rural markets to drive growth. While rural sales accounted for just about 3% of its overall sales in 2007-08 (FY08), rural sales contributed about 33% of the total sales in 2011-12 (FY12). In the last three months, Maruti opened 23 new retail outlets in towns and hamlets. It must be noted that Maruti identifies human settlement of around 10,000 as rural markets. In June 2012, the company sold over 23,000 cars in such markets. It expects the rural markets to contribute about 50% of its sales by 2015-16 (FY16).
Mining stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Gujarat NRE Coke and Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) trading firmly in the green. However, Sesa Goa is facing selling pressure. State-run coal miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to take over 50% stake in its explosive division. The explosive division will be spun off into a separate entity wherein both CIL and IOC will have 50% stake each. It is noteworthy that CIL initiated this move after Competition Commission of India (CCI) penalised 10 private explosive manufacturers with a fine of about Rs 600 m after the coal miner had complained that explosive manufacturers had engaged in cartelisation. CIL spends about Rs 15 bn on the purchase of explosives every year. The project with IOC is likely to result in cost savings for CIL.