Asian markets ended the day on a firm note with China, Japan and Hong Kong up by about 2.5%, 0.5% and 0.9% respectively. The rupee was trading at 60.1 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Stocks of automobile manufacturers ended the day on a weak note with Tata Motors, Hero Motocorp and Ashok Leyland leading the pack of losers. As per a leading business daily, the management of CV manufacturer Ashok Leyland is banking on its many overseas businesses to help it grow its business and in the process reduce its dependence on Indian operations. As you would be aware the last two years were one of the worst for CV manufacturers with auto volumes dropping by 20% plus YoY for each of the two years back to back. As per the company's management, it is looking to increase exports and its non-truck business to curb the volatility in its business operations. The latter includes buses, light commercial vehicles, power solutions, spare parts and defence sector.
Majority of FMCG stocks ended the day on a weak note today. However, on the back of over 3.5% gains in Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the BSE-FMCG index ended the day on a firm note. Gains in the stock were on the back of the company's results beating market expectations. HUL declared its results for the quarter ended June 2014. Revenues grew by 13% YoY on underlying volume growth of 6%. Each of the Home & Personal Care and Food businesses grew by 13% each during the quarter. The operating margin expanded by 1.1% backed by lower ad-spends and staff costs (both as a proportion of sales). Net profits, however, grew by a muted 4% YoY on account of lower extraordinary income earned from the sale of properties as compared to the year-ago quarter. Even the tax incidence in June 2014 quarter was high at 30% as compared to 23% in the year-ago quarter resulting in tepid rise in profits.