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Metal stocks losing their shine
Mon, 1 Aug 01:30 pm

Indian stock market lost its morning session gains but continued to trade in the green over the last two hours of trade. Stocks from healthcare, IT and auto space are trading firm while those from metal and oil and gas are trading in the red.

The BSE-Sensex is trading up by 53 points while NSE-Nifty is trading 10 points above yesterday's closing. However, BSE-Midcap and BSE-Small cap indices are down by 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.08 to the US dollar.

Cement stocks have been trading mixed with Birla Corporation, Associated Cement Companies Limited (ACC Ltd) and J K Lakshmi Cement leading the pack of gainers. However, Chettinad Cement, Mangalam Cement and Shree Cement are trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, ACC Ltd, a part of Holcim Group, expects to register 20% incremental sales on the back of the new cement product launched under the brand 'Concrete+'. As per the management, the new brand is a different category altogether and has no competition as of now. The new product is priced at Rs 300 per 50 kg bag. This compares to Rs 285 per 50 kg bag of normal branded cement. It also comes with free services for the customers such as assisting in cost estimation, testing of ingredients, site visits and slab supervision. The company is targeting individual house builders as 90 per cent of sales come from this segment. The product has already been launched in Nagpur and Bangalore and will soon be launched in Pune. As per the management, the response to the new product in Bangalore has been quite good with initial sales touching around 3,500 tonnes per month. In terms of the overall cement sales, the southern region was seeing a 10-15 % dip in consumption this year compared with last year on slow growth in the infrastructure sector. The southern region accounted for 28.8 % of the total cement demand, the highest among all the regions in the country in 2009. However, capacity utilization of cement plants in this region was the lowest at around 70%.

Auto stocks have been trading mixed with TVS Motors, Eicher Motors and Ashok Leyland leading the pack of gainers. However, Escorts and Maruti Suzuki are trading in the red. As per a leading financial daily, Maruti Suzuki posted a record 25 % slump in July sales as production of one of its popular sedans was crippled due to a shift in its manufacturing facility. Sales of Swift Dzire were 5,471 units lower than in July 2010, with production hit as Maruti moved the sedan's manufacturing facility to Gurgaon from Manesar in Haryana in a planned changeover .The company has also halted dispatches of its Swift hatchback in July in the run up to the launch a new variant of the model in August. All this has impacted close to 15,000 units. The company's shares, valued at US$ 7.9 bn, fell as much as 1.25% versus a positive market movement of more than 1%. The company sold 75,300 vehicles in July compared with 100,857 in the year-ago period. It dispatched 348 units of the Swift hatchback in July, compared with 11,828 in the year-ago period.

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Stock Market Updates

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