The Sensex today is up by around 28 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is trading flat. However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 0.5% and 02% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 60.65 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Ashok Leyland, Maruti Suzuki and TVS Motor Company leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, India's leading passenger vehicle maker Maruti Suzuki has reported sales of 75,145 units during the month of July 2013, a growth of about 6% year-on-year (YoY). The growth in sales by the automaker comes against the backdrop of a prolonged slowdown in the auto industry and declining sales. Car sales in India had declined for a record 8 consecutive months until June 2013. However, it must be noted that Maruti's growth in sales is largely due to the lower base last year. Last year, the company's sales had been impacted due to the closure of the Manesar plant following labour unrest.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) and Essar Oil trading firm. However, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) are trading weak. As per a leading daily, the proposal to allow the government to divest a 10% stake in state-run oil firm IOC has been approved by the Union Cabinet. Currently, the government holds 78.92% stake in IOC. At the current market price, the stock is likely to fetch the government Rs 38.4 bn. The five merchant bankers that have been selected by the disinvestment department to manage the stake sale include Citibank, HSBC, UBS Securities, SBI Capital and JM Financial. It is worth noting that the divestment is part of the government's plan to raise Rs 400 bn through stake sales in the current fiscal year 2013-14. So far, the government has raised about Rs 8.3 bn through sales in MMTC Ltd and Hindustan Copper.