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Auto stocks lead markets higher
Tue, 3 Aug 09:30 am

The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark and have remained firmly in the positive territory since then. Other key Asian markets are in the green with Japan (up 1.2%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 2% yesterday.

Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with construction and auto majors finding investors' favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 35 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 10 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.5% and 0.6% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.14 to the US dollar.

Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Eicher Motors and Hero Honda. As per a leading business daily, India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki raised the prices of all its models, except Alto, between Rs 2,000 to Rs 7,500. The new prices are applicable with immediate effect. Interestingly, the price hike comes close to its announcement of best ever domestic monthly sales at 90,114 units for July 2010, a 33% increase from 67,528 units in July 2009. It may be noted that due to a sharp increase in the input costs, the company has decided to pass on a part of the cost impact to customers. In fact, the auto major's operating performance had been majorly impacted during the latest quarter due to higher raw material and royalty expenses.

Cement stocks have opened the day on a weak note. Losers here include India cements and ACC. India Cements has announced its 1QFY11 results. The company reported a topline decline of 8% YoY in 1QFY11. The company's operating margins fell drastically to 11.6% in 1QFY11 due to increase in transportation and handling cost. Transportation cost (as a percentage of sales) increased from 14% in 1QFY10 to 21% in 1QFY11. Dismal performance at the operating level dragged the bottom line as well. Net profits declined 83% YoY in 1QFY11.

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