Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in Taiwan (down 0.8%) and Hong Kong (down 0.5%) leading the losses. However, the markets in China (up 0.3%) and Indonesia (up 0.2%) are trading firm. The Indian share markets have opened the day on a firm note. Barring IT and FMCG indices, all sectoral indices are trading firm with capital goods and consumer durables indices leading the gains.
Auto sector stocks have mainly opened the day on a firm note with Escorts Ltd and TVS Motor Company leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, two wheeler maker Bajaj Auto has finally reached a wage agreement with its Chakan plant unions. As per the revised wage agreement, the company's management has agreed to hike wages by up to Rs 10,000 per month. As such, permanent employees who have been with the company for five or more years will get a wage hike of Rs 10,000 a month while those who have spent three years or more will be given a hike of Rs 9,500 a month. It must be noted that the agreement has been reached after months of negotiations and intermittent labour unrest that affected production.
Food and tobacco sector stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Nestle India and Britannia Ltd leading the gains. However, Golden Tobacco and ITC Ltd are trading in the red. As per a leading financial daily, ITC Ltd has forayed into electronic cigarettes through the launch of two electronic vaping devices under the Eon brand. While the products have been designed by the company in-house, they are being manufactured in China. Currently, the e-cigarettes have been launched in Hyderabad and Kolkata. They will be rolled out across the country in phases. They will also be sold online. It is worth noting that e-cigarettes release vapour, unlike conventional tobacco cigarettes that release smoke, when a nicotine-laced liquid is heated. The vapour does not contain tar which is the main harmful component in conventional tobacco cigarettes. The company's foray into e-cigarettes comes against a backdrop of declining sales of conventional tobacco cigarettes due to repeated price increases.