Food & tobacco stocks are trading mixed with Godfrey Phillips and VST Industries being among major losers whereas Sterling Biotech and Britannia are trading in the green. As per a leading financial daily, the government is contemplating to implement a proposal for banning the sale of loose cigarettes. This is likely to hit cigarette companies hard as reportedly 70% of retail cigarette sale is in the loose form. The other measures suggested by the expert panel set up by the health ministry include raising the age limit for smoking, imposing a higher fine of Rs 20,000 for smoking in public spaces as compared to a fine of Rs 2,000 at present as well as making it a cognizable offence. Besides the expert panel has also suggested increase in penalty on manufacturers from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 for violations in carrying pictorial warning signs on cigarette packs.
Auto stocks are trading on a mixed note today. While Force Motors and Ashok Leyland are leading the pack of gainers, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) is trading in the red. As per a leading business daily, Ashok Leyland has received an order worth Rs 15 bn for about 4,000 buses from 22 State Transport Undertakings (STU) across the country. Few of STUs from Calcutta, Bangalore and Andhra Pradesh have placed large orders for the buses. The orders mostly include Ashok's latest launched JanBus. The company has also received order for JanBus from international market. JanBus has a front engine, with full flat floor which is specifically designed for the urban transport and has a single step entry. Ashok Leyland stock is trading up 3%.