The Sensex today is up by around 150 points (0.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 59 points (1.1%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 1% and 0.9% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.09 to the US dollar.
Cement stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Madras Cements and Shree Cement leading the gains. However, Ambuja Cements and Prism Cement are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, an inter-ministerial panel has recommended de-allocation of two coal blocks that are held by five companies which includes some major names such as Ambuja Cements, Grasim Industries and Lafarge India. This has brought the total number of such blocks to 13. The Inter-ministerial Group (IMG) has completed the review of 29 coal blocks that were held by private firms. Following the review, the IMG has recommended cancellation of the licenses. These coal blocks are estimated to have coal reserves of about 2.6 billion tonnes. The license cancellation is likely to affect about 28 private companies. Some other companies that are likely to be affected by the recommendations of the IMG are JSW Steel, SKS Ispat and Power, Bhushan Steel and Electrosteel Castings.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Hero MotoCorp leading the pack of gainers. The slowing pace of industrial production has already dented growth of the medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV). The recent hike in diesel prices is likely to adversely affect the demand even further. During April-August 2012, sales of the M&HCV sector dipped by 13% year-on-year. The major players in this space such as Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors reported 1.2% and 20% decline in M&HCV sales, respectively. The increase is diesel prices is also set to raise freight costs. It must be noted that for fleet operators, diesel costs account for about 35% of the total costs.