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Asian markets in the red
Tue, 18 Oct 09:30 am

All major Asian stock markets have opened the day in the red. Stock markets in Hong Kong (down 3.5%), Indonesia (down 3.3%) and Malaysia (down 2%) are leading the losses. The Indian stock markets have also opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the technology space are leading the losses.

The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 210 points (1.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 63 points (1.2%). Mid and small cap stocks have opened on a negative note as well with BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by 0.9% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 49.13 to the US dollar.

Auto stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Tata Motors, TVS Motor and Ashok Leylan leading the losses. On account of the ongoing stalemate between the workers and the management, India's leading passenger carmaker Maruti Suzuki has seen its market share falling to 41% in the last three months. This means a 7% drop from last year and is the lowest for a quarter in a decade. The unrest at Maruti's Manesar plant has severely affected production of Swift which is its most successful model. Barring the current unrest and the consequent disruption in production, Maruti's market share has been falling gradually due to the entry of new players. In the quarter ended March 2011 (4QFY11), Maruti's market share dropped below 50% for the first time. The labour issue has only further hastened the decline.

Steel stocks have opened the day on a weak note as well with Tata Steel, Jindal South-West Isapt (JSW Ispat), Jindal Steel and JSW Steel in the red. Steel companies like Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and JSW Steel have announced an increase in prices of steel products. This comes on the back of rising input costs despite the market remaining quite sluggish. SAIL has increased prices of both long and flat products by 4% with effect from October 15, 2011. JSW Steel has hiked up its prices by Rs 750 per tonne for this quarter. Tata Steel has not yet increased any prices. It is doubtful if this attempt to pass on the increase in input costs will succeed in the face of sluggish demand.

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