Barring Hong Kong (up 0.2%) and China (up 0.1%), most Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in Japan (down 0.7%) and South Korea (down 0.4%) leading the losses in the region. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the FMCG, consumer durables and IT space are leading the gains. However, metal stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 65 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 19 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.65 to the US dollar.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) leading the losses. In 2004, steel major Tata Steel had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government for a six million tonnes greenfield steel project at Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district. The work was adversely impacted following a violent clash between security forces and tribal squatters in 2006. The original estimated cost of the project was about Rs 350 bn. However, at that time the rupee was trading at about Rs 43 to the US dollar. Since then the rupee has undergone a massive depreciation against the dollar. Apart from the forex impact, the delay has also resulted in higher taxes and social costs. The company is now evaluating the cost overruns caused due to the delay. Despite the fact that the company has not been able to secure raw material supply for the project as the allotment of mines is yet to happen, the company is going ahead with the project and is likely to commence the three million tonne first phase production by March 2014.
Auto stocks have also opened the day on a mixed note with Eicher Motor, Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp trading in the red. However, Ashok Leyland, TVS Motor Company and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) are trading firm. As per data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), car sales grew by 23% year-on-year (YoY) in October 2012. After January 2011, when car sales had reported a rise of 25.3% YoY, this is highest growth recorded in the last 22 months. Owing to the festival and wedding season, the total car sales during the month stood at 172,459 units. New car launches and improved delivery of diesel variants also boosted car sales. It is also worth noting that sales of Maruti Suzuki's leading models Swift and DZire shot up by 87% during the month to 96,002 after production from the Manesar plant reached normalcy.