Barring Hong Kong (up 0.3%) and Singapore (up 0.1%), major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with South Korea (down 0.6%) and Indonesia (down 0.4%) leading the pack of losers. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a negative note. Stocks in the banking and consumer durables space are leading the losses. However, realty stocks are trading firm.
The Sensex today is down by around 64 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 21 point (0.3%). However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 63.24 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Ashok Leyland and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) leading the gains. However, Escorts and Hero MotoCorp are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, India's fourth largest car maker Tata Motors is set to launch two new car models in 2014. It will launch a hatchback and a sedan at the Auto Expo in February 2013 subsequent to which the company will go ahead with a commercial launch. The price points for these vehicles have not been announced yet. It must be noted that the company is launching new models after a gap of 3 years. The company has said that it is not planning to phase out any of its existing products. Moreover, it has planned a portfolio wherein it will launch new vehicles every year up to 2020.
Cement stocks have also opened the day on a mixed note with Prism Cement and Shree Cement trading firm. However, India Cements is trading in the red. As per a leading financial daily, domestic institutional investors (DII) have voted against Swiss cement major Holcim's restructuring plans of its Indian operations wherein Ambuja Cements would buy a majority stake in fellow subsidiary ACC Ltd by paying Rs 35 bn to parent firm Holcim. If the transaction comes through, Holcim's stake in Ambuja would increase from 50.01% to 61.3%. On the other hand, Ambuja would buy Holcim's 50.1% stake in ACC. As per Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI) new guidelines on mergers and acquisitions, listed companies require majority support of minority shareholders in case of restructuring or merger and acquisitions. DIIs such as Life Insurance Corporation of India and General Insurance Corporation of India together hold 9% stake in Ambuja Cements. Despite the opposition from DIIs, the deal is likely to come through because of support from foreign institutional investors (FII) who account for a little over 30% of the company's equity.