The Indian markets ended the day on a weak note as markets expanded their losses substantially during the last hour of trade. The BSE-Sensex closed lower by about 250 points or 1.2%, while the NSE-Nifty ended lower by about 80 points or 1.3%. Stocks from the banking, consumer durables and automobiles spaces were amongst the top losers today, while those from the metal and power sectors were amongst the most favoured. Midcaps ended the day with marginal losses (BSE Mid Cap index down by about 0.1%), while smallcaps ended higher, with the BSE Small Cap index closing with gains of about 0.2%.
Barring China (up 0.6%) and Hong Kong (0.2%), Asian indices ended the day on a weak note with Japan down by about 0.3%. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.56 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Auto stocks ended the day on a weak note led by Ashok Leyland, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki. Maruti Suzuki is set to launch new models to protect its market share. In a slowing market, the slowdown has hurt all Indian auto manufacturers. In such a scenario Maruti is gearing up to beef up its market share. Also, the Gujarat plant will be back into operation once the demand improves. The company has reported marginal improvement in its domestic sales at 96,062 units as against 96,002 vehicles in October a year ago. The company's sales in mini-car segment had declined by 1.2% to 22,188 units during the month. Festive season had failed to revive auto sales that declined overall by 4% in the month of October. Car sales continue to remain sluggish and commercial vehicles too reported twentieth straight monthly decline.
The stock of Coal India Limited (CIL) - the top gainer amongst stocks forming part of the BSE-Sensex - ended the day with gains of about 2%. As reported in a leading business daily, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Mr. Montek Singh Ahuwalia is of the view that the price of locally mined coal should be aligned to those of the global market prices. This he suggests should be done to prevent any distortion in the Indian energy market. Currently, the price of domestic coal is much lower than imported coal. But domestically there is a huge supply deficit of coal. This has led to increased use of imported coal. As a result some sectors have to pay high tariffs for power. The price differential between domestic and imported coal has led to deviation in electricity prices. Considering that demand for coal is expected to increase, aligning domestic coal prices with international prices would provide all sectors to have a level playing field in terms of power tariffs.