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Markets down on Asian cues
Tue, 24 Nov 10:30 am

Indian markets got off to a negative start as the benchmark indices opened below the breakeven mark in line with most Asian markets and have not managed to breach the dotted line since then. Most of Asia is currently trading in the red with South Korea (down 1.0%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed higher by 1.3% yesterday.

Currently, in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading a mixed bag with auto stocks leading the pack of gainers. However, banking and power majors are in the red. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by 43 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by 12 points. However, buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small-cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.5% and 0.6% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.57 to the US dollar.

Aluminium stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. While Nalco is in the green, Hindalco is trading weak. As per a leading business daily, India's largest aluminium maker, Hindalco Industries plans to raise Rs 29 bn this week by selling shares to institutional investors at Rs 131 per share. The proceeds will go towards funding the company's capital expenditure plan of Rs 230 bn over the next 3 years. This involves production of alumina from the Utkal Alumina refinery from July 2011 and construction of a 1.5 m tonne per annum project at Rayagada, Orissa. Production from the Mahan Aluminium project in Madhya Pradesh is also set to start by July 2011. The company is also constructing a captive power plant of 900 MW at Bargwan, Chhattisgarh. This development is in line with the company's drive to expand its alumina capacity nearly four fold and aluminium capacity two fold. The expansion is likely to strengthen the company's position as a low cost aluminium maker with global scale

Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include M&M and Maruti Suzuki. As per a leading business daily, Bajaj Auto plans to launch more bikes in the entry and premium segments. It may be noted that the company had abandoned the 100 cc entry segment two years earlier citing erosion in margins. However it is having second thoughts after the runaway success of the Discover model recently. Strapped with a sub 100 cc engine, the bike clocked sales of 100,000 units in 50 days. The company is also focusing on the 150 cc plus premium segment, where it has launched variants of the Pulsar to take on Yamaha and Suzuki.

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