Persistent selling activity led the Indian markets to decline sharply during the previous two hours of trade. Pressure is led by losses in stocks forming part of the banking, realty and capital goods spaces. On the other hand, stocks from the oil and gas and IT spaces are amongst the top performers.
The BSE-Sensex is currently trading lower by about 130 points (down 0.7%), while the NSE-Nifty is trading lower by about 40 points (down 0.7%). Stocks from the midcap and smallcap spaces are not in favour today as well. While the BSE-Midcap Index is lower by 1.4%, the BSE-Smallcap Index is trading lower by 1.9%. The rupee is trading at 44.82 to the US dollar.
Stocks of two-wheeler manufacturers are trading firm led by Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto. Inspired by Tata Motor's effort to produce the cheapest car in the world, the Nano, Venu Srinivasan, the Chairman and Managing Director of TVS Motors is looking at doing something similar in the two-wheeler space. Mr. Srinivasan is hoping to manufacture cheaper bikes in order to gain higher share of the two-wheeler market as well as boost volumes by catering to the small towns and rural markets of India. At present, the cheapest vehicle being offered by the company is the 100 cc TVS Star Sport, which carries a price tag of around Rs 32,000.
As per Mr. Srinivasan, the company will be developing products that are specific to rural areas and are affordable. His belief is strengthened by the significant growth shown by small towns in the last financial year. According to the company, towns having population of less than 1 m accounted for nearly three-fourth of the industry's sales. And these are believed to have grown by about 30%. This is despite the restricted availability of retail finance. Sales of TVS' mopeds grew by about 30% YoY during FY10.
Energy stocks are trading mixed with Reliance Ind, Essar Oil and Cairn India witnessing decent gains. However, HPCL, IOC and Chennai Petro are trading weak. According to a leading daily, state-run BPCL will shortly file an execution petition against Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) to claim jet fuel dues. KFA owes BPCL Rs 2.2 bn. The deadline to pay expired on November 30. The company has requested BPCL to defer the case as they may pay them through the money they raise from the GDR (global depository receipts) issue they are planning.
BPCL had, in November 2009, sued KFA in the high court to get Rs 3 bn of dues. It also withdrew credit, saying KFA could lift fuel only after paying cash on delivery. Later, in an out-of-court settlement with KFA, BPCL granted it a year's time to pay the dues, including interest.