Barring China (down o.1%), Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in Taiwan (up 0.7%), Japan (up 0.6%) and Hong Kong (up 0.5%) leading the gains. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the IT and telecom space are leading the gains. However, power and banking stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 55 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 9 points (0.2%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.22 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note with Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) leading the gains. Recently, India's largest passenger vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki had announced a price hike of upto Rs 20,000 across all its models. Along with Maruti, Japanese car maker Toyota and US car maker General Motors had also hiked car prices. As per a financial daily, India's largest utility vehicle manufacturer M&M and premium car maker Mercedes Benz have also announced prices hikes which will become effective from January 2013. M&M is expected to raise prices by 1% to 2.5% in the new year. It is worth noting that while the auto companies have announced price hikes recently, most of them have been offering discounts and incentives currently so as to clear the current year stock before the year end. In fact, it is said that currently discounts are at their peak.
Private Bank stocks have opened the day on a weak note with South Indian Bank, Development Credit Bank (DCB) and Axis Bank leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, India's third largest private sector lender Axis Bank is planning to roll out an early retirement scheme for senior employees aged 40 or more, who have been employed with the bank for 10 years or longer. It must be noted that this is the bank's second attempt since 2009 to trim its staff base of 31,738 employees. The first attempt had not received the desired response. As a result, the lender has now tailored the scheme to target people who may be good performers but don't have the ability to produce great results. Axis Bank is aiming to build a leaner and younger organisation and as such, is trying to bring down the number of vice-presidents and senior vice-presidents.