The Indian markets have started on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark despite weak Asian cues and have managed to hold on to their gains since then. Asia is currently trading in the red with Hong Kong (down 0.9%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed higher by 0.3% yesterday.
Currently, in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the green with metal stocks leading the pack of gainers. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 58 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by 19 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small-cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.64 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include Gujarat Gas and Indraprastha Gas, while Indian Oil is in the red. As per a leading daily, Reliance Industries is likely to take a decision on the financial bid to buy LyondellBasell. It is currently waiting for the outcome of the proceedings of the Bankruptcy Court in which LyondellBasell’s management has presented its rescue plans. The LyondellBassell management is expected to seek time till September, 2010 to finalise the reorganisation plan. Apparently, the management and secured creditors want a US$ 2.5 bn cash infusion from investors while the unsecured creditors and bond holders are more inclined towards the buyout by Reliance Industries. It may be noted that the Indian petrochemical giant had made a buyout offer last month. While much will depend on the outcome of the court proceedings, in our view Reliance Industries would be cautious in its bid for the debt laden target which has projected a 45% YoY decline in topline for the current calendar year.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Force Motors and M&M. As per a leading business daily, Tata Motors has launched the Sumo Grande MK II which will replace the Grande MK I. The new model will cost Rs 25,000 lesser than the outgoing model at Rs 643,000. Based on this launch, the company expects sales of the sports utility vehicles to rise to 4,000 units per month, up from 3,000 units per month. The new pricing is meant to sharpen the positioning of the Sumo below the Safari range, which begins at Rs 700,000 onwards. So far, there was an overlap between the two offerings, leading to cannibalization. In our view, companies have to offer a vast array of offerings covering the various price points because the Indian consumer is so price sensitive. Ironically, so many models make the business complex and increase the cost of operations. Auto companies are countering it by using common design inputs and components.