Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a cautious note and oscillated to either side of Friday's close in the morning session. However, the afternoon session saw selling pressure intensify pushing the indices into the red. There was no respite in the final trading hour either and the indices closed below the dotted line. While the Sensex today closed lower by 18 points, the NSE- Nifty today closed lower by 3 points. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap, however, bucked the trend and closed higher by 0.3% and 0.5% respectively. Losses were largely seen in FMCG and IT stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have also opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.69 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Engineering stocks closed mixed today. While Voltas and Bharath Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) found favour, L&T closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has bagged an offshore contract valued at Rs 7.8 bn for three wellhead platforms from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The scope of the contract includes total engineering, procurement, construction and installation of three wellhead platforms, spread over Heera and South Heera fields of ONGC. The project is scheduled to be completed by April 2014. It must be noted that in 2QFY13, L&T's standalone sales grew by around 17.4% YoY on the back of a 19.1% YoY growth in the company's Engineering & Construction (E&C) division. This was commendable given the execution issues prevailing in the sector. Overall, the company registered an order inflow of Rs 209.6 bn during the quarter, a growth of 30% YoY. The total order book at the end of the quarter stood at Rs 1,585.2 bn.
Auto stocks also closed mixed today. While Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) closed firm, Maruti Suzuki was at the receiving end. As per a leading business daily, auto major Ashok Leyland has launched its new 5-axle truck in the country offering a payload of up to 25 tonnes. The five axles - two steerable front axles, two rear axles and a self-steerable pusher lift axle at the middle is expected to give the vehicle better balance and greater efficiency in carrying more loads. It must be noted that in FY13 so far, most of the segments in the auto space have witnessed a slowdown. Medium & heavy commercial vehicles (MHCVs) have particularly been among the worst hit with volumes witnessing a decline. This is because this segment is highly cyclical as its performance is closely linked to that of GDP growth, the latter having slowed down considerably in the last 2 quarters. However, in 2QFY13, Ashok Leyland's sales grew by 6% YoY which is decent as compared to the sluggish conditions in the MHCV market. The stock closed higher today.