Asian markets have opened the day on a mixed note. On one hand, benchmark indices in Japan (up 0.6%), Malaysia (up 0.2%) and China (up 0.1%) are trading in the green. On the other hand, markets in Hong Kong (down 0.1%) and Korea (down 0.1%) are witnessing selling pressure. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the technology and auto space are the major losers. However, stocks in the realty and power sectors are witnessing buying interest.
The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 62 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 22 points (0.4%). Midcap and small cap stocks are however trading in the positive, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices up by about 0.3% each. The rupee is trading at 44.19 to the US dollar.
IT stocks have opened the day on a weak note with heavyweights Tech Mahindra, Wipro, TCS and Infosys, all trading in the red. The cloud that was hanging over Mahindra Satyam appears to be clearing up. Since the company's takeover by Tech Mahindra, its fortunes have turned for the better. The company had come out of the woods in terms of its financials and had reported its first profit since the infamous scam related to its erstwhile promoter broke out. Now things seem to be getting better as the company has reached a settlement with the US regulatory authority SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). The company has agreed to pay a fine of US$ 10 m towards the settlement of charges of fraudulently overstating the company's revenues and profit numbers. The company has also agreed to pay US$ 125 m to settle a lawsuit filed against it in US. It has paid another US$ 70 m to a UK-based company which accused it of forgery. With these settlements out of the way, the company has at least taken the corrective actions that it so needed to take to clear its name. As per the management, these settlements would be in the best interests of the shareholders in the long term. Mahindra Satyam was acquired by Tech Mahindra in 2009. The latter has stated that it would consider a possible merger of the two companies in the future. The stock of Mahindra Satyam is trading in the green.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a weak note. Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are leading the losers' pack. Maruti Suzuki, India's largest car manufacturer is going to recall 13,157 diesel cars to replace a faulty engine part. It includes 4,505 units of Dzire, 6,841 units of Swift and 1,811 units of Ritz manufactured between November and December 2010. The company will replace free of cost a connecting rod bolt that has been responsible for abnormal noise in the engine. This is Maruti Suzuki's third major recall in the past one year. In February 2010, it had recalled and rectified 100,000 units of its A-Star model across domestic and overseas markets. Again in July 2010, the company had recalled 6,000 units of its largest selling Alto hatchback, produced in April 2010, to fix an ignition problem.
In order to meet the increasing domestic demand, Maruti produced over 1.27 m cars in fiscal year 2011, higher than its installed capacity of 1 m cars. However, the company has maintained that the rise in technical problems is not related to the increase in production.