Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with China (up 3.2%), Taiwan (up 0.7%) and Hong Kong (up 0.4%) trading firm. However, markets in Indonesia (down 1.8%) and Japan (down 0.5%) are facing selling pressure. The Indian share markets indices have opened the day on a negative note. Stocks in the banking and consumer durables space are leading the losses.
The Sensex today is down by around 135 points (0.7%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 58 points (1%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 0.5% and 0.1% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 61.35 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Escorts and Hero MotoCorp leading the gains. However, TVS Motor Company and Maruti Suzuki are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is planning to de-merge the trucks and bus division from Mahindra Trucks and Buses (erstwhile Mahindra Navistar Automotive) and merge the division with itself. The reason for this move is to provide more flexibility and better access to funds to the loss-making division. At the end of financial year 2012-13, the truck and bus-making subsidiary's accumulated losses stood at Rs 9.2 bn. As per Pawan Goenka, president (automotive and farm equipment sectors), the losses would help M&M secure a tax write-off in case the merger was completed during the current fiscal 2013-14. As a part of the merger, the subsidiary's assets of Rs 2.5 bn (worth of plant, machinery, etc) would be transferred to M&M.
It must be noted that M&M had bought the 49% stake of its partner Navistar International in the joint venture company for Rs 1.75 bn in December 2012. The management at the loss-making unit was then given a three year deadline by the M&M management to turn the entity profitable.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a firm note with AGC Networks, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunication operator Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) has announced that it will increase its effective interest in India's leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel to 32.34% from 30.76%. SingTel has agreed to buy 788,538 shares, or 3.62%, of Bharti Telecom Ltd. For this acquisition, the company would pay around 383.6 m Singapore dollars (US$ 302.2 m). It must be noted that Bharti Telecom holds about 43.57% equity stake in Bharti Airtel. The acquisition is in sync with SingTel's strategic focus on maximising the value of its existing businesses. And this also includes reviewing opportunities to raise shareholdings in existing associates.