India Markets close in 1 hr 40 mins

Metal stocks lead the downfall

Indian equity markets continued to trade in the red during the previous two hours of trade. Barring IT and banking stocks, all sectoral indices are trading weak.

The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by 82 points and NSE-Nifty is trading down by 30 points. BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices are trading lower by 1% and 1.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at 54.95 to the US dollar.

Auto stocks are trading weak led by Tube Investments and Bajaj Auto. As per a leading daily, Tata Motors is working on changing its strategy for the passenger car segment. The auto company has almost 62% share in commercial vehicle segment. However, it is losing share in the passenger car segment. Tata Motors' sales in February plunged 70% YoY to just 10,613 units. To deal with this decline in sales, the Tata group company is also planning to slash the prices of its cars including Indica and Indigo by as much as Rs 50,000. On the other side, the utility vehicles are set for price hikes with immediate effect to offset the hike in excise duty announced in Union Budget.

Power stocks are trading weak led by NHPC and Jaiprakash Power. As per a leading daily, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is planning to invest Rs 202 bn towards capex in 2013-14. We may note here that this is less as compared to Rs 209.9 bn set aside as capex for 2012-13. The company plans to utilize its internal accruals towards the entire Rs 202 bn investment. NTPC has installed capacity of about 40,000 megawatt which it aims to enhance to 70,000 megawatt by March, 2017. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has also kept a provision for compensating the company after its proposed hydro plant in Uttarakhand was scrapped in 2010. Earlier in 2010, Group of Ministers (GoM) in 2010 had scrapped the NTPC's controversial 600 megawatt Loharinag Pala hydel project on Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand.