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Volatility plagued the Indian stock market indices today as every attempt at profit booking was followed by buying across index heavyweights at lower levels. That said, the indices managed to stay above the dotted line throughout the session. The final trading hours especially saw markets consolidating their gains to close well into the positive. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 128 points (up 0.7%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 33 points (up 0.6%). The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap also closed higher by 0.4% and 0.1% respectively. While gains were seen in banking and auto stocks, IT and healthcare stocks were at the receiving end.

As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have also opened on a mixed note. The rupee was trading at Rs 44.89 to the dollar at the time of writing.

Auto stocks closed firm today and the key gainers here were Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM), TVS Motor, Bajaj Auto and Hero Honda. As per a leading business daily, after ending its alliance with the Japanese company Honda Motors (NYSE:HMC), the Hero Group has formed a 12-member team to come up with strategies to boost two wheeler exports. It must be noted that the terms of the JV then had barred Hero Honda from exporting two wheelers to countries where Honda sells bikes and scooters. At present, exports account for 2% of total sales. And Hero Honda intends to increase the same as it is aiming to become a global company. Plans on the anvil include setting up overseas ventures to assemble its bikes and scooters and focusing on regions such as North Africa and Latin America. The company also intends to change its brand identity and revamp the operations of its dealers as it faces declining market share in premium products.

As per a leading business daily, the hotels division of diversified major ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC), is looking to foray into retail malls and service apartments. This move is part of its strategy to de-risk its hotel business given that it is highly seasonal. ITC has envisaged investing US$ 2 bn in the hospitality business in the next few years. The company aims to begin this project at ITC Grand Chola in Chennai wherein the hotel will have 40,000 square feet of luxury retail space. ITC would invest close to Rs 10 bn in the new property in Chennai. Additionally, the property is also expected to have 600 rooms and service apartments. The project is scheduled to be completed by December 2011. Other plans on the anvil include new hotels in Hyderabad, Kerala, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Noida, Goa and Gurgaon. It must be noted that in 3QFY11, the hotels business did well as revenues grew by 15% YoY and PBIT margins improved by 0.7% to 31.5%.

Source: India Markets Monday Wrap-Up: Markets Consolidate Gains