Maruti Suzuki among top Nifty gainers; Citi, Morgan Stanley bullish

Shares of Maruti Suzuki India gained 1.6 percent to Rs 10,460 per share in Friday’s intra-day to trade among top Sensex and Nifty 50 gainers in an otherwise weak market. The surge came after global brokerages Citi and Morgan Stanley maintained bullish stance on the counter. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex was flat at 66,273 levels, as of 10:40 am.

A rebound was also visible across the auto sector as the S&P BSE Auto index rose 1 percent from day’s low, led by gains in Maruti, M&M, Hero MotoCorp, Ashok Leyland, and Tata Motors.

For Maruti Suzuki India, global brokerage firm Morgan Stanley remained ‘overweight’ on the counter, sharing a target price of Rs 11,963 apiece.

“Maruti’s business is turning around on expected lines. The sport utility vehicle (SUV) market share gains and volume recovery are now more vivid. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) margin could rise to 11 percent in the July-September quarter of fiscal year 2023-24 (Q2FY24) from 10 percent in Q1FY24,” the brokerage firm added.

Moreover, they added that Maruti Suzuki’s forward-looking valuation appeared attractive, with a FY25 price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 23x, compared to the 10-year median 12-month forward P/E ratio of 25x. This suggested that the company’s stock may currently be undervalued relative to its historical standards.

Analysts at Citi, on the other hand, shared a ‘buy’ call on the Maruti, raising target price to Rs 13,600 per share.

“The recent trends in product-mix bolster a positive stance and improving mix, that is, higher proportion of utility vehicles (UVs) would aid overall earnings. The decline in small car sales would have been a big negative for the company a year ago, however, success of recent models has insulated company from soft demand in entry-level cars. Entry level cars account for nearly 57 percent of FY24 year-to-date (YTD) volumes,” they added.

In August 2023, the auto major’s total domestic sales jumped 14 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 1.6 lakh units from 1.4 lakh units in the year-ago period.

Segment-wise, the mini segment, which includes Alto and S-Presso declined 45 percent YoY. Compact segment, which includes sales of Baleno, Celerio, Dzire, Ignis, Swift, Tour S, WagonR rose 1.2 percent YoY.

Sale of utility vehicles, which comprises of Brezza, Ertiga, Fronx, Grand Vitara, Invicto, Jimny, S-Cross, XL6 jumped 118 percent YoY in August 2023.

Total export sales, too, increased 14.5 percent to 24,614 units in August 2023 from 21,481 in August 2022.

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