Barring Taiwan (down o.6%) and Singapore (down 0.4%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in China (up 2.1%) and Japan (up 1.4%) leading with hefty gains. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the oil and gas and IT space are leading the gains. However, metal stocks are trading in the red.
The Sensex today is up by around 82 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 19 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading mixed with the BSE Mid Cap index down by about 0.1% and the BSE Small Cap index up by around 0.1%. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.78 to the US dollar.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Petronet LNG, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) and Indraprastha Gas leading the gains. State-run upstream oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) wants to move out of the coal-bed methane business and focus solely on conventional oil and gas exploration and production. As such, ONGC plans to farm out 35-45% stake in each of its four CBM blocks. These four CBM blocks are located in Jharia and Bokaro in Jharkhand and North Karanpura and South Karanpura in Raniganj, West Bengal. It must be noted that CBM is natural gas trapped within coal formations and commercially unviable for mining. The natural gas is extracted by drilling holes into the seams.
ONGC had decided to cancel the earlier bids for farming out the stake after being forced by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas in July 2012. It then invited fresh bids from international players, too, in November 2012. As per a leading financial daily, only three companies have bid again for buying stake in the four CBM blocks. These are UK-listed Great Eastern Energy Corporation (GEECL), Brisbane-based Dart Energy and a consortium of Jindal Steel and Deep Industries. It is also said that Essar Energy, which had bid last time, has abstained from bidding this time.
Auto stocks have also opened the day on a mixed note with Eicher Motor, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland leading the gains. However, Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial leading, Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), is planning to add new jobs at one of its plants in the country. The company is currently one of the biggest manufacturing employers in UK. Recently, there was news that Japanese car maker Honda was set to lay off about 800 employees at its Swindon factory. At this same time, JLR is set to add nearly the name number of jobs at its Solihull plant in the Midlands. JLR currently employs about 24,000 people in the UK. It is worth noting that this investment comes at a time when the overall auto industry is facing a slowdown. The demand for JLR brands has been growing at a robust pace in countries such as China, Russia and the US. The company is aiming to launch about 40 new models over the next five years. It has a target of manufacturing 60,000 cars a year.