The major Asian stock markets have opened the day mainly in the green with stock markets in Indonesia (up 0.8%) and Japan (up 1.8%) leading the gains. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a strong note as well. All sectoral indices have opened in the green with stocks in the metal and software sector leading the gains.
The Sensex today is up by around 123 points (0.6%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 36 points (0.6%). Mid and small cap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% each. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 61.65 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day mainly in the green with Gujarat Gas Ltd and Indraprastha Gas Ltd leading the gains. However, GAIL (India) Ltd and Gujarat State Petronet Ltd have opened in the red. As per a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kuwait Petro for exploration and production. Kuwait Petroleum is also interested in buying around 26% stake in ONGC's petrochemicals projects at Dahej in Gujarat and Mangalore in Karnataka. In another development, Sudan's minister of petroleum during talks with M Veerappa Moily has offered two blocks without bidding - Block 8, where oil has been discovered, and Block 15 that has to be explored. It is important to note here that Sudan had parted with most of its major oil fields when South Sudan was created in 2012. ONGC Videsh (OVL) has stakes in Blocks 1, 2 4. Further, Mr. Moily has also raised the issues of Sudan government's pending payments to ONGC Videsh and high transit fee charged for pumping oil from South Sudan fields, where OVL holds stake.
Mining stocks have opened the day in the green with NMDC Ltd and Coal India Ltd leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Coal India Ltd has declared an interim dividend of Rs 29 per share amounting to around Rs 183 bn, or 290%, for FY14. CIL has cash reserves at around Rs 622 bn as on March 2013 and it will pay the dividends from January 25, 2014. This will help the central government receive around Rs 165 bn for its 90 per cent stake in the company. The announcement follows a meeting between finance minister P Chidambaram and Chairmen of top PSUs, including Coal India, ONGC and Indian Oil Ltd with an aim to look for ways to meet the disinvestment target. It is important to note here that the central government has a disinvestment target of around Rs 400 bn this year. Including the dividend distribution tax of Rs 31 bn, the government will get around Rs 196 bn.