Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in South Korea (down 0.5%), Indonesia (down 0.4%) and Japan (down 0.4%) leading the losses. However, markets in China (up 1.6%) and Hong Kong (up 0.5%) are trading firm. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the auto, realty and consumer durables space are leading the gains. However, oil and gas stocks are trading in the red.
The Sensex today is up by around 20 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 6 points (0.1%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 53.85 to the US dollar.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, the Defence Ministry has either withheld or withdrawn clearances for 47 oil & gas blocks. Of these 47 blocks, 14 have been classified as "No-Go" areas. KG-D6 gas fields and gas discovery area NEC-25 belonging to Reliance Industries and its partner BP plc are among the 14 oil and gas blocks that have been classified as "No-Go" areas. As such, exploration and productivity in these blocks has been barred. It is said that the other 12 blocks that have been classified as "No-Go" areas belong to state-run ONGC, Cairn India and Australia-based BHP Billiton. The main reasons that have been cited for withdrawing the clearances include being close to missile launching range, overlapping with proposed Naval base, with the Naval firing range and Air Force exercise area. The KG-D6 blocked has been included in the list because it overlaps with the proposed naval base. However, it is also said that the newly formed Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) is likely to consider giving clearance to 47 oil and gas blocks where the Defence Ministry has either withdrawn clearances or put stringent conditions.
PSU bank stocks have opened the day on a strong note with Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India and Central Bank leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, India's biggest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) is set to open up a second branch in China. The bank branch is scheduled to open at the port city of Tianjin, which is about 140 km from Beijing, at the end of February 2013. The branch will have a capital of about 300 m Yuan (approximately USD 50 m). SBI opened its first branch in Shanghai in 2006. It must be noted that several Indian banks have set up branches in different parts of China. The increasing trade between India and China has benefitted most of them. SBI has handled about USD 2 bn worth of trade finance. This included letters of credit for Indian and Chinese companies.