The Indian markets have started today's session on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark and have managed to hold on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with Taiwan (up 1%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 1.1% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the positive with metal and auto stocks finding favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 140 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 40 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 1.0% and 1.3% respectively. The Rupee is trading at 46.1 to the US dollar.
Hotel stocks have opened on a mixed note. Gainers here include Indian Hotels and EIH. However, Taj GVK is in the red. As per a leading business daily, ITC plans to open nine more hotels under its Fortune brand in the next 10 months. Six hotels will come up in the National Capital Region, given the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in October. The company will also open hotels in Mumbai, Gandhinagar, and Kolkata. It has recently opened one in Hyderabad. It may be noted that the company opened seven hotels last year and has an occupancy rate of 60%. It currently has 110 hotels in total, making it the largest chain in India. The Fortune brand has 32 hotels in operation and 25 are under construction and refurbishment. In our view, given the demand supply mismatch in India, strong GDP growth and capacity additions by the company, the segment is expected to do well for ITC going forward.
Energy stocks have opened on a positive note. Gainers here include MRPL and Gujarat Gas. As per a leading business daily, with the outflow of natural gas from Reliance Industries' D6 block in Krishna Godavari basin, there are few takers left for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). In fact, the two LNG receiving terminals in India at Dahej and Hazira have hardly witnessed any cargo movement in the past month. In our view, the reason is pricing. The spot price of LNG is about US$ 8.2 per m British thermal unit (mBtu) as compared to the cost of D6 gas at US$ 4.2 per mBtu. As a result, most power and fertiliser companies have turned from LNG to D6 gas.