The major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in Hong Kong (down 0.5%) and Korea (down 0.3%) leading the losses. However, the stock markets in Japan (up 0.3%) and China (up 0.3%) were trading firm. The Indian markets have opened in red. Barring software, all sectoral indices have opened on a negative note with stocks in the auto and realty sector leading the losses.
The BSE-Sensex is currently trading lower by about 243 points (down 0.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 73 points (down 0.8%). The stocks in the midcap and small cap space too have opened the day on a negative note, with BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap indices down by 0.7% each. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.05 to the dollar.
Barring Maharashtra Seamless Ltd and JSW Ispat Ltd,steelstocks have opened mainly in the green with Tayo Rolls Ltd and JSW Steel Ltd leading the losses. Tata Steel Ltd has reported results for the quarter ended December 2014. The company has posted a 69 % year on year (YoY) decline in the net profits. This was mainly on account of raw material shortage that curtailed domestic production. Further, a flood of cheap imports in the international markets driven by the slowdown in China and a devaluation of the Russian rouble pressured steel prices and adversely impacted profitability of the company in its European and Indian operations. As per the management, the European steel demand continued to recover in 2014 and should improve modestly again this year. Lower steel prices also led to an 8.5 % YoY drop in consolidated net sales. It is noteworthy that Tata Steel Europe is planning to sell some loss-making operations and is shifting to higher-margin specialty steel with an aim to turnaround.
PSU Banking stocks have opened mixed with IDBI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank leading the gains. However, Punjab and Sind Bank and Vijaya Bank were facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, the Government will soon infuse around Rs 70 bn in nine public sector banks to increase their capital and meeting global risk norms. The beneficiaries will include State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BoB) and Punjab National Bank (PNB). It is noteworthy that this is the first tranche of capital infusion for which the government had allocated Rs 112 bn in the Budget for 2014-15. Among the beneficiaries, largest public sector lender SBI leads the pack with a capitalization of Rs 29.7bn, followed by BoB with Rs 12.6 bn, PNB with Rs 8.7 bn and Canara Bank with Rs 5.7 bn. As per an official statement, the government has adopted new criteria in which the banks that are more efficient would be given extra capital to further strengthen their position.