Barring Malaysia (down 0.2%) and China (down 0.1%), major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in South Korea (up 1.5%), Japan (up 0.8%) and Taiwan (up 0.6%) leading the gains. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the oil and gas and realty space are leading the gains. However, consumer durables stocks are trading in the red.
The Sensex today is up by around 62 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 17 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.13 to the US dollar.
Power stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Indiabulls Power and Adani Power leading the gains. However, Jaiprakash Power, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and JSW Energy are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, the government has commenced the process of hiving off the national grid operator Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) from state-run transmission firm Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL). It must be noted that POSOCO performs the task of running one of the largest synchronous interconnections in the world. Being a subsidiary of PGCIL, POSOCO currently does not operate as an independent grid manager. The initiative to demerge the two entities has come in the aftermath of the two successive grid collapses in July 2012. The move will offer POSOCO functional independence, freedom to recruit staff and payment of higher pay scales. POSOCO is set to be designated as a 'Schedule A' company with a not-for-profit objective. The load dispatch functions that were earlier being handled by PGCIL are now scheduled to come under POSOCO post separation. As per Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, the process of demerging POSOCO from PGCIL would be completed over the next one year.
Private bank stocks have opened the day on a firm note with J&K Bank, HDFC Bank and City Union Bank leading the gains. Leading private sector lender ICICI Bank has teamed up with three other financial institutions and launched a US$ 2 bn (approximately Rs 100 bn) Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF). It must be noted that this company, India Infra Debt Ltd (Infradebt), is the first IDF in the form of non-banking financial institution (NBFC). The equity capital of Rs 3 bn for this IDF has been contributed by ICICI group (31%), Bank of Baroda (30%), Citibank India (29%) and Life Insurance Corporation of India (10%). Infradebt is set to finance its first project by the end of March 2013. The company is planning to raise half the corpus from the domestic market and the other half from foreign sources. It is considering projects that have completed minimum one year of operations.