Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note. Stock markets in Taiwan (up 1.1%), Japan (up 0.6%) and China (up 0.5%) are leading the gains in the region. However, stock markets in Singapore (down 0.5%), Indonesia (down 0.4%) and Hong Kong (down 0.1%) are trading in the red. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the energy and realty sectors are leading the pack of gainers.
The BSE-Sensex is up by around 49 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 13 points (0.2%). Mid cap and small cap stocks are trading in the positive zone as well, with the BSE Mid cap and the BSE Small cap indices up by about 0.6% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 49.22 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note with Ashok Leyland, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors (Telco) leading the gains. VAT (Value added tax) refunds in Maharashtra have become a concern for utility vehicle manufacturer, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M). The company has threatened to pull out all of its fresh investments in the state if the matter is not resolved quickly. The new investments are to the tune of Rs 40,000 m. The company has repeatedly raised its concerns of VAT refunds to the government but to no avail. It recently stated that these refunds are impacting their annual cash flows. The issue is involving the change in VAT rules by the government of Maharashtra. Earlier, the VAT was set off for all the vehicles sold by the company as an incentive for new investments. The changed rule states that this set off will be allowed only for vehicles sold in the state of Maharashtra. At present only 16% of the total sales of M&M come from Maharashtra. Therefore, the new rule has a negative impact on the company's cash flows.
Energy stocks have opened the day on high note with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), Cairn India and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) leading the gains. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) has announced the discovery of yet another natural gas discovery block. This latest finding is in offshore Mozambique. As per the company, this block's , Lagosta-3, appraisal has encountered 176 net meters of natural gas pay in multiple zones. The company had earlier stated that the block may hold 15 to 30 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. BPCL's subsidiary Bharat PetroResources holds a 10% stake in the block. Other parties include Videocon Hydrocarbon Holdings Ltd. (10% stake), Cove Energy Mozambique Rovuma Offshore Ltd (8.5% stake) and Mitsui E & Mozambique (20% stake).The balance stake is held by the national oil company of Mozambique, Empressa Nacional de Hidrocarbonates.