The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark and have managed to remain in the positive territory since then. Other key Asian markets are trading a mixed bag with China (up 1.1%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 0.9% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading a mixed bag with auto and software stocks attracting buying interest. However, cement stocks are in the red. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 25 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 5 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 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.28 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include Central Bank and Bank of Baroda. However, SBI is trading in the red. As per a leading business daily, India's largest lender SBI plans to raise around Rs 100-200 bn through a rights issue. The bank is expecting an announcement in the upcoming Union Budget on the matter. The banking giant needs capital to the tune of Rs 400-500 bn over the next five years over and above the tier-II capital and retained profit. One of the main areas where the bank will invest in is information technology, including its ATM network, mobile banking, data warehousing and a payment gateway. It may be noted that any rights issue by a state owned bank like SBI will require the government to also inject funds as the main shareholder.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include Gujarat Gas and Petronet LNG. However, ONGC is trading in the red. As per a leading business daily, ONGC is seeking growth opportunities in Latin America and Africa but not in Canadian oil sands. It is also keen on assets in Russia and the adjoining areas. The public sector oil and gas exploration and production major has recently bagged the exploration rights for a major project in Venezuela through a tie-up with Spain's Repsol. In our view, state owned energy giants from both China and India are on an asset acquisition spree around the world. There is a growing appetite for energy in the Asian giants as vast chunks of their population adopt a more energy intensive lifestyle. As a matter of fact, the government often helps the energy companies by putting it diplomatic weight behind them in the negotiations.