The major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in China (up 1.4%) and Japan (up 0.9%) leading the gains. However, stocks markets in Singapore (down 0.4%) and Taiwan (down 0.6%) have opened in the red. The Indian markets have opened on a weak note ahead of rail budget today. Barring oil and gas and metal, all sectoral indices have opened on a negative note with the stocks in the healthcare and realty segment leading the losses.
BSE-Sensex is currently trading lower by about 79 points (down 0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 23 points (down 0.3%). Both midcap and small caps have opened in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by 0.3% and 0.2% respectively. The rupee was trading at Rs 61.96 to the dollar.
Oil and Gas stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and Gujarat Gas leading the gains. However, Castrol India Ltd and HPCL Ltd were facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, the government would wait for 5% stake sale in ONGC till crude prices stabilize at around US$70 a barrel . It is noteworthy that earlier, the sell off was supposed to happen in November 2014 and was estimated to fetch Rs 140 bn. However, with decline in crude prices, the company's financial health has suffered impacting the valuations. As such, the decision has been postponed.
Automobile stocks have opened the day mainly in the red with Bajaj Auto Ltd and Maharashtra Scooters Ltd leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M) is in talks with British Aerospace for an alliance as a part of its push into the defence sector. It is noteworthy that defence is now among the key priority sectors for Group Mahindra with alliance or acquisition energy focused on it. As per the sources, nothing has been concluded yet. One must note that M&M earlier had an alliance with British Aerospace but bought out its partner's 26% stake in their joint venture Defence Land Systems India (DLSI) in 2013.