Asian stock markets have started the day on a mixed note. Markets in Hong Kong (up 0.4%), Singapore (up 0.3%) and Taiwan (up 0.3%) are witnessing buying interest. However, markets in Japan (down 0.7%) and China (down 0.4%) are witnessing losses. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the consumer durables and realty sectors are the major gainers.
The BSE-Sensex is up by around 176 points (1.0%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 55 points (1.1%). 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 1.2% and 1.1% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 49.19 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks have opened the day on a positive note with ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Yes Bank leading the gains. The student community of India can breathe a sigh of relief. The nation's largest lender State Bank Of India (SBI) has decided to cut interest rates on its education loans. The bank has lowered its rates on education loans by 25 to 100 basis points (0.25% to 1%). Following this, SBI's big ticket education loans would now be the cheapest in the country. The interest rates on the loans above Rs 0.75 m, would now stand at 12%. The rates offered by SBI's peers Indian Bank and PNB are in the range of 13.75% to 14.25%. The interest rate on loans between Rs 0.4m to Rs 0.75 m would now be 13.25%, which is again lower than the other banks. However, for loans below Rs 0.4m, SBI's rates are still slightly higher than that of its peers.
Power stocks have opened the day on a high note as well with GVK Power, Suzlon Energy and Reliance Power leading the pack of gainers. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will be building India's first Advanced Ultra Supercritical Thermal Power plant. The plant will have a capacity of 800 mega-watts (MW). As per the principal scientific advisor to the government, Mr R Chidambaram, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and NTPC. Currently the project is in its R&D (Research & Development) phase. They expect the coal-fired plant to be operational by 2017. The plant is expected to have at least 5% more efficiency than the existing thermal power plants. In addition to that it will also help in 12% savings in coal. Besides reducing operational costs, the plant will also emit less carbon dioxide than similar units.