The major Asian stock markets have opened the day in the green with the stock markets in Japan (up 1.5%) and Taiwan (up 1.o %) leading the gains. The Indian share markets have opened the day on a firm note as well. The sectoral indices have opened mixed with stocks in the software and healthcare space leading the gains. However, stocks in the consumer durables and energy sector were leading the losses.
The Sensex today is up by around 44 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 13 points (0.2%). The mid and small cap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 61.85 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Bajaj Auto Ltd and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd leading the losses. However, Force Motors Ltd and Eicher Motors Ltd were leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Tata Motor's subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover Company plans to invest £100 m in Saudi Arabia to manufacture 100,000 vehicles per year in order to cater to the rising demand for its cars in the Middle East region. The proposed plant will initially make a new version of its Land Rover Discovery and is expected to employ 4,000-5,000 workers. It will be the company's third biggest factory in its overseas expansion drive after the deals to open plants in China and Brazil. It is expected that the Saudi government will invest in the plant as it seeks to develop its automotive industry. The company is expected to assemble cars from components made in Britain and then progress to taking more parts from Saudi companies.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Cairn India Ltd and GAIL (India) Ltd leading the gains. However, Gujarat State Petronet Ltd and Jindal Drill Ltd are leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd's (ONGC) revenues and net profits may grow by Rs 160 bn and Rs 96 bn respectively post the domestic gas price hike to US$8 per unit from US$4.2 per unit from April 1, 2014. However, as per the management, most of the incremental revenue is likely to go back to the Government (which happens to be the majority shareholder the company) in form of higher taxes, royalty and dividend. As such, the net retention is expected at Rs 52 bn. The management has further stated that even at US$ 8 per unit, not all gas discoveries by the company will be viable and that it will need a higher price of US$ 11 per unit for that to happen. ONGC's cost of gas production is estimated at US$ 4 per unit.