Barring Singapore (down 0.3%), the major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note with stock markets in Hong Kong (up 0.5%) and Taiwan (up 0.8%) leading the gains. The Indian share markets have opened the day on a firm note. Barring software and healthcare, all sectoral indices have opened in the green with the stocks in the banking and energy sector leading the gains.
The Sensex today is up by around 20 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 11 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 0.6% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 61.00 to the US dollar.
The retail inflation for the month of February has been reported at 8.1%, down to 25-month low. Prior to this, the lowest consumer price inflation (CPI) was recorded in the month of January 2012 at 7.65%. For the month of January 2014, the retail inflation number stood at 8.79%. The inflation has come down mainly on account of easing onion and potato prices. As per CPI data released by the Government, the overall inflation in the food basket, including beverages, has slowed to 8.57 % in February 2014 from 9.9% in January 2014. It is to be noted here that the retail inflation has been easing for three months now. While the industry is demanding a cut in interest rates to support growth, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained a hawkish stance to control inflation.
Mining stocks have opened the day mainly in the green with Coal India Ltd and Sesa Sterlite Ltd leading the gains. Coal India Ltd has announced that its officers will be going on a three-day strike from today to demand for settlement of pay-related issues. As per a statement issued by the company, Coal Mines Officers' Association of India has served a strike notice against non-finalization of performance related pay, new pension scheme and other demands. It is to be noted here that Coal India accounts for 80% of domestic output. The strike is likely to impact the production adversely by around 1.5 million tonnes per day and tighten domestic supplies.