Asian stock markets have opened the day on a strong note. Benchmark indices in Japan (up 1.8%), Taiwan (up 1.2%) and Korea (up 1.2%) are the buyers' favourites. Other major Asian markets are trading in the green as well. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a good note as well. Stocks in the auto and metal spaces are the leading gainers.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 50 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 10 points (0.2%). Midcap and small cap stocks are trading in the positive as well, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices up by about 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.07 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with ONGC, Cairn India and Reliance Industries trading in the green. However, IOC, HPCL and BPCL have opened the day in the red. Oil marketing major HPCL, has announced plans to add new facilities in its refinery at Vizag. The company would be adding facilities to convert low-value heavy oils into premium products. This would help in increasing the refining margins for the company. As per the management, the new facilities would help the company in expanding its refining margin by US$ 3 per barrel. Its current refining margins are at US$ 5.1 per barrel (as at the end of December 2010). The addition of the facilities would be a part of the Rs 80 bn capex plan that the company has allocated towards expanding the refinery's capacity to 15 m tonnes per annum. The current capacity is at 8.3 m tonnes per annum. The expansion would be to cater to domestic demand as of now. As per the management, the company has no export focus from the Vizag facility as of now. HPCL is currently awaiting environmental clearance for the expansion programme.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a positive note. According to a leading daily, Bharti Airtel is likely to buy Qualcomm's Indian broadband wireless access (BWA) licenses. The valuation of the deal is likely to be around US$ 1.2-1.3 bn, with a premium of 25-30%. The US mobile phone chip maker has BWA licenses in four circles of Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala and Haryana. In 2010, it had won licenses and bandwidth at a cost of about US$1.05 bn in a government-run auction. If the deal goes through, Bharti Airtel will have BWA spectrum in 8 circles. It currently holds broadband licenses in four service areas of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kolkata and Punjab. The company had won the same by paying about US$ 740 m. Qualcomm India has Global Holding and Tulip Telecom as its India partners. Both of them hold about 13% stake in the company. If Bharti Airtel is successful in buying the Indian BWA licenses of Qualcomm, then both these companies will also sell their stake. The stock of Bharti has opened in the green. Other telecom stocks trading in the positive zone are Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications.