Barring Japan (down 1.4%) and Hong Kong (down 0.4%), most Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in Taiwan (up 0.2%) and China (up 0.1%) leading the gains. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a flat note. Stocks in the auto and metal space are leading the gains. However, IT stcoks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up marginally by around 10 points (0.05%), while the NSE-Nifty is trading flat. Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 0.5% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.29 to the US dollar.
Private banking stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with HDFC Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank leading the gains. However, Development Credit Bank (DCB) and Federal Bank are trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, the chief executives of private sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have offered immunity to employees who expose unfair practices and violation of guidelines by colleagues. It must be noted that a recent sting operation by online news provider Cobrapost.com allegedly showed employees at these banks offering potential customers advice on tax evasion, money laundering and how they could convert black money into white money. Though the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has dismissed the allegations, the top honchos of leading private bank have conveyed that there would be zero tolerance for such acts.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Cairn India and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) trading firm. However, Essar Oil and Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) are trading weak. India's leading state-run energy explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has announced the discovery of three significant oil and gas assets. Of the three, two are in the Krishna-Godavari basin, located in India's east coast. The third discovery has been made in Agartala in the north-eastern state of Tripura. ONGC has decided to incur a capital expenditure of about Rs 40.5 bn to upgrade its Arabian Sea facilities. This will help extend the life of the assets as well as enhance production. It must be noted that the energy explorer produced 26.92 million tonnes of oil and 25.51 billion cubic metres of gas in the financial year 2011-12 (FY12). During FY13, this is expected to increase marginally.