Most major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in Japan (down 1%), Hong Kong (down 1%) and China (down 0.7%) leading the losses. However, markets in Singapore (up 0.5%) and Malaysia (up 0.1%) are trading in the green. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the realty and banking space are the major gainers.
The BSE-Sensex is up by around 142 points (0.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 42 points (0.8%). 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 0.9% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 51.22 to the US dollar.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Tata Communications, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Reliance Communications leading the gains. The subscriber base for the mobile sector in India has grown multifold over the past few years. However, there has been no new spectrum issued since 2008. As a result, mobile operators have demanded that the government should auction the entire available spectrum in the next round of spectrum auctions. This should include the spectrum available after the 2G license cancellation as well as the additional spectrum made free by the defence. As per incumbent Bharti Airtel, additional spectrum is required to improve the quality of voice as well as data services provided to the telecom subscribers. Bharti has stated that there is no reason to reserve spectrum. This is because there exists sufficient demand in the market and operators are willing to pay the market determined prices for the same. Though the operators differ on what should be the ideal reserve price for the auction, they all agree that auctioning the entire available spectrum would make more sense as it would be beneficial for the consumers in the long run.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. While the stocks of Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors (Telco) are trading firm, Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto are facing selling pressure. Last year, India's leading passenger carmaker Maruti Suzuki faced a severe labour unrest at its Manesar plant. Now, the company is dealing with demands of high revision of wages from the newly formed Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union. This has come at a time when the carmaker is already negotiating with the Gurgaon-based Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union that has demanded double-digit wage hikes. However, Maruti has chalked out a backup plan to shift to Gujarat. In Gujarat, the company is expected to benefit from lower labour costs coupled with higher productivity from easily available skilled labour. Maruti is also gearing up to more than double its diesel engine capacity to about 500,000 units per annum.