The Indian markets have started today's session on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened at the breakeven mark but quickly marched into the green and have held on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with Singapore (up 0.5%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed marginally higher yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the green with auto stocks attracting investors' interest. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 66 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 18 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.8% each. The rupee is trading at 45.57 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Bajaj Auto and M&M. As per a leading business daily, Tata Motors is selling one third of its stake in its construction equipment subsidiary, Telcon, for Rs 10 bn. The stake will be picked up by Hitachi, which is currently a joint venture partner with a 40% stake. Telcon, an unlisted entity, is India's largest manufacturer of construction equipment. It has manufacturing facilities in Dharwad, Jamshedpur and Kharagpur. It makes construction equipment such as backhoe loaders, excavators, off-highway dump trucks, wheel loaders and large mining shovels. Hitachi had first picked up a 20% stake in Telcon in 2000. It later raised it to 40% in 2005. The latest deal will transfer the ownership of the company from Tata Motors to Hitachi. In our view, this transaction is part of Tata Motors' strategy to divest some of its group companies in order to reduce the debt on its books which has piled up after the Jaguar-Land Rover acquisition in 2008.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Indraprastha Gas and MRPL. As per a leading business daily, the oil ministry has asked HPCL to invoke the corporate guarantee given by the United Breweries (UB) Group to recover unpaid jet fuel dues from Kingfisher Airlines. It has also directed HPCL to supply fuel only against a bank guarantee in the future. The UB Group has given a Rs 2.5 bn corporate guarantee to HPCL. Its outstanding dues now amount to over Rs 6 bn. It may be noted that the other public sector oil marketing companies, Indian Oil and BPCL already supply Kingfisher Airlines fuel only on cash and carry terms. In our view, this highlights the difficult economics suffered by both the industries - downstream oil marketing and civil aviation.