The Indian markets have started today's session on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened slightly below the breakeven mark but quickly marched into the green and have added to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with China (up 1.9%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed marginally higher last Friday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the green with auto and metal stocks attracting investors' interest. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 68 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 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.12 to the US dollar.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include JSW Steel and Tata Steel. As per a leading business daily, Tata steel plans to raise US$ 500 m through a global depository receipt (GDR) issue in six months. It had earlier raised the same amount eight months ago, which was used to expand its Jamshedpur plant. These GDRs are listed on the London Stock Exchange. In our view, the new issue is part of the company's effort to reduce its financial leverage. It had a gross debt of US$ 12.9 bn as on 31st December, 2009. Much of it traces back to the US$ 12.1 bn acquisition of Corus in 2007. Tata Steel plans to reduce it debt by US$ 2 bn over the next two years. With the steel market in Europe continuing to languish, Tata Steel has to rely on capital raising rather than generating cash from operations to control its debt situation in the near term.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Indraprastha Gas and Chennai Petroleum. As per a leading business daily, GAIL and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) have formed a joint venture to lay gas infrastructure in Maharashtra. To begin with, they plan to focus on MIDC's industrial estates across the entire state. Later, they will seek the approval of gas regulatory board PNGRB to expand elsewhere as well. GAIL and MIDC will hold 25% each in the joint venture. The balance will be offered to strategic investors. In our view, this development will help the cause of the gas based power projects of 10,000 MW capacity proposed in Maharashtra. It also highlights the leading role GAIL plays in developing the gas infrastructure in India.