Asian stock markets have opened the day on a high note. Markets in Indonesia (up 1.2%), Korea (up 0.9%) and Hong Kong (up 0.5%) are leading the gains in the region. However, a stronger Yen has weighed down the markets in Japan (down 0.4%) as a result of which the broad market index has opened the day in the red. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note as well. Stocks in the metal and consumer durables sectors are the top gainers.
The BSE-Sensex is up by around 139 points (0.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 43 points (0.8%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the positive zone as well, with the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices up by around 0.9% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 50.55 to the US dollar.
PSU Bank stocks have opened the day on an upbeat note with Oriental Bank and UCO Bank leading the gains. As per new Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. Debabrata Sarkar, Union Bank is now aiming to focus on lending to farmers, small businessmen and retail sector. Currently, the bank's retail advances portfolio stands at close to Rs 160 bn. This is slightly lower than 10% of its total loan book. This is significantly lower compared to an average 20%-25% retail portfolio of other lenders. The public sector lender also plans to improve customer service so as to retain existing clients and lure new clients. Mr. Sarkar assumed the position at Union Bank after Mr. M. V. Nair, who retired on 31st March, 2012. Earlier, he worked as Executive Director at Allahabad Bank.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note as well with Gas Authority Of India Ltd. (GAIL), cairn India and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) leading the pack of gainers. Manpower shortage seems to be the biggest issue that the country's LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) sector is facing currently. Finding the right skill set is a major challenge for most of the domestic operators. Currently there is no institute in India that provides specific training for LNG operations. As a result, most of the domestic gas companies have to either rely on petrochemical companies and refineries to source manpower. Or they have to send personnel abroad for training. India is the world's eighth largest importer of LNG. Currently there are only 2 LNG terminals that are operated by Petronet LNG and Shell. More facilities are being set up by other players including Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, SRM Exploration and Hiranandani.