The Indian markets have started today's session on a negative note. The benchmark indices opened below the breakeven mark, moved into the green but soon dived back into the negative. Other key Asian markets are trading a mixed bag with Japan (up 1.1%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 0.6% last Friday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading weak with software and banking facing the brunt of selling activity. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 50 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 15 points. However, buying interest is being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.3% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.21 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include GAIL and ONGC. As per a leading business daily, Reliance Industries has signed a joint venture with US based Atlas Energy. As per the deal, RIL will pay US$ 339 m upfront for its 40% stake. It will also contribute US $1.4 bn out of Atlasí share of exploration expenditure over a period of eight years. Moreover, Reliance Industries will spend US$ 3.4 bn over ten years towards its own share of exploration expenditure. In return, the Indian petroleum giant will get access to shale gas technology. It also gets an option to operate in certain project areas, although Atlas will serve as the operator for the joint venture. The right of first offer of shale gas assets in case Atlas plans to sell any, also belongs to Reliance Industries. This joint venture comes after its efforts to acquire LyondellBasell and Value Creation failed.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include Sesa Goa and SAIL. As per a leading business daily, SAIL and Posco are likely to sign a joint venture agreement by the end of next month to set up an estimated Rs 150 bn steel plant in Jharkhand. The government is willing to offer all support to expedite the project. The steel giants plan to set up a steel plant in Bokaro, where SAIL operates a 4.5 m tonne per annum (MTPA) facility. The existing
steel plant is being expanded to handle 7.5 MTPA. The joint venture could set up a capacity to produce 1.5 MTPA of steel at an investment of Rs 150 bn. In our view, the South Korean steel major is keen on the project after its Rs 540 bn plant in Orissa has failed to take off for the past several years due to land acquisition issues.