Asian stock markets have opened the day on a negative note as Japan has upgraded the nuclear crisis level in the country. Markets in China (down 0.2%), Hong Kong (down 0.2%) and Taiwan (down 0.2%) are leading the losses. However, markets in Singapore (up 0.5%) and Indonesia (up 0.1%) are witnessing some gains. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note as well. All major sectoral indices have opened in the red, except for the FMCG index. Stocks in realty and metal spaces are leading the losers' pack.
The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 83 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 29 points (0.5%). Midcap and small cap stocks are trading in the negative as well, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices down by about 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.58 to the US dollar.
FMCG stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Colgate Palmolive and Hindustan Unilever are trading in the green. However, Godrej Consumer Products and ITC are currently trading in the red. Intense competition has forced the revival of seven year old joint venture (JV). FMCG major, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has revived its seven year old JV with PepsiCo. The JV would be selling ready-to-drink teas and tea beverages and would be re-launching the Lipton ice tea. The JV would be competing with the recently launched Nestea iced tea that is launched by rival Nestle and Coca Cola. The move into this segment is to expand the company's existing portfolio into the rapidly growing functional beverage segment. This segment includes fortified juices, teas, vitamin drinks and milk-based drinks. The segment has been witnessing phenomenal growth as consumers shift focus towards healthy beverages over the aerated drinks. The PepsiCo-HUL JV had first launched the Lipton ice tea in 2004. However, due to the lack of demand, the product had been withdrawn within a year of its launch. With increasing consumer readiness for such products, HUL is now more confident of garnering better revenues through the product.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and MNTL being the biggest losers. Idea Cellular is aiming to make significant gains from mobile number portability (MNP), especially because this is expected to create a churn in 3G subscribers following a stiff price war among the telecom players. The company now plans to build tie-ups in areas where it does not hold a 3G license. This will enable its subscribers to avail 3G services across the entire country.
Idea, India's third largest telecom operator (GSM only, by subscribers), has been the leading gainer from MNP. It has achieved a net addition of 4 lakh subscribers. This has taken its total subscriber base to 89 m users. The company has been facing margin pressures due to a decline in average revenue per user (ARPU), which currently ranges from Rs 172 to Rs 200. However, the 3G services are expected to curb any further decline in ARPU.