Barring Malaysia (down 0.2%), major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with Japan (up 2.5%) and Hong Kong (up 0.6%) leading the gains. The Indian share markets have also opened the day on a positive note. Barring software, all sectoral indices have opened in the green with stocks in the FMCG and consumer durables space leading the gains.
The Sensex today is up by around 24 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 6 points (0.1%). The midcap and smallcap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.4% each. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 60.27 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Petronet LNG Ltd and Essar Oil Ltd leading the gains. However, Jindal Drill Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) were witnessing losses. As per a leading financial daily, state run oil marketing companies are likely to cut petrol prices by less than Rs 1 a litre this week since rupee's appreciation against the dollar has made imports cheaper. Recently, petrol prices were cut by 75 paise per litre on April 1. The quantum of price cut will depend further on available data of international oil prices. Global crude prices have also softened marginally. It is important to note here that while the Government has allowed state run OMCs to align petrol prices with market rates, they still take implied approval of the oil ministry before revision in fuel prices. The oil ministry had recently cancelled the Cabinet's decision to raise diesel prices by 50 paise every month until its pump prices are aligned with global rates. On diesel, the companies are still losing around Rs 5.93 per litre.
Cement stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with The Ramco Cements Ltd and JK Lakshmi Cement Ltd leading the gains. However, Birla Corporation Ltd and India Cements Ltd were witnessing losses. As per a leading financial daily, Shree Cement Ltd is on an expansion drive and is planning to invest Rs 22 bn on capital expenditure in FY15. The company's production capacity stood 13.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in 2013. It plans to expand it to 20 MTPA by 2015. It will spend Rs 17 bn (US$ 282 m) on its Chhattisgarh unit which is likely to commence operations by April 2015. Also, it will construct a grinding plant in Bihar for US$ 82.9 m and will increase cement production capacity in Rajasthan. The company's Bihar grinding unit is expected to start operations by May 2014.