The major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in Japan (up 1.0%) and Indonesia (up 0.6%) leading the gains. However, the markets in South Korea (down 0.2%) and China (down 0.6%) are leading the pack of losers. The Indian share markets indices have opened the day on a firm note. Barring oil and gas, all sectoral indices have opened in the green led by the stocks in the realty and consumer durables space.
The Sensex today is up by around 55 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 18 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.6% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 53.97 to the US dollar.
Engineering stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Jyoti Structure Ltd and Alstom T&D India Ltd leading the pack of gainers. However, AIA Engineering and Manugraph India Ltd are witnessing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) is expected to win a US$800m contract from Saudi Aramco. The project entails building the latter's upstream processing facilities for the Midyan field. This would be to produce 75 million cubic feet a day of gas condensate for a 20-year period. The output will be further transported to the power plant in the coastal city of Duba, which is situated 135 kilometers away. It is important to note here that L&T is aiming to expand its presence in international markets as Indian economy is slowing down. In the backdrop of tough economic environment, the deal will be a huge positive for the company.
PSU Bank stocks have also opened the day on a firm note with United Bank of India and State Bank of India leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, State Bank of India is mulling to revive the plan to merge its associate banks with itself. The move is likely to enhance the bank's already enormous balance sheet. It has been over 3 years since the plan was put on backburner on grounds that such mergers consume enormous amount of capital. As per the management, the capital conditions are favorable for merger. However, no timeline has been given in this regard. The management has said that the cost per merger of an associate bank with the parent would be Rs 15 bn in terms of payout on staff benefits.