The Indian markets have started today's session on a negative note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark but slipped soon thereafter. They have not managed to return into the positive since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the red with Japan (down 1.9%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed marginally higher yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading weak with metal and power majors facing the brunt of selling activity. However, select FMCG and auto stocks are in the green. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 31 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 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.56 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include Castrol and GAIL. As per a leading business daily, Reliance Industries along with its joint venture partner, Atlas Energy, plans to buy 42,344 acres in the gas-rich Marcellus shale. They will buy acreages in Pennsylvania, US at an average price of US $4,532 per acre. It may be noted that Reliance Industries has agreed to pay US$ 1.7 bn to Atlas Energy for a 40% stake in its Marcellus shale operations. Overall, the joint venture would control 343,000 acres of gas fields. Marcellus shale is estimated to hold enough natural gas to satisfy US demand for a decade.
Reliance Industries has been keen on acquiring energy assets overseas in order to expand operations and achieve scale. The Indian petrochemical giant has tried and failed to acquire a few other energy companies in the recent past before achieving a breakthrough of sorts with Atlas Energy.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include M&M and Escorts. TVS motor announced its FY10 results yesterday. Topline grew by 18% YoY during the period. A growth of 13% in two-wheeler sales was the key driver. It is usually the motorcycles segment that drives company's volumes. However, that was not the case this time around. Scooters shone and grew by nearly 20%. Due to the company's high operating leverage, operating profits grew by an impressive 39% as margins expanded by nearly 1%. Bottomline jumped nearly threefold on the back of an 18% growth in topline. Had it not been for the one time exceptional loss of Rs 462 m, the growth in net profits would have been even higher.