Barring Singapore (up 0.4%), most of the other Asian stock markets have opened the day on a negative note. Markets in China (down 1.4%), Japan (down 0.4%) and Hong Kong (down 04%) are leading the losses in the region. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a flat note with a slight negative bias. Stocks in the technology and consumer durables sectors are witnessing gains while those in energy and FMCG sectors are seeing some losses.
The BSE-Sensex is down by around 12 points (0.07%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 2 points (0.04%). Small cap stocks are trading in the green as well with the BSE Small cap index up by around 0.03%. However, mid cap stocks are trading in the negative territory, with the BSE Mid cap index down by 0.2%. The rupee is trading at Rs 52.75 to the US dollar.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a negative note with Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel leading the pack of losers. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed a steep hike in the minimum price for the 2G license auction. As per the regulator's proposal, the 2G license auction would fetch the government nearly Rs 7,000 bn of revenues. This is nearly 13 times the amount that was collected in the previous round of granting 2G licenses in 2008. The price is also nearly 1.08 times the price of the 3G spectrum, which is considered to be more valuable. The proposal has caused an outrage amongst all the telecom operators. The incumbents Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and even Reliance Communications have all united to voice their dissent for this pricing. Though the regulator's proposal will help the government's coffers and help it to meet its fiscal deficit targets. But the move will have a negative impact on health of the telecom sector.
Cement stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. On one hand Mangalam Cement and Shree Cement are witnessing selling pressure. On the other hand, stocks of India Cement and UltraTech Cement are witnessing buying interest. India's largest cement player UltraTech Cement has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter (4QFY12) and financial year ended March 2012 (FY12). During the quarter, the company's sales rose by 18.9% year-on-year (YoY). The growth was driven by 8.4% increase in sales volumes, while the remaining came on account of improvement in cement realisations. The company's operating profit rose by 22.2% YoY as operating costs moderated slightly during the period. Other income shot up by 114.9% YoY. On the other hand, interest expenses declined by 29.3% YoY. As such, the profit before tax rose by 43.3% YoY during 4QFY12. However, the effective tax rate was higher 14.9% YoY. Net profits grew in tandem with topline growth at 19.3% YoY.