The Asian equity markets have opened the day on a high note. Markets in Korea (up 1.1%), Indonesia (up 1.1%) and Singapore (up 1.1%) are leading the gains in the region. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note as well. Stocks in the capital goods and metal space are witnessing maximum interest.
The BSE-Sensex is up by around 150 points (0.9%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 42 points (0.9%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green as well with the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices up by around 0.6% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.82 to the US dollar.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a positive note with Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd (MTNL) leading the pack of gainers. However, Tata Communications is trading in the red. The pains for the telecom sector do not appear to be easing anytime soon. Recently the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had given its recommendations for setting the 2G auction reserve price at 1.08 times that of the 3G price. The telecom operators had vehemently opposed the regulator's views citing that such sky high prices would hurt their profitability. It would also be detrimental to consumer interests as operators would be forced to raise prices. Now the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has come up with its own proposal to have a 17% increase in base price over that of TRAI's recommended price. To add to this, DoT has also stated that telecom operators should not be allowed to mortgage their spectrum as collateral for getting loans from the financial institutions. If prices for the new spectrum are set as per DoT, then the mobile operators would be forced to raise tariffs to compensate for added costs. However, if TRAI's proposals to cap tariffs gets accepted then most operators would be looking at squeezed margins or even losses in the coming years.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note as well with Tata Motors, TVS Motors and Force Motors leading the gains. However, the stock of Maharashtra Scooters is witnessing selling pressure. The country's largest utility vehicle manufacturer, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has stated its plans to revamp its two-wheeler business. As per a leading daily, the company plans to invest nearly Rs 5 bn in its two wheeler business. The amount would also be invested in setting up a Research & Development (R&D) center. M&M has already set up assembly lines for scooters and motorcycles at its Pithampur plant with a capacity of 1 m units. The investment plan is in line with the company's strategy to expand its presence in the fast growing two-wheeler market.