The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened at the breakeven mark and soon surged higher. They have managed to hold on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are in the green with Indonesia (up 3.5%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed marginally lower yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with auto and construction majors finding investors' favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 203 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 61 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 1.4% and 1.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 47.37 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Cairn India and MRPL. ONGC is in talks with energy majors BP, Exxon Mobil, BG Group, Eni and BHP Biliton for a tie-up for one of its KG basin gas blocks. Given that the block involves deep water technology, the company is seeking global exploration firms with the expertise. Earlier, Norway's Statoil and Petrobras of Brazil decided to quit the block due to government delays in approving their participation. It may be noted that the block now has ten gas discoveries and ONGC plans to club these with six gas finds in a neighbouring block to begin production in next 3 to 4 years. There are technicalities involved in tie-ups with foreign energy majors such as whether a block was nominated or auctioned by the government. ONGC cannot transfer its stake in a nominated block to any other firm. In our view, it is high time the government showed a greater sense of urgency and prudence in such matters given India's growing energy needs and high dependence on oil imports.
FMCG stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Henkel India and Marico. As per a leading business daily, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) announced its 4QFY10 results. The company posted a 8% YoY growth in topline during 4QFY10 on the back of strong volume growth in the personal products business. Growth in home and personal care and foods was 6% per cent and 17%, respectively. Operating margins fell 1.1% during the quarter to stand at 13.6% on the back of higher advertisement costs (as a percentage of sales). Bottomline grew by 47% YoY during the quarter helped by higher extraordinary income. After adjusting for the extraordinary income, bottomline declined by 23% YoY during 4QFY10. HUL's board proposed a final dividend of Rs 3.50 a share for the year.