The Indian markets have started today's session on a negative note. The benchmark indices opened at the breakeven mark but soon slipped into the red. They have not managed to pare their losses since then. Other key Asian markets are in the red with Indonesia (down 0.5%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed higher by 0.1% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading weak with telecom, auto and metal majors facing the brunt of selling activity. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 45 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 15 points. However, some 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% each. The rupee is trading at 46.74 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Bank of India and PNB. As per a leading business daily, banking behemoth SBI is preparing a US$ 1 bn war chest to buy a bank in Africa. It is looking at banks with a presence across major African countries. It is considering a number of options in Botswana, Ghana, South Africa, and Egypt. This move is with an eye on keeping pace with the banking requirements of Indian companies, who are aggressively increasing their presence in the continent of late. After ignoring Africa for several years, Indian companies have woken up to its potential both as a source of commodities and as a consumer markets. In fact, both private players and public sector giants are expanding in Africa. SBI is trying to follow their trail. If the playing field is left open, it is likely that the foreign banks will occupy that space.
Media stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include HT Media and Balaji Telefilms. Jagran Prakashan announced its FY10 results recently. The company reported a 14% YoY growth in topline during FY10 led by 16% growth in advertising revenues and 9% growth in circulation revenues. Its flagship paper Dainik Jagran was confirmed as the most read newspaper in India by the latest Indian Readership Survey. The company's operating margins improved from 19% in FY09 to 30% during the year. Other income, which includes revenues from outdoor advertising, event management activity and short code services grew by 51% YoY during FY10. Bottomline grew by 92% YoY during the year on account of topline growth, expansion in margins and higher other income. The company's board has declared a final dividend of Rs 1.5 per share, in addition to Rs 2 per share of interim dividend.