The Indian markets have started today’s session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened at the breakeven mark but soon moved into the green. They have managed to hold on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are in the green with South Korea (up 0.8%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed lower by 1.2% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with FMCG and banking majors finding investors’ favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 70 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 25 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% each. The rupee is trading at 47.12 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Cairn India and Castrol. As per a leading business daily, Reliance Industries may foray into nuclear energy. It is believed to be in talks with US-based engineering, construction and project management firm Bechtel Corporation for a possible collaboration. Bechtel has designed and built more than half of the nuclear power plants in the US. It may be noted that under existing laws, domestic private firms can participate in nuclear power generation as a minority partner. The central government must have at least 51% equity stake in such a venture through either of its two arms—Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam. However, the government is considering opening up the sector to private participation. This would be possible only through an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. In our view, that will eventually happen given that to achieve its goal of building 10,080 MW of nuclear power generation capacity by 2017, up from its current capacity of 4,560 MW.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Bhushan Steel and JSW Steel. Tata Steel is in talks with its buyers to replace annual price contracts with quarterly ones, following similar moves by its raw material suppliers. Tata Steel is not alone in contemplating such a move. ArcelorMittal is also trying to negotiate quarterly prices with customers. Steelmakers are adjusting to a shift in the pricing of iron ore and coking coal after global mining giants like Vale and BHP Billiton abandoned a forty year tradition of annual prices. In our view, Tata Steel’s European operations will benefit the most from such a move as it depends on outside sources for its raw material requirements.