Most major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in China (down 1.6%), Hong Kong (down 0.9%) and Taiwan (down 0.9%) leading the losses in the region. The Indian equity market indices have also opened the day on a negative note. Stocks in the oil & gas and information technology space are leading the pack of losers.
The Sensex today is down by around 31 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 9 points (0.2%). However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.1% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 56.39 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Hero MotoCorp and Tata Motors trading firm. However, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Ashok Leyland are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, leading utility vehicle maker M&M is aiming to increase its market share in the scooter segment. Currently, the company commands about 7% market share. With a series of new launches, it aims to increase its market share to about 10%. It must be noted that the company forayed into the two-wheeler market in 2009. Amongst its new launches, the company has launched two scooters already. It is further planning to launch three motorcycles in the current year. Despite the challenges in the business environment, the company is positive about the new launches and believes in giving consumers more choices.
Oil & gas stocks have also opened the day on a mixed note with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd leading the gains. However, Cairn India and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) are facing losses. State-owned firm Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) recently inked an agreement to import 3.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Sabine Pass, which is a subsidiary of US-based Cheniere Energy. The US has surplus of gas but it currently allows exports in small amounts. Moreover, for countries like India that have not signed free-trade agreements (FTA) with the US, it has so far permitted only Cheniere Energy to export LNG from Sabine Pass LNG terminal. Owing to the increasing gap between demand and supply, GAIL Chairman Mr B C Tripathi wants the US government to relax norms so that it can buy more LNG from all the seven LNG export terminals planned in the US. These seven planned terminals are presently only for countries that have signed the FTA with the US.