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 negative territory. They have not managed to bounce back into the green since then. Other key Asian markets are in the red with Japan (down 1.5%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed lower by 1.4% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading weak with metal and banking majors facing the brunt of selling activity. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 75 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 25 points. However, 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% and 0.2% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.35 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include BPCL and Indian Oil. As per a leading business daily, Reliance Industries has agreed to pay US$ 1.3 bn to Pioneer Natural Resources and its partner Newpek for the 45% stake in Eagle Ford shale gas in Texas, US. The Indian energy giant will make an upfront payment of US$ 263 m and fund US$ 1.1 bn of Pioneer and Newpek's drilling costs in the field. Reliance will invest a further US$ 46 m through a subsidiary to acquire a 49.9% stake in another joint venture with Pioneer to transport shale gas in North America. It may be noted that it had earlier agreed to pay US$ 1.7 bn to Atlas Energy for a 40% stake in Atlas' Marcellus Shale operations in the eastern US. In the US, as much as 80% of the future upstream exploration and development spend is expected to be directed towards shale gas. Hence, it makes sense of Reliance Industries to participate in the sector as it tries to expand its international footprint.
Power stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include CESC and NHPC. As per a leading business daily, French industrial giant Alstom will finalise its joint venture (JV) with BHEL and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) over the next few months. They are seeking to participate in the 45,000 mega watt (MW) nuclear power opportunity expected to come up in India over the next 10 to 15 years. Each company will have a one-third stake in the joint venture. The agreement is currently being reviewed by the Atomic Energy Commission.
To begin with, the proposed JV will supply turbines to eight units, of 700 MW each, being developed by NPCIL with indigenous technology. The value of these supplies will be around Rs 60 bn. Later the JV will also look at the nuclear projects being developed under the Indo US civil nuclear agreement in which 36 units of over 1,000 MW each are proposed to be developed at six sites in India.