The major Asian stock markets have opened on a mixed note with Japan (up 1.2%) and Taiwan (up 0.6%) leading the gains. However, the stock markets in Singapore (down 0.4%) and Malaysia (down 0.3%)were leading the losses.
As per the latest economic data, the fiscal deficit in the first two months of FY15 has already touched Rs 2.4 lakh crore. This comprises as much as 45.6 % of the estimate provided by the previous finance minister P. Chidambaram for the entire 12- month period. The corresponding deficit in FY14 was 33.3% of Budget estimates. This presents a tough challenge for the current finance minister. Mr. Arun Jaitley. He will have to delicately balance the fiscal deficit and at the same time make sure that enough funds are allocated for social welfare schemes and huge infrastructure projects in the highways and ports and power sectors.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) leading the gains. However, Gas Authority Of India Ltd. (GAIL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) were leading the losses. The state run oil marketing companies have hiked the price of petrol by Rs 2 a litre on account of rise in the international gasoline rates and depreciation in rupee because of the unrest in Iraq. This is the biggest hike in nine months in Delhi. Further, diesel price has been increased by about 56 paise in Delhi to trim down the revenue losses on the sale of diesel that have increased to about Rs 3.90 per litre from Rs 1.62 in the previous fortnight. All-India price increase is Rs 1.69 per litre on petrol and 50 paise on diesel. However, the impact of the hikes will be different in different cities due to local levies.