Most major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in China (down 1.2%) and Taiwan (down 0.5%) leading the losses in the region. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the banking, realty and IT space are leading the pack of losers. However, consumer durables and FMCG stocks are trading firm.
The Sensex today is down by around 13 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 3 points (0.1%). However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.3% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.96 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Hero MotoCorp and Tata Motors trading firm. However, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki are facing selling pressure. Leading utility vehicle maker M&M has launched its new research & development (R&D) centre at Pune. The centre employs about 175 engineers and designers. It has been set up with an investment of Rs 1 bn. The company plans to invest about Rs 5 bn over the next five years in this centre. It must be noted that M&M is a relatively new player in the two-wheeler market, having forayed into the segment just four years back. Its group company Mahindra 2 Wheelers is aiming to achieve the target of Rs 200 bn by 2020.
Oil & gas stocks have also opened the day on a mixed note with Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) and Reliance Industries trading firmly in the green. However, Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) are facing selling pressure. Public sector oil marketing company Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has announced that its foreign currency loan portfolio now stands at US$ 7 bn. As per the company's statement, these funds have been raised from banks and financial institutions across the US, the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, France, Mauritius, South Africa, Middle East, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia. The foreign currency loans are available at significantly cheaper interest rates. However, the loan sanctions are preceded by finalisation of complex loan agreements and rigorous due diligence by foreign banks. The company claims that it is because of its robust position in the international market that it is able to draw continuous flow of foreign funds.