Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note. Stock markets in South Korea (up 0.2%) and Japan (up 0.3%) are trading in the green, while Indonesia (down 0.3%), China (down 0.8%) and Hong Kong (down 0.3%) are trading in the red. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the realty and consumer durables sectors are leading the gains.
The BSE-Sensex is trading up by 24 points (0.1%) and the NSE-Nifty is up by around 6 points (0.1%). Midcap and small cap stocks are trading in the green as well, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices up by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.34 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Central Bank and Indian Overseas Bank in the green. IDBI Bank has bought a 10% stake in UCX (Universal Commodity Exchange) for Rs 100 m. IDBI Bank officials confirmed that the deal was completed recently. UCX is the 6th commodity stock exchange in the country. The idea behind acquiring the stake is to push agriculture loans through this venture. The other advantage is that all transactions of the exchange will be routed through IDBI. The bank is also a promoter of NSE (National Stock Exchange). Despite the fact that two new commodity exchanges have come up recently, the majority market share is still controlled by MCX (Multi-Commodity Exchange). It remains to be seen whether a new exchange is able to change the market dynamics in a significant way or not.
Power stocks have opened the day on a positive note with CESC, Gujarat Industries Power and Jaiprakash Power leading the gains. A few days ago, the government announced its decision to hike the prices of diesel and cooking gas. Now it appears that the power tariffs are likely to go up as well. The power ministry has stated that the way the things are going, it would soon be difficult for power companies to continue their supply without raising tariffs. As per the ministry, the cumulative loss of the 110 power utilities in India amounts to a whopping Rs 861 bn. If tariffs were to remain at the existing levels, this loss would increase to Rs 1,161 bn by 2014-2015. As per Power Finance Corp (PFC), the loss would be bigger if one were to include the amount of subsidy provided by the state governments. Power utilities sell power at the rate of Rs 2.91 per unit. The cost of this power is estimated to be Rs 3.41 per unit. Even after taking the subsidy into consideration, they still sustain a loss of Rs 0.5 per unit. If tariffs continue at the current pace, the power utilities would bleed out. Therefore, it does seem for now that we are all set to see our power costs go up in the very near future.