The Indian markets have sustained their gains after starting off on a strong note. Other key Asian markets are all trading in the green with China (up 2.5%) leading the pack of gainers. Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading firm with telecom players still leading the gains. Realty and metal majors are also witnessing strong buying activity while FMCG and healthcare stocks are trading flat.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 195 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 56 points. Buying interest is being witnessed across the board including among mid and small cap stocks. The BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 1.1% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.77 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks are trading positive with Axis Bank, Oriental Bank and Federal Bank leading the gainers. Axis Bank is seeing strong gains. This is possibly on the back of the bank planning to sell its network of 4,200 automated teller machines (ATMs) to third-party service providers. For an upfront payment, the lender may allow vendors to collect 'inter-change fees'. These will be collected from other banks to let their customers use Axis Bank's ATMs. In this move the ATM assets will move off Axis Bank's balance sheet. The management of the network will be outsourced to service providers. Payment to them will be made on a per-transaction basis. Request for proposals to seek solutions on how this can be accomplished have been sent to multiple vendors. Axis Bank would however still be responsible for its ATMs. A lot of banks are looking at avoiding the expense of setting up, managing and maintaining these ATMs by following an outsourcing model.
Telecom stocks are trading at high levels with Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices leading the gainers. Bharti Airtel is planning to expand its submarine cable offerings globally. This is in order for it to target business opportunities in over 100 countries by 2013, according to its CEO Sanjay Kapoor. Currently, the undersea cable business is present in 50 countries. The company has invested over Rs 25 bn in this business over the past three years. It either has stakes or has bought capacities in 18 cable systems across the world. The operator has also bought stakes in five new undersea cable global consortiums that will become operational from the end of 2010. Its main focus markets are South East Asia, Asia-pacific region, Middle East and Africa. It plans to be at the top of this opportunity in the near future.