Barring China (down 0.2%) and Malaysia (down 0.1%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in Indonesia (up 0.6%) and Taiwan (up 0.5%) leading the gains. The Indian share markets have also opened the day on a positive note. All sectoral indices have opened in the green with stocks in the realty and oil and gas space leading the gains.
Private bank stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Kotak Mahindra Bank, Karnataka Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank has inked a share purchase agreement with Financial Technologies (India) Ltd to acquire 15% stake in Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) for a total consideration of Rs 4.59 bn. It must be recalled that in December 2013, FMC had declared FTIL as unfit to run any exchange after a Rs 56 bn payment crisis at group company National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL). As per an order from the regulator Forward Market Commission (FMC), FTIL has to reduce its stake in MCX from 26% to 2%.
Cement stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Heidelberg Cement and The Ramco Cements leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, cement companies have planned major capacity expansion in north India in anticipation of strong demand owing to the new government's announcement for dedicated freight corridors and 100 "smart cities" . As per a report by Barclays Research, north India is expected to witness capacity addition of about 23 mt from FY14 to FY17. The companies that are planning expansion in the region include Ambuja Cements, UltraTech Cement, Shree Cement, Mangalam Cement, Jaypee Cement, JK Cement, India Cements and Birla Corporation. Holcim Group firm Ambuja Cements has planned capacity expansion of 4.5 million tonnes (mt) at a total cost of Rs 35 bn. Its greenfield projects will be set up in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It must be noted that owing to limited limestone reserves in north India, cement players may look at acquiring existing assets to increase capacity.