Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note. Stock markets in Hong Kong (down 0.2%), Singapore (down 0.3%), South Korea (down 0.4%) and Taiwan (down 0.5%) are trading in the red. However, the markets in China (up 0.3%) and Japan (up 1.1%) are trading firm. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the oil & gas and banking space are trading firm. However, FMCG and auto stocks are trading weak.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 67 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up 16 points (0.3%). The midcap and smallcap stocks are in the positive as well with both the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices up by 0.8% and 0.7% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.22 to the US dollar.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a strong note with Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, Gas Authority of India Ltd and Indian Oil Corp leading the gains. Upstream oil and gas company ONGC (Oil & Natural Gas Corp) is set to start oil and gas production from the Krishna Godavri basin in a month's time. The state-owned firm will also start pumping hydrocarbons from another block in the offshore region by May 2012. Owing to certain technical problems and issues with the contractor, ONGC has revised its production schedule from the G1 and GS15 blocks. These blocks contain about 21 m tonnes of oil and gas reserves. The projects have run behind schedule by almost 5 years. The reason for the delay was that the Australian contractor went bankrupt and quit the project. As is the case with PSUs, they took a very long time to renegotiate the contracts.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors facing significant selling pressure. Truck to car manufacturer, Tata Motors is joining hands with NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) to train truck drivers as there is a severe shortage of trained drivers. It is estimated that additional 1 m drivers would be required a year from 2014. Tata Motors expects to train drivers through its CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities. This activity will not only help the community but also help the truck makers like itself to increase sales. The company is of the view that similar activities should also be taken up by other industry players. The first pilot project is due to begin at Jabalpur this month, followed by the second at Ujjain. Tata Motors plans to start at least 10 such centres by the year end. This exercise is likely to be closely watched by others private sector companies. It is quite possible that drivers going under the training will automatically qualify for a driving licence.