Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in Japan (up 1.4%) and South Korea (up 1.3%) leading the gains in the region. However, markets in Singapore (down 0.4%), China (down 0.1%) and Hong Kong (down 0.1%) are facing selling pressure. The Indian equity share indices have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the technology, realty and power space are leading the pack of gainers.
The Sensex today is up by around 69 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 24 points (0.5%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 55.09 to the US dollar.
PSU Bank stocks have opened the day on a firm note with United Bank of India and Vijaya Bank and Bank of India leading the pack of gainers. A group of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) have asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to invoke the sunset clause on benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR). These banks have reasoned that such a move would decrease interest rates for customers by 50-75 basis points as they would move to base rate. It must be noted that BPLR is the erstwhile benchmark rate for all loans. In July 2010, it was replaced by base rate. Since then all new loans were given using the base rate as reference. However, it was not made mandatory for old customers who had borrowed during the BPLR regime to shift to base rate. Banks had demanded even then to invoke the sunset clause and end the BPRL regime. Again, at a time when the RBI is reviewing the loan price mechanism, the banks have made a demand for invoking the sunset clause on BPLR. 'Sunset clause' is a term in state law stating the law expires at a specified date, unless renewed by act of the state legislature.
Mining stocks have opened the day on a firm note with MMTC, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and Sesa Goa trading firmly in the green. After an extended tussle over fuel supply between Coal India Ltd (CIL) and power companies, the state run coal miner has finally agreed to increase the penalty in case of shortfall in delivery. While the penalty was merely 0.01%, in the current fuel supply agreements (FSAs), CIL has now agreed for a penalty in the range between 1.5% and 40%. Now, CIL would have to assure 80% of the quantity contracted. If the supply is anywhere between 80% and 65% of the annual contracted quantity, CIL would pay a penalty of 1.5% of the value of shortfall. Between 65% and 60%, the penalty would be 5% of the value of shortfall. Similarly, the penalty would be 10% for shortfall between 60% and 55%, and 20% for short supply of between 55% and 50%. If shortfall is below 50%, CIL would have to pay a hefty penalty of 40%.