The major Asian stock markets have opened mixed with stock markets in Indonesia (up 0.4%) and South Korea (up 0.2%) leading the gains. However, the markets in Taiwan (down 0.6%) and Japan (down 0.2%) have opened in the red .The Indian stock market indices have opened the day on a firm note. The sectoral indices have opened mixed with stocks in auto and metal space leading the gains. However, the stocks in FMCG and healthcare space were seeing losses.
The Sensex today is up by around 22 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 3 points (0.1%). Midcap and small cap stocks have opened in the green as well with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.3% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 61.38 to the US dollar.
The Government has recently announced a hike in the import duties on gold, silver and platinum in order to curb non essential imports and reduce the pressure on the current account deficit (CAD). This markets the fourth round of custom duty hikes on gold in the last 20 months. It is also likely to trigger an increase in gold smuggling. The import duty on gold and platinum has been increased to 10% from 8%. For silver, the duty has been raised by 4 percentage points to 10%.Finance Minister Mr. P Chidambaram has recently indicated that the Government may announce more measures to restrict other non-essential imports, including luxury items to restrict CAD (current account deficit) to 3.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013-14. In the last fiscal year, CAD stood at 4.8% of GDP. Finance Minister has said that the Government intends to restrict gold imports to 850 tonnes this fiscal against 950 tonnes last fiscal. He has also announced some measures that are likely to boost capital inflows into the country. These include asking public sector financial institutions to raise funds abroad through quasi-sovereign bonds, liberalizing external commercial borrowing guidelines and NRE (non-resident external account)/FCNR (foreign currency non-resident) deposit schemes.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Essar Oil and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) leading the gains in the sector. However, Gujarat Gas and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) have opened in the red. BPCL has reported results for the first quarter ended June 2013 (1QFY14). The market sales for the quarter stood at 8.59 million tonnes (MT) against 8.5 MT last year. The increase was mainly in petrol retailing (11.56 %), diesel retailing (7.34 %) and Aviation Turbine Fuel (9.79 %). The revenues from operations increased by 7.7% YoY during the quarter. The average gross refining margin during the quarter stood at US $4.05 per barrel against US$2.62 per barrel in 1QFY13. On the back of better margins and lower under recoveries, BPCL reported a net profit of Rs 1.5 bn. This compares to a net loss of Rs 88.4 bn in 1QFY13.