Most of the Asian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note with stock markets in Taiwan (up 1.1%), China (up 0.6%) and South Korea (up 0.5%) leading the gains in the region. However, stock markets in HongKong (down 0.1%) have opened weak. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the auto and software space are leading the gains. However, FMCG and pharma stocks are facing selling pressure.
The Sensex today is up by around 72 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 19 points (0.4%). Mid and small cap stocks have opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 55.53 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened mixed with Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) and Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) leading the gains while Gujarat Gas Ltd and Petronet LNG are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) is eyeing a stake in oil and gas blocks in the Russia's Arctic region. These blocks have recently been given out to US major ExxonMobil and Italian giant ENI for exploration. The Russian state oil company Roseneft has signed separate deals with ExxonMobil, ENI and Norway's Statoil for three multi-billion dollar projects in coastal seas north of Russia. As per these agreements, the foreign companies will hold about 33% stake in the joint project with Rosneft and pay for all of the initial exploration cost. OVL is in discussion with Roseneft and has suggested the option of giving it stake from the 67% holding in any of the three projects. In case Rosneft is not able to accommodate OVL in any of the three existing projects, OVL has expressed interest in one of the 12 other Arctic shelf fields that Russia plans to offer in the near future. For the future projects, OVL has proposed if Roseneft is unable to give 33% for lack of experience, it is ready to settle for an 8% interest. As per the current Russian law, Rosneft can offer 25% stake to any other foreign firm.
Telecom stocks have opened mixed with AGC Networks Ltd. and Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd leading the pack of gainers. However, ITI Ltd and Tata Communications are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, Bharti Airtel is once again planning to list its tower arm - Bharti Infratel. The purpose of listing is to raise funds for itself and to provide an exit option to Private Equity (PE) firms that had invested US$ 1.25 bn in the company five years back. As per the industry sources, Bharti Airtel has already started working on the draft red herring prospectus and expects to file it by August-end or September-beginning. It is expected to list December-end to raise Rs 40 - 45 bn, depending upon regulatory approval and market sentiments. The company is also considering the option of issuing its own shares to the public or institutional investors. It has a debt of US$ 12.7 bn on books and is looking for options to access funds. However, it is unlikely that both the floats will happen at the same time and the group may have to finalize on one company for raising funds.