The major Asian stock markets have opened on a firm note with stock markets in Indonesia (up 1.4%) and Japan (up 2.6%) leading the gains. However, the Indian stock markets indices have opened the day on in the red. The sectoral indices have opened on a mixed note with stocks in the auto and capital goods sector leading the gains. However, the stocks in the FMCG and healthcare space were leading the losses.
The Sensex today is down by around 30 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 5 points (0.1%). Midcap and small cap stocks have however opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 64.68 to the US dollar.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Reliance Comunications Ltd and ADC India Communications Ltd leading the losses. However, AGC Networks and ITI Ltd have opened in the green. As per a leading financial daily, Bharti Airtel is planning to sell off its Sri Lankan operations to Abu Dhabi's Etisalat. The latter is the third largest operator in Sri Lanka with 4.5 million subscribers. As per a leading daily Bharti Airtel Lanka has a subscriber base of 1.7 million and has been valued between US$110 m and US$130 m. As of now, no official comments have been received regarding the development. It is important to note here that Bharti Airtel had entered Sri Lanka in 2009 as country's fifth operator. However, despite heavy investments, its subscribers have not grown in the past four quarters.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a mainly in the green with Tayo Rolls Ltd and Tata Sponge Ltd leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Afghanistan has said that it does not have any objections against Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) led US$ 10.8 bn iron ore and steel plant project. The project will be developed in phases by SAIL led consortium - the Afghan Iron and Steel Consortium (AIFSCO). It consists of SAIL, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) and NMDC Ltd and holds a combined stake of 56 %. The rest is held by private players. Earlier, the steel plant was to have a capacity of 6.1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). It was to be developed in two equal phases along with an 800 MW power plant. However, later AIFSCO scaled down its plans and decided to invest US$ 2.9 bn to set up a steel plant of 1.25 mtpa and a 120 MW captive power plant. Eventually, the investment will range between US$ 10 bn to US$ 11 bn. The project will be carried out in phases based on negotiations and is expected to have a capacity of 7 mtpa.