The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened at the breakeven mark and have moved into the positive territory. Other key Asian markets are in the green with China (up 0.9%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed lower by 0.4% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with FMCG and power majors finding investors' favour. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 20 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 2 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.79 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include BPCL and HCPL. As per a leading business daily, ONGC, Oil India and Gail may make a joint bid to counter Vedanta Resources' US$ 8.5 bn offer for majority stake in Cairn India. They have already secured a US$ 10 bn in loan commitments from international banks for the bid. ONGC is the leader of the consortium with at least 50% share. OIL and Gail will each be 20-25% partners. This development is reportedly at the behest of the oil ministry, which is apparently uncomfortable with billionaire Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta Group acquiring the stake, as it does not have any experience in the oil industry. The question arises whether it makes sense for the state owned oil majors to spend money on an asset which is already located in India. They could instead use the funds for acquiring oil assets overseas which would add to India's energy security. Creating roadblocks for a change in Cairn India's ownership could also send the wrong signals to international investors about investing in oil and gas blocks in India.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a strong note. Gainers here include Eicher Motor and M&M. As per a leading business daily, M&M is interested in acquiring a majority stake in state-run Scooters India. Reportedly, the government plans to offer up to 74 per cent stake, out of its total 95% holding in the company. Scooters India sold two wheelers under the brands Vijai Super and Lambretta earlier but discontinued their production in 1997. M&M is looking at it to add to its three-wheeler portfolio. It has about 11% market share in the three-wheeler segment. Last year, it launched Gio, an upgraded version of its three-wheeler products with the intention of making inroads into the semi-urban market.