After opening the day on a weak note and gaining some momentum later on, the Indian benchmark indices are currently trading on a negative note. Sectoral indices are trading mixed with stocks from the telecom, banking and auto sectors leading the losses.
The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by 87 points (0.3%) and the NSE-Nifty is trading down by 13 points (0.2%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading marginally up by 0.2% while the BSE Small Cap is trading up by 0.5%. Gold prices, per 10 grams, are trading at Rs 26,763 levels. Silver price, per kilogram, is trading at Rs 34,366 levels. Crude oil has gained around 1% and is trading at Rs 2,632 per barrel. The rupee is trading at 66.25 to the US dollar.
Mining stocks are trading on a mixed note with Vedanta Ltd and Ashapura Minechem witnessing maximum buying interest. As per a leading financial daily, the government is planning to auction about 20 major iron ore mines in this fiscal. The same is planned in order to revive mining industry. With this, it is anticipated that India will be closer to its target of tripling the steel capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2025. However, the same will unlikely lead to an immediate boost in iron ore output at a time when there is a global glut. Most of the iron ore mines being sold are in the southern state of Karnataka, known for its high-quality ore. This will greatly benefit local steelmakers like JSW Steel.
Stocks in the energy sector are also trading mixed with Gujarat Gas leading the losses and Cairn India leading the gainers. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has sought a one year extension of exploration license for a Vietnam Oil block. This is recorded as the third extension application for exploration license of Block 128 situated in the waters of the South China Sea. The move is carried out in order to maintain India's strategic interest in the South China Sea over which China claims sovereignty. At present, OVL continues to own 45% of Vietnam's offshore block. Stock of ONGC is currently trading positively; up by 1.4%.