Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in China (up 0.8%), Taiwan (up 0.8%) and South Korea (up 0.8%) leading the gains in the region. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the capital goods and automobile space are leading the gains. However, healthcare and Oil and gas stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 64 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 29 points (0.6%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 55.42 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto and Ashok Leyland leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, India's leading passenger vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki is automating certain critical production functions in its manufacturing plants. This is set to bring its Manesar operations on par with its hi-tech plants in Japan. The company is planning 99% automation in the press shop. It must be noted here that steel sheets are molded into door frames which are then passed onto the weld shop to hinge them onto the vehicle's body. Maruti has two manufacturing plants in Manesar. The company has been progressively increasing automation at its plants in India. It has increased the number of robots used in its plants to around 1,500. Maruti plans to add another 50-100 new robots in the older plant at Manesar. This will increase automation from the current 90% level to 99%.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Reliance Industries, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) has signed a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supply agreement with Spain based Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF). As per the agreement, GNF will ensure a total supply of about 3 bcm (billion cubic meters) of LNG to GAIL over the period of next three years. GNF will begin supply of LNG from January 2013. Apart from this, both the companies have signed an industrial cooperation agreement in order to explore joint development of energy projects in India. Both the companies would collaborate opportunities in gas distribution, wholesale marketing and infrastructure in India as well as in projects abroad. Besides, in the coming years this agreement will enable GNF to establish a framework for co-operation with GAIL and leverage its expertise of operating in the energy markets of Spain, Latin America, etc, in the Indian LNG market.