Most of the Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in China (down 0.3%), Hong Kong (down 0.3%) and Japan (down 0.1%) leading the losses in the region. However, the stock markets in Singapore (up 0.1%) and Taiwan (up 0.1%) have opened in the green. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a negative note. The sectoral indices are trading mixed with stocks in the realty and oil and gas space leading the gains. However, software and FMCG stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is down by around 28 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 6 points (0.1%). However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green with the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices up by around 0.2% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 55.44 to the US dollar.
Oil & gas stocks have opened the day mainly in green with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd's (ONGC) plans to acquire US$ 5 bn worth of oil sands assets in Alberta, owned by energy major ConocoPhillips, has hit a roadblock . This is because of its investments in Iran and Sudan, countries that are facing tough economic sanctions imposed by the US. ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas arm of the state-owned ONGC, had almost finalised the deal to acquire half-a-dozen oil sands assets in Canada. These assets produce 12,000 barrels of oil per day from an estimated 30 billion barrels of bitumen. In case US implements a law that calls for sanctions on any firm with investments of over US$20 m in Iran's energy sector in any given year, ONGC's entire US$ 5 bn investment could be forfeited for acquiring assets in US and Canada . OVL has so far invested US$ 88 m in Farsi block in Iranian Persian Gulf and has also discovered a giant Farzad-B gas field there.
Auto stocks have opened mixed with Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors leading the pack of gainers. However, TVS Motors and Tube Investments have opened weak. A year after separating from joint venture partner Honda, leading Indian two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp has made its foray into the international market. The company has launched about a dozen bikes in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Hero has entered into a partnership with ABANS to market and retail its two-wheelers. ABANS will be the sole distributor of Hero's products in Sri Lanka. The two-wheelers will be sold through over 50 outlets. Moreover, the number of outlets is expected to double over the next one year. It must be noted that ABANS is one of the biggest and diversified business groups of Sri Lanka.