Most major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with markets in Malaysia (down 1.1%) and China (0.9%) leading the losses in the region. Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the metal and Auto space are leading the losses. However, healthcare stocks are trading firm.
The Sensex today is down by about 38 points (0.2%) while the NSE-Nifty is down by 14 points (0.3%). However, mid and small caps stocks are trading firm with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by 0.2% each. The Indian rupee is trading at Rs 55.47 to the US dollar.
PSU Bank stocks have opened the day on a weak note with United Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra and Vijaya Bank leading the losses. In a bid to boost weakening demand owing to the economic slowdown, India's third largest state-run lender Bank of Baroda has announced a 25 basis points (0.25%) cut in interest rates for home loans. This rate cut will apply on home loans across all categories and for new as well as existing borrowers. Last month, India's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) had announced a similar reduction in its retail offerings, including home and auto loans. Following SBI's rate cut initiative, other banks such as IDBI Bank, Dena Bank, Indian Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Corporation Bank have also lowered interest rates. It must be noted that unlike other banks, Bank of Baroda has extended the rate cuts to existing customers as well.
Oil & Gas stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) trading firm. However, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Cairn India are facing selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, the first phase of the Regassified Liquified Natural Gas (RLNG) distribution network has been completed by Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL). The 43-km pipeline network extends to from Petronet LNG's 5 million tonnes LNG Terminal at Puthuvypin to the main industrial centres in the city. GAIL has laid a 30-inch pipeline from Puthuvypin to Udyogamandal and an 18-inch pipeline from Udyogamandal to Ambalamugal. The laying of the pipeline is expected to benefit several companies like Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT), Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd (HOCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) among others. These companies can now receive RLNG distributed through pipelines and use it to reduce their costs. It must be noted that GAIL acquired land for laying the pipeline from the public and institutions like the Cochin Port Trust, International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Indian Navy, Kerala State Electricity Board, co-operative medical college Kalamassery, among others.