Barring Malaysia (down 0.2%) and South Korea (down 0.1%), most other major Asian equity markets have opened the day on a firm note with the markets in Japan (up 0.6%), Indonesia and China (up 0.5%) leading the gains. The Indian share markets have also opened the day on a positive note. Barring healthcare and auto indices, most sectoral indices have opened on a firm note with realty and capital goods indices leading the gains.
Barring stocks such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Coal India Ltd (CIL), Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), most other PSU stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Punjab and Sind Bank and Bharat Electronics leading with significant gains. As per a leading financial daily, the government has paved the way for the divestment programme that it had announced in the Union Budget. Yesterday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared stake sales for Coal India, ONGC and hydropower utility NHPC. At the current stock price levels, disinvestment in these companies is expected to meet budget target of Rs 434.25 bn. CCEA has cleared a 5% stake sale in ONGC in which the government currently holds 68.94% stake. This is likely to fetch over Rs 190 bn at current price levels. A 5% stake sale in steel maker SAIL is expected to fetch Rs 17 bn. CCEA has cleared a 10% stake sale in Coal India in which the government currently holds 90% stake. This could fetch the government close to Rs 240 bn at current prices. The proposed 11.36% stake sale in NHPC is expected to fetch over Rs 30 bn. In addition, the government also plans to divest 5% stake each in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).
Investment and Finance sector stocks have mainly opened the day in the green with Prime Securities and IDFC Ltd leading the gains. As per leading financial daily, non-banking lender Bajaj Finance has announced that its board of directors has granted approval to launch a dedicated housing finance subsidiary that will be wholly-owned by the company. As the next step, the company will now be applying to the sector regulator National Housing Board (NHB) for a licence. Before the company applies for the licence, it will require a capital of Rs 100 million. The same will be arranged through internal accruals. Usually, it takes about 6-9 months to receive the licence. The housing finance arm will become operational thereafter.