The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened below the breakeven mark but soon moved into the positive territory. Other key Asian markets are in the red with China (down 1.5%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets ended higher by 0.4% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with banking majors attracting investors' interest. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 35 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 5 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.39 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks have opened the day on a strong note. Gainers here include Central Bank and SBI. As per a leading business daily, SBI and ICICI Bank are looking to outsource ATM management. The deals are expected to be in the range of Rs 45 bn and Rs 10 bn respectively. The banking giants are taking cue from smaller banks who have avoided the hassle of running their ATM networks by outsourcing managed services to third-party vendors. In fact, SBI has recently invited bids to manage its 20,000 ATMs and the 5,000 ATMs it plans to open in FY11. It has asked interested parties to quote a price per ATM per annum for a period of three years. ICICI is also looking to outsource the management of its 5,600 ATMs. Interestingly, Axis Bank has gone a step further and has outsourced the responsibility of setting up new ATMs, apart from managing them. It may be noted that setting up and managing ATMs has become a costly affair for banks after the RBI asked them to stop charging customers for cash withdrawals.
Steel stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Bhushan Steel and Tata Steel. As per a leading business daily, the Indian steel industry will increase its capacity by 32% next year. This will cost about Rs 720 bn. Given the land acquisition woes, most of this capacity addition will come from expansion of existing facilities. Most of the addition will be in flat steel, used in automobiles and white goods, while long products used in construction will account for about 30%. The highest capacity addition will be by Essar Steel at 5 m tonnes (MT), followed by Tata Steel, JSW Steel and RINL (3 MT each). It may be noted that the addition may be far short of the steel ministry's projections of 124 MT by FY12, but at least it is not going to be hit by land acquisition woes or lack of financial closure.