Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in South Korea (down 0.5%), Taiwan (down 0.4%) and China (down 0.3%) leading the losses in the region. However, markets in Malaysia (up 0.3%) and Singapore (up 0.2%) are trading firm. The Indian share market indices have opened the day in the green. Stocks in the power and capital goods space are leading the gains. However, IT and Oil and gas stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 42 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 15 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% and 0.6% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 53.54 to the US dollar.
PSU bank stocks have opened the day on a strong note with Union Bank, Punjab National Bank (PNB), Bank of India and Indian Bank leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, the country's biggest lender State Bank of India (SBI) currently has excess funds worth Rs 800 bn. The size of the fund is almost equivalent to what all banks put together borrow from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In the previous week, SBI had cut the base rate from 10% to 9.75%. The huge cash position gives the state-run lender further room to lower interest rates. While the bank's deposits have been growing at a healthy pace, the demand for loans has been muted. During the first five months of the current financial year 2012-13, while deposits grew by 8% year-on-year, advances rose by just 4% YoY. The RBI estimates deposits to grow by 16% YoY and loans to grow by 17% YoY during FY13.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Hero MotoCorp leading the pack of gainers. The slowdown in the economy and rise in fuel costs has dented the demand for cars. In a bid to boost sagging demand, several carmakers had announced discounts. However, India's largest passenger vehicle maker, Maruti Suzuki, has said that it plans to raise prices of its vehicles within a week. Adverse foreign exchange fluctuations and escalating input costs have been the main reason behind the company's decision. It is said that Honda is also planning a price hike from October 1, 2012. It is worth noting that these companies are already offering significant discounts. For instance, Maruti's car models such as Alto, WagonR, A-Star and Estilo already offer discounts and incentives to the tune of Rs 30,000-35,000 on the petrol versions.