The Sensex today is down by around 144 points (0.7%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 61 points (1.0%). The midcap stocks and small cap stocks have also opened in the red with the BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap cap index down by around 0.5% and 0.2% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 62.93 to the US dollar.
Telecom stocks have opened the day mainly in the red with Tata Teleservices Ltd and AGC Networks leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering swapping of spectrum with defence ministry. DoT will be swapping defence ministry's 15 MHz of 2,100-MHz 3G spectrum with a similar quantity of 1,900-MHz spectrum currently allocated for the future growth of evolution video and data only (EVDO) services. The deal if happens is expected to be a bonanza for the mobile operators whose plans to offer pan-Indian 3G services was disturbed as the government barred them from getting into intra-circle roaming pacts with other companies. Besides, it will help the government earn more in revenues from spectrum auction and help it with the fiscal deficit problem. As per the industry estimates, the swap is likely to bring over Rs 250 bn to the government exchequer. As per the Cellular Operators Association's Director-General Mr. Rajan Mathew, the swap deal is a win-win proposition for everyone.
Oil and gas stocks have opened the day mainly in the red with Essar Oil Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) leading the losses. However, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) have opened firm. As per a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd is likely to face some trouble as US-based ConocoPhillips is rethinking giving technology and equity support to the ONGC's deepwater resources. It is important to note here that ConocoPhillips is ONGC's key partner in its ambitious exploration and production (E&P) projects. ConcoPhillips support is critical for ONGC's KG block for which the latter has lined up plans to invest US$9 bn by 2030. The possible reasons for the backtracking are likely to be huge investments in such projects, controversy regarding Reliance Industries' KG D6 block and uncertainty regarding gas pricing. ONGC has been in talks with Shell to sell stakes in KG block but hasn't got any firm commitment yet. As per ONGC's management, Shell is likely to provide it technology backup and consultancy for 98/2 (KG-DWN-98/2 block) in case it does not buy a stake.