The Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with markets in China (up 1.5%) and Hong Kong (up 0.4%) leading the gains in the region. However, markets in Japan (down 1.2%) and Taiwan (down 0.7%) have opened in red. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a firm note. Among the sectoral indices, stocks in the software and pharma sector are leading the gains while stocks in the metal and banking space are witnessing losses.
The Sensex today is up by around 31 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by 2 points (0.0%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with both BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.7% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 52.91 to the US dollar.
Barring Coal India Ltd. (CIL), mining stocks have opened the day on a positive note with Ashapura Minechem and Gujarat NRE Coke leading the pack of gainers. As per a leading financial daily, the Power Ministry has opposed the new pact proposed by Coal India Ltd. (CIL) to sign with power producers and has demanded certain modifications. However, it has not revealed the modifications that it seeks. The power minister has taken up the issue with Coal Ministry and is asking the latter to revise it. In the new pact, CIL is committing to meet minimum 80 % of the power firms' coal requirements, a part of which would be through imported coal. Failing of the minimum supply commitment, it will have to pay a small penalty. As per the pact, power companies will have to make advance payments for imported fuel and can't reject the coal once they place the order. As per the pact, power firms will also have to pay 2% service charge to Coal India. Also, imported coal's volume would be considered 1.5 times the volume of domestic coal due to imported coal having less waste or ash content than domestic coal. The new Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) excludes controversial force majeure clauses that exempt CIL from meeting its obligations in case of unforeseen circumstances. The power ministry has said that the FSA is not pragmatic and needs to be modified.
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with ITI Ltd and Himachal Futuristic leading the pack of gainers. However, AGC networks and Reliance Communications are witnessing losses. As per a leading financial daily, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has said that the upper limit of penalty for violation of licence conditions by telecom companies will be Rs 500 m (per service area in each case) in the new licensing regime. This is much higher than the limit of Rs 100 m recommended by Telecom Regulatory of India Ltd (TRAI). The DoT has also ignored TRAI's other recommendation to categorize violations into major and minor in its guidelines for unified licences that will be issued to new telecom companies. It has also not accepted TRAI's recommendation of three levels of unified licence and has only made provision for licences at telecom service area level. As per the new guidelines, the telecom companies whose licenses have been cancelled by the Supreme Court and new companies will have to pay onetime, non-refundable entry fee Rs 10 m for unified licenses for each of the 22 telecom service area. However, for Jammu and Kashmir and North East Service Areas, entry fee will be Rs 5 m each.