Barring South Korea (up 0.3%) and Taiwan (up 0.1%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in China (down 1.5%), Malaysia (down 0.6%) and Hong Kong (down 0.6%) leading the losses in the region. The Indian share markets have opened the day with marginal gains. Stocks in the healthcare and IT space are leading the gains. However, auto and oil and gas stocks are trading weak.
The Sensex today is up by around 17 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 4 points (0.1%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.65 to the US dollar.
Aluminium stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Hindalco Industries and Sterlite Industries leading the losses. However, National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) is trading in the green. As per a leading financial daily, the government is planning to raise an amount of about Rs 14 bn by divesting 12.15% stake in state-run aluminium firm Nalco. Over the last couple of years, the government has been struggling to meet its divestment target but poor market conditions have put several stake sale plans on the backburner. Against a divestment target of Rs 300 bn for the fiscal year 2012-13, the government has so far managed to raise a meagre sum of just Rs 1.25 bn. It must be noted that last month the divestment of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) was cancelled after the steel ministry felt that the issue price recommended by merchant bankers was too low. Unlike RINL, Nalco is already a listed company hence its pricing would be benchmarked to its stock price and not its book value. As per the daily, the panel is likely to meet on the coming Wednesday to decide the floor price for the proposed divestment. Nalco's issue is likely to be priced at a discount of about 10% from Wednesday's stock price. It is said that through this stake sale, the government wants to gauge the appetite for PSU (public sector undertaking) shares. If this divestment program is successful, it would be followed up by big-ticket divestments of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) this year and Oil India early next year.
Engineering stocks have also opened the day on a mixed note with Voltas, Elgi Equipments and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) trading in the red. However, Lakshmi Machine Works and AIA Engineering are trading firm. As per a leading financial daily, engineering firm Crompton Greaves has cut down its growth guidance for the financial year 2012-13 (FY13). As per the company, the slowdown in its international business, mainly the sluggishness in its European subsidiaries, is the chief reason for the lower growth expectations. Against an earlier target of 12-14%, the company has lowered its revenue growth guidance to 8-9% for FY13. It has also cautioned of additional cost pressures in the coming quarters on account of its business restructuring exercise. As such, it has cut down its operating margin forecast from 8-9% to 5% for the fiscal. During the quarter ended September 2012 (2QFY13), the company total income stood at Rs 29,449 m, higher by about 8% year-on-year (YoY). However, net profits dipped by 63% YoY to Rs 420.5 m due to losses in international subsidiaries.