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Power stocks drive gains
Thu, 18 Nov 09:30 am

sian markets have opened today on a mixed note. While Hong Kong and China are trading in the positive, Korean and Indonesian markets are in the red. Weighed by the pressure of the Irish debt and Chinese inflation numbers, these markets are however trading in a very narrow range. The Indian markets have opened in the positive. Stocks from power and engineering sectors are leading the gains currently.

The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 60 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is higher by about 25 points (0.4%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the positive as well, with the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices up by 0.8% and 0.9% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.03 to the US dollar.

India's inflation figures have come down marginally to 8.58% from last month's figure of 8.62%. As per the Finance Minister, the cause of inflation is due to a combined effect of demand push as well as due to pressures on the supply front. While the RBI's recent hike in interest rates has helped to reign in the inflation to some extent, the pressures from the supply side continue to keep it at higher levels.

Axis Bank has signed a deal to buy a stake in the broking and investment banking unit of Enam Securities. A leading daily has reported that Axis Bank is set to initially acquire 49% stake in Enam for Rs 21 bn. Through the merger, Enam will become a 100% subsidiary of Axis Bank. The bank had earlier revamped its capital market division by dividing it into two major departments including investment banking and loan syndication. The deal will help the bank in expanding its footprint in the investment banking business. The stock of Axis Bank is currently the top gainer amongst the banks. Peers HDFC Bank and SBI are also trading in the green while ICICI Bank is currently witnessing selling pressure.

Metal stocks have opened the day in the positive. Currently Sterlite Industries and Tata Steel are leading the gainers' pack. Aluminium major Hindalco is planning to raise US$ 4 bn through its unit Novelis. The funds will be used to refinance the debt that Hindalco had taken for the acquisition of Novelis in 2007. Proceeds of US$ 3.5 bn will be used to refinance the debt while the balance will be used to finance the working capital requirements of Novelis. Hindalco currently has a debt of US$ 1.4 bn. However, it had given corporate guarantees for Novelis, which have now been transferred to the balance sheet of the latter. The latter has total debt of US$ 2.5 bn. The refinancing of the debt is expected to help Hindalco focus on its own expansion. The company had earlier stated that it plans to invest US$ 300 m towards a brown-field expansion of its unit in Brazil.

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