The major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in South Korea (down 0.4%) and China (down 1.7%) leading the losses. However, the stock markets in Indonesia (up 0.5%) and Hong Kong (up 0.1%) were leading the gains. The Indian share markets indices have opened the day on a firm note. Barring oil and gas and PSU, all sectoral indices have opened in the green with the stocks in the capital goods and healthcare space leading the gains.
The Sensex today is up by around 63 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 25 points (0.4%). Mid and small cap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.8% each. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 62.33 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day mainly in the red with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Gujarat High Court has directed Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) to pay dues worth over Rs 100 bn to the state government towards differences in royalty of crude it has extracted since 2008. As per the Schedule of the Oilfields (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948, ONGC is bound to pay to the state government 20% royalty of the market value of crude oil it extracts from oil blocks. Gujarat has 66 such blocks. As per the case details, prior to 2004, Gujarat Government was satisfied with the royalty payments. However, the situation changed from 2004, when the Centre asked ONGC to provide crude to Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and other PSUs, which were incurring losses due to offering subsidies on end products at a discounted rate. This discount remained at 70-75%. Since then, ONGC has been paying royalty on the post-discount rate instead of the market value of the crude. This has led to huge decline in royalty to Gujarat. Finally, the matter was taken to high court in 2011, when the difference was computed to Rs 60 bn. A division bench has accepted the state government's demand and directed ONGC to make payment of the differences within two months. The court has also asked ONGC to pay royalty at pre-discount rate from now on.
Majority of the automobile stocks are trading in the red with Escorts and TVS Motors being the biggest losers. Eicher Motors and Ashok Leyland are among the few stocks trading in the green. As per a leading financial daily, Tata Motors is stepping up plans to increase its presence in the petrol segment. Reportedly, the company will launch the first engine in 2014 and has plans to launch a hatchback and a sedan fitted with the new engine. The engine would be 1.2 litre, turbo-charged engine with 20-25% more torque, less friction and a better overall configuration. Presently, Tata Motors is a major player in diesel vehicles with petrol vehicles accounting for only 5% of its overall portfolio. But with the government contemplating deregulation of diesel prices, the operational cost difference between petrol and diesel cars is expected to come down. This is expected to further boost the popularity and demand for petrol cars, going ahead. Tata Motors stock is currently up by 0.4%.