The Indian markets have started on a strong note as the benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark on the back of strong Asian cues triggered by industrial output data from China. They have managed to retain their gains since then. Asia is currently trading in the green with Hong Kong (up 1.6%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 0.7% yesterday.
Currently, in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading in the green with metal, telecom and auto stocks leading the pack of gainers. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 118 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by 34 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small-cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.8% each. The rupee is trading at 46.57 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Gainers here include Indraprastha Gas and Chennai Petro, while HPCL is in the red. As per a leading business daily, exploration and production major ONGC plans to create independent subsidiaries for the oil services business. The subsidiaries will help tap the growing market of drilling, construction and logistics services consumed by oil companies. ONGC also plans to invite global oil majors to partner in the subsidiaries. The plan needs approval from the company's board and the oil ministry. In our view, this is a positive development given the likely demand from participants in the auction of oil and gas fields in India under the New Exploration Licensing Policy. Many of these participants do not possess expertise for exploration and production which presents a business opportunity for ONGC's oil services arms.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a positive noted. Gainers here include Bajaj Auto and M&M. As per a leading business daily, the new Volkswagen-Suzuki alliance plans to introduce a new small car in India in the Rs 200,000 to Rs 250,000 range. This would replace the Alto when Maruti Suzuki, the Indian arm of Suzuki, retires the model. The alliance is also considering using Maruti Suzuki's plants to manufacture Volkswagen cars for European markets. This alliance could also pose a challenge to diesel cars Indica Vista and Indigo from Tata Motors as Suzuki can access diesel technology from Volkswagen. In our view, the new alliance has been made with India firmly in mind, given that Maruti Suzuki contributed 80% of the profits of Suzuki Motor in 1HFY10.