Indian indices are trading firm on buying interest in heavy weights during the last two hours of trade. Stocks from consumer durable and oil & gas space are trading firm while stocks from the auto and banking spaces are trading weak.
The BSE-Sensex is up 33 points while NSE-Nifty is trading 51 points above the dotted line. BSE-Midcap is trading up by 1.0% while BSE-Smallcap index trading 1.1% above yesterday’s closing. The rupee is trading at 45.02 to the US dollar.
Banking stocks are trading mixed with Vijaya Bank and UCO Bank trading firm and Axis Bank and ICICI Bank trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, state owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Kazakhstan-based JSC Dana Bank. PNB has paid about US$ 23.7 m (about Rs 1 bn) for the 63.64% stake. While this deal will be placed for ratification before the general body meeting of JSC Dana Bank tomorrow, this acquisition will allow PNB to get a toehold in CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.
Dana Bank has five branches with a total business size of US$ 60 m (around Rs 2.8 bn) and it plans to open two more branches in 2011. As per PNB, Kazakhstan has strategic importance for India due to growing economic cooperation between two countries. Several Indian oil & gas, pharmaceutical and engineering companies have set up offices here. As there are no other Indian banks in CIS countries, other than Russia, Kazakhstan can serve as a gateway for CIS countries for tapping India centric business.
Oil & gas stocks are trading strong led by Petronet LNG and Gujarat State Petronet. However, GAIL and ONGC are trading flat. The ministerial panel on petro pricing is expected to meet on 22 December 2010 in order to decide over the possibility of raising diesel prices in tune with the rising crude prices. There are indications that the panel may raise diesel prices by Rs 1.5-2 per litre. This is likely to cut the losses of state run oil marketers who are currently losing Rs 4.7 per litre by selling diesel at the government capped price and lift the investor sentiments prior to the follow on public offer of IOC. It may be noted that the ministerial panel had decontrolled petrol prices in June and raised diesel prices by Rs 2 per litre with a caveat that they too will be eventually freed. However, as majority of the cross-border HCV transportation in India happens on diesel, freeing up of diesel prices is a politically sensitive issue and hence the deregulation process could be fraught with bureaucratic delays.