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Indian share markets open firm
Wed, 18 Dec 09:30 am

Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with Malaysia (down 0.1%) and China (down 0.04%) leading the losses. However, markets in Japan (up 1.6%) and Hong Kong (up 0.6%) are trading firm. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the power, healthcare and capital goods space are leading the gains. However, banking stocks are trading weak.

The Sensex today is up by around 67 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 19 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 0.6% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 61.88 to the US dollar.

Mining stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Ashapura Minechem and Moil Ltd leading the losses. However, MMTC Ltd and National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) are trading firm. As per a leading financial daily, state-run coal mining giant Coal India Ltd's (CIL) subsidiary Western Coalfields has hiked prices for nearly all categories of coal by 10%. This will increase the cost of power in several states which in turn will result in higher power tariffs. As such, the electricity bills of consumers in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat are likely to increase. In addition, the higher coal cost is also expected to impact cement and sponge iron units in Maharashtra. It is worth noting that Western Coalfields accounts for about 10% of CIL's total coal production.

Energy stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Gas Authority of Indian Ltd (GAIL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Petronet LNG is planning to expand the capacity of its Dahej liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Gujarat. The terminal currently has annual capacity of 10 million tonne. Post expansion, the terminal's capacity is set to increase to 15 million tonnes per annum by the end of 2016. The estimated cost for the project is about Rs 29.5 bn. For this project, Petronet will take loan of US$ 150 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The expanded terminal will help India to move toward its target of greater natural gas use, thereby enhancing its energy security and shifting to cleaner forms of energy. The increased capacity will help in fulfilling the unmet energy demand in the country.

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