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Indian share markets open firm
Fri, 20 Dec 09:30 am

Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with Indonesia (down 1%) and China (down 0.6%) leading the losses. However, markets in Taiwan (up 0.3%) and Singapore (up 0.2%) are trading firm. The Indian share market indices have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks in the oil & gas and information technology space are leading the gains. However, FMCG stocks are trading weak.

The Sensex today is up by around 67 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 18 point (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.5% each. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 62.14 to the US dollar.

Banking stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Oriental Bank of Commerce and Andhra Bank leading the gains. Following the Reserve Bank of India's decision to not change key interest rates in its mid-quarter monetary policy review meet, leading housing financiers State Bank of India (SBI) and Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) have announced a reduction in home loan interest rate with effect from December 20, 2013. Until yesterday, leading PSU bank SBI was charging 10.30% for home loans up to Rs 30 lakh and 10.50% for home loans above Rs 30 lakh. Starting today, the bank has lowered interest rates for home loans up to Rs 75 lakh to 10.15%. On the other hand, HDFC which was charging 10.5% for home loans up to Rs 30 lakh and 10.75% for home loan between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 75 lakh, has now lowered the interest rate to 10.25% for loans up to Rs 75 lakh. However, the housing financier has said that these rates would be applicable for applications made up to January 31, 2014. Moreover, the first disbursement would have to be availed by before February 28, 2014.

Power stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Jaiprakash Power and NHPC Ltd leading the gains. However, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) are trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, state-run power producer NTPC started filling up the reservoir of its first hydro power project on Thursday. The 163-metre reservoir of this 800 Megawatt (Mw) power project in Koldam, Himachal Pradesh is expected to be filled over the next 11 months. As such, the commissioning of the project is likely to be around the latter part of financial year 2014-15 (FY15). It must be noted that this power project has four units of 200 Mw each. It will provide peaking capacity to the Northern Grid and generate 3,054-Gw-hour electricity annually.

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