Asian markets have opened on a positive note today. Benchmark indices of Hong Kong (up 0.7%), Japan (up 0.4%), and China (up 0.1%) are leading the gainers' pack. The US markets closed 0.2% up yesterday. As for the Indian markets, these have also opened marginally in the positive. Metal and energy stocks are witnessing buying interest. Auto stocks are however trading with some losses.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 50 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up about 15 points (0.2%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading with gains, with the BSE Midcap
and BSE Smallcap indices up by 0.4% apiece. The rupee is trading at 44.98 to the US dollar.
That both India and China are hunting around the world for oil and gas assets is no news. But what now comes as a surprise is that China is looking into the Indian territory for such assets. As reported by a leading business daily, China's largest public sector energy firm CNPC has approached ONGC to forge a partnership to access India's oil and gas assets together. India already allows 100% foreign direct investment in the oil and gas business. But the Chinese proposal is still being seen with caution. This move from China comes after the country's prime minister's last month visit to India to forge better economic ties between the two fast-growing nations. As per reports, CNPC is eyeing opportunities not only in the oil & gas exploration & production, but is also looking at the Indian engineering and oil-field service space. The company already works in collaboration with ONGC's foreign subsidiary ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL). But the idea of this direct relationship with the Indian parent is new, and interesting. Anyways, energy stocks have opened with gains today. IGL, HPCL, and IOC are leading the pack.
Auto stocks are seeing mixed interest as of now. While gains are seen in TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto, selling pressure marks trading in M&M and Tata Motors. As per reports, utility vehicle major M&M is looking to raise its product prices to counter the pressure from higher input costs. Commodity prices have been on a rise of late. And this has put pressure on Indian auto companies. This is given that commodities like rubber, steel and aluminium form a major portion (almost 60%) of a vehicle's total cost. M&M is planning to raise prices in January, and is currently in the process of finalizing the level of hike. M&M's plans follow a similar move from its peer Tata Motors, which is looking to raise its product prices by around 1.5%. MNC manufacturers like Volkswagen, GM, and Hyundai Motors are also set to raise or have already raised their prices. Now it remains to be seen how the Indian consumer, already burdened by inflation across essential items like food, will react to inflation in discretionary items like automobiles.