At the end of a weak trading session today the Indian indices closed well below the dotted line backed by negative global cues. However, the Sensex came off its mid-session lows, wherein it plunged over 500 points. While BSE Sensex closed lower by around 266 points (down 1.3%), Nifty was down around 84 points (1.4%). Mid and small caps both faced selling pressure as the BSE-Midcap Index and the BSE-Smallcap indices were down 1% and 1.7% respectively.
All major indices closed in the red today, with the realty index facing the maximum selling pressure (down 3.3%). Most Asian markets closed in the red today, (except Japan), on news of growing tension between North and South Korea. Europe is also trading weak currently. The rupee was placed at Rs 45.60 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Hindustan Petroleum Corp and its partners plan to divest 40% of their stake in a gas-bearing block in offshore Australia to Apache Corp., based in the US. HPCL, Bharat PetroResources Ltd (a unit of BPCL, Gujarat State Petroleum Corp and Videocon Industries each have 14% interest in the block. Post divestment, their stakes will reduce to 8.4% each. South African energy firm Sasol and Australia's Oilex Ltd also hold stake in the company. Apache will take on the operations of the oil block and will bear all exploration costs. HPCL and its partners will not have to bear any expense on the drilling or testing of the well.
Electric cars are expected to become a lot cheaper soon. The Ministry of New and Renewable energy (MNRE) recently announced a 20% financial incentive on the ex-factory price of electric cars and scooters sold in the country. This will help boost demand for these eco-friendly cars. The incentive is set to a limit of Rs 4,000-5,000 for electric 2-wheelers and Rs 100,000 for electric cars. The Reva electric car - manufactured by Mahindra & Mahindra is expected to see benefits of this incentive scheme, as it is the only Indian player in the market. Hero Electric is the market leader in the electric 2-wheeler segment. There are 400,000 electric 2-wheelers currently on Indian roads, with around 85,000 units being added every year.
The subsidy on these cars will be applicable till 2011-12. Post this it will be merged with the National Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy, which is currently in the works. Across the world, countries have been offering incentives for the adoption of electric vehicles. In countries like China these government schemes led to a massive growth of electric vehicle sales.