Sensex cracks 387 as Japan falls; SBI, L&T lead losers

Equity benchmarks plunged Thursday, as ripples of the crash in Japanese shares were felt across globe, with India being no exception. The mood was further soured by the weakness in the rupee and disappointing fourth quarter numbers from State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender.

The 30-share Sensex fell 387.91 points or 2 percent to close at 19674.33, after touching a low of 19634 intra-day. The 50-share Nifty fell points to close at 5967.05, down 127.45 points.

Realty, power, capital goods, and banking were among the worst performers, while most pharmaceutical and FMCG shares benefitted from defensive buying.

Among frontline shares, Reliance Infra, Ranbaxy Labs, Jaiprakash Associates, SBI and DLF were the big losers, falling 7-10 percent. (Also Read - State Bank of India Q4 net falls 19%; provisions drag )

The downturn was broad-based with midcaps and small caps too taking a beating.

Wockhardt shares plunged 20 percent after the US FDA raised a red flag about the company's export plant at Aurangabad.

Unitech, Crompton Greaves, Delta Corp, Dish TV and HDIL were the big losers among midcaps, falling 6-11 percent.

The sell-off began in Japan, where stocks fell 7 percent on data pointing to further weakness in China, its largest export market.

And while US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke Wednesday said the monetary stimulus would continue for while, investors were worried by his remarks on a possible reduction in the USD 85 billion monthly bond purchases, if the economy appeared to be recovering.

A tightening in US monetary policy could affect global liquidity, investors fear.

The rupee fell to an eight-and-a-half month low of 56.07 to the dollar Thursday, despite robust foreign capital flows over the last month. Foreign funds have been net buyers in every trading session April 16 this year, and have ploughed in close to Rs 23,000 crore over the last one month.

The fear now is that a weakness in the rupee could prompt some of the foreign investors to book profits to minimize possible losses from currency swings.

Experts feel the downtrend could intensify if foreign fund flows slow down. That is because the recent rally was purely a liquidity-driven one, not supported by any improvement in macroeconomic fundamentals and corporate earnings.

Interest rate sensitive stocks had been among the biggest gainers, on hopes that the Reserve Bank of India may further cut benchmark interest rates.

These stocks were also among the biggest losers when the mood changed.

" Rate cut could come, but rate cut has to really surprise the market by its quantum. About 25 bps cut is already factored in the prices," said UR Bhat of Dalton Capital.

03:45pm Country's largest lender State Bank of India fell the most amongst main frontliners, losing 8 percent after weak fourth quarter earnings .

Realty stocks hit quite badly, with the index falling 6 percent followed by Capital Goods that lost 5.2 percent.

Direct-to-home services provider Dish TV dropped more than 5 percent, after its fourth quarter operating profit margin declined 580 bps year-on-year to 21.6 percent. The company continued to report losses at Rs 43.6 crore as against loss of Rs 49 crore Y-o-Y.

03:30pm Indian shares dropped two percent Thursday on selling across sectors, tracking weakness in global peers after weak manufacturing survey from China and Ben Bernanke remarks.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average was the biggest loser, losing 7.3 percent at close followed by Hang Seng with 2.5 percent fall.

The Sensex was down 371.86 points or 1.85% to close at 19,690.38, after hitting an intraday high of 19,634.79. The Nifty fell 127.45 points or 2.09% at 5967.05.

The Indian rupee was trading off day's low at 55.73, down 27 paise. It dropped below the 56 level for the first time since September 2012.

03:25pm Market breadth improves due to short covering towards closing of trade. Five shares declined for every one share advancing.

03:20pm The BSE Sensex showed a bit of recovery from day's low, losing 370 points to 19,693. Reliance Industries, Larsen & Toubro, ITC and ICICI Bank helped the market recover.

HDFC and Tata Motors outperformed the market, rising 0.3 percent each.

03:15pm Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group stocks are under pressure, losing between 3-10 percent.

State-owned BHEL trimmed losses a bit after better than expected margins in fourth quarter. Operating profit margin came in at 24.2 percent as against expecations of 22.2 percent.

03:10pm Wockhardt is locked at 20 percent lower circuit at Rs 1,315.25.

Among midcaps, Unitech, HDIL, GMR Infrastructure, NCC, Novartis India, JK Paper and IVRCL are down 5-11 percent.

03:00pm Equity benchmarks extended losses in last one hour of trade, tracking weak European markets. France's CAC, Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE are down between 2 percent and 2.6 percent after a sharp fall in Asian equities - especially Japan's Nikkei that fell 7.3 percent at close

The BSE Sensex is down 397.70 points or 1.98% to 19664.54, and the Nifty down 129.15 points or 2.12% at 5965.35.

3:00 pm: Nifty stays below 6000, and after a few unsuccessful attempts to cross that psychological mark. Only six Nifty stocks in the positive, that too with mnegligible gains.

2:55 pm: L&T shares second biggest loser in Nifty, down 5.5 percent on disappointment over the company's fourth quarter numbers announced Wednesday.

"The company has guided for 15-17% sales growth for FY14 which appears achievable; however, margins are likely to witness further 28 basis point-compression vs. guidance of flattish margins in FY14," brokerage house Credit Suisse said in a note to clients today, while maintaining its 'neutral' rating.

2:47 pm: Dish TV joins the rank of companies that have reported disappointing fourth quarter numbers. The stock was under pressure right from start and is now down around 6 percent at Rs 63.85. Net loss for the March quarter at Rs 43.6 crore compared to Rs 49 crore last year. Operating profit margin at 21.6 percent compared to 27.4 percent.

2:45 pm: The big worry right now is that the rush of foreign fund flow may suddenly reverse. Foreign funds have been net buyers in every trading session April 16 this year, and have ploughed in close to Rs 23,000 crore since then. This despite there being no material improvement in the macro environment or corporate earnings.

2:38 pm Market check: The Sensex is down 401.68 points at 19660.56, and the Nifty falls 128.10 pointsto be at 5966.40.

2:30 pm Currency view: The government will be comfortable with a stable rupee exchange rate and there was no reason for the currency to be unstable, C Rangarajan, chief economic adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , said on Thursday.

The rupee fell to its lowest in over 8-1/2 months on Thursday, heading for a fifth consecutive session of falls, as the dollar rallied at the prospect the Federal Reserve might scale back its stimulus programme this year.

2:22 pm: Wockhardt was quoting at Rs 1,315.25, down Rs 328.80, or 20.00 percent.

2:15 pm Earnings watch: JSW Steel has reported a growth of 15 percent and 14 percent in volume of production and sales respectively.

Here is a closer look:
Standalone PAT at Rs 573 crore vs Rs 752.2 crore (YoY)
Standalone net sales at Rs 9,248 crore Vs Rs 9,511.2 crore (YoY)
Forex gain at Rs 129.9 crore
Total sales at 2.43 mt vs 2.31 mt (YoY)
EBITDA margin at 17.9% vs 17%

Udayan tells you why the fall: Liquidity fear of past 24 hours here to stay

The market continued to reel under selling pressure as the Nifty was still below 6000. The Nifty lost 115.65 points to be at 5978.85 while the Sensex fell 354.63 to 19707.61.

Real estate, infrastructure and capital goods saw sharp losses.

SBI (down 7.54 percent), L&T (down 6.43 percent), BHEL (down 5.19 percent), Bharti Airtel (down 3.62 percent) and  Jindal Steel (3.4 percent) were major losers in the Sensex.

In the Asian market Nikkei saw biggest one-day percentage fall in 2 years, down 10 percent from intra-day highs. Japanese yields too spike up and European markets open with sharp losses, down 2 percent each.

02:05 pm Blue-chip stocks like HDIL, Unitech and Delta Corp were down over 7 percent each.

02:00 pm Only 3 stocks in the Nifty 50- UltraTech Cement, ONGC and HDFC were trading in green.

Shares of capital goods, realty, power and banks were hammered by bears. All BSE sectoral indices were trading in red.

01:49 pm BSE Sensex extends its fall further and was down 350 points led by heavy selling in index heavyweights like SBI, L&T, BHEL, Bharti Airtel and Jindal Steel.

01:44pm Shares of L&T, SBI and Wockhardt were down over 6 percent on heavy volumes. L&T has now lost over 12 percent in two sessions post dismal results. The investors have shunned the stock despite the company tried to soothe investors by announcing bonus.

01:39 pm Infra stocks in focus

The cabinet committee on investment will meet today which will discuss the proposal of giving equity exit to companies from road projects in three years, reports Cogencis sources.

01:30pm Indian rupee retraced from 8.5 month low

The Indian rupee has retraced to 55.83 in the afternoon trade after touching an 8.5-month low of 56.07. Major Asian currencies cracked on worries about a potentially early end to US bond buying programme.

01:21pm SBI's poor show drags Bank Nifty lower

Bank Nifty was one of the biggest losers dragged by SBI. The stock was down over 6 percent after the company missed street estimates both on the topline as well as bottomline front.

ADAG stocks on seller's radar

Shares of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group are being hammered. Reliance Power was down 6 percent, Reliance Communiations was down 6.2 percent, Reliance Capital was down 5 percent.

01:06pm SBI disappoints, misses street expectations, stock down 6%

India's largest public sector bank disappointed the street yet again with its fourth quarter earnings.

The net profit was down higher-than-expected at 18.5 percent year-on-year to Rs 3,299 crore, sending shares nearly 5 percent down.

Net interest income slipped 5.3 percent to Rs 11,080 crore from Rs 11,703 crore Y-o-Y.

Analysts on an average had expected the bank to report net profit at Rs 3,568 crore and net interest income at Rs 11,510 crore.

State Bank of India has declared a dividend of Rs 41.50 per share.

Benchmark indices narrowed losses, but continued to be under pressure as a cocktail of bad news from Asia had jumpy investors rushing to book profits.

The BSE Sensex was down 276 points to 19785.87, after touching a low of 19697 earlier in the session. The Nifty was down points 95 points to 6000.

Hopes of a recovery were dashed by the weakness in European markets, which opened for trading a short while ago.

Realty, power and capital goods were among the worst performers, as the market fretted about weak China macro data, the massive sell-off in Japanese equities, and back home, a sliding rupee.

Unitech, HDIL, Ranbaxy, Crompton Greaves and Jaiprakash Associates were among the biggest losers, down 7-9 percent.

In addition, the US Fed's decision to persist with its monetary stimulus is not being viewed too positively. One of the reasons for the recent sell-off in commodities, especially gold, was that the Fed would start tightening its monetary policy

The rupee today touched an eight-month low, stoking fears that it would prompt foreign funds to book profits to minimize currency-related losses to their equity portfolio.

Midcap and small cap shares fell harder than their large cap counterparts, with the BSE Midcap Index down over 2 percent.

Indian shares benefitted from robust foreign fund flows over the last month. But experts had been cautioning that it is purely a liquidity-driven rally, and not supported by any improvement in macro-economic fundamentals.

12:50 pm Rupee expert: Technical analyst Jai Bala of cashthechaos.com says the market was throwing contradictory signals a few weeks ago, with the Indian currency poised to test its all-time low.

The rupee fell below the key psychological level of 56 to the dollar on Thursday, its lowest level in over 8.5-months, as the dollar rallied on worries about a potentially early end to US monetary stimulus.

12:47 pm Midcap update: The cuts are way deeper across the mid and small cap stocks. Both the indices are down 2 percent each. HDIL (down 9.1 percent), Unitech (down 9 percent) and Crompton Greaves (down 8.2 percent) were hit the most.

12:40 pm Soothing balm: Finance Minister P Chidambaram is trying to soothe Indian market sentiment. He says that US Fed's statement has been misunderstood and there is no need for any kind of nervousness. "India market should watch local situation, not elsewhere," Chidambaram adds.

12:31 pm European markets: European markets are battered too. CAC opens down 2.2 percent while FTSE falls 1.7 percent from its previous close.

12:30 pm Expert advise: Market could drift lower near term, and the correction could get deeper, depending on newsflow from the US, feels UR Bhat of Dalton Capital Advisors . In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he said that foreign institutional investors were not getting good returns from their investments in India, partly due to a weakening rupee, among other factors.

Equity markets globally weakened after the US Federal Reserve said it would stick to its policy of low interest rates and easy liquidity to help revive the US economy. Bhat said the stock market was vulnerable to adverse global news flow and also a weakening rupee. He sees support for Nifty at 5500-5600.

12:25 pm Key gainers: ONGC (down 0.64 percent), TCS (down 0.37 percent), Sun Pharma, HDFC and Dr Reddys Labs are major gaienrs in BSE.

12:20 pm Asian market check: Japan's stock market finished Thursday's session 7 percent lower, in a hugely volatile session which saw the Nikkei gain 2 percent in early trade, only to dive by up to 7 percent late in the session.

Asian stock markets were served a double whammy after HSBC's latest China's flash PMI slipped below the boom-and-bust level of 50 for the first time in seven months and as fears grew that the US Federal Reserve may withdraw its bond buying sooner than expected.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 2 percent to hit a one-month low and the Australian dollar tumbled to a one-year low against the greenback. South Korea's Kospi lost 1 percent and the Shanghai Composite pared earlier losses.

Japan's benchmark index fell to its lowest levels in over a week as investors got spooked by the weak data in China, one of Japan's largest export markets.

The sharp sell-off in equities led investors to seek safety in the Japanese government bond market (JGBs) where yields on the 10-year note fell to 0.880 percent after rising to a one-year high of 0.995 percent earlier in the session.

12:17 pm Losers: SBI (down 4.21 percent), Maruti Suzuki (down 4.15 percent),  BHEL (down 4.13 percent), L&T (down 4.09 percent) and M&M (down 4.02 percent) are major losers in the Sensex.

12:12 pm Bleeding indices: It's a bloodbath on the Dalal Street as most stocks are under heavy selling pressure. BSE Realty index (down 6.9 percent), BSE Capital Goods index (down 4 percent) and BSE Oil & Gas index (down 2.2 percent were badly hurt. All indices are trading in red.

12:10 pm FII view: Investors should get over their obsession with interest rates and focus on the developments in the economy, feels Adrian Mowat of JP Morgan. He said there was unlikely to be any significant change in global liquidity because of the Fed's commitment to quantitative easing. Commodity prices have weakened over the last month, and stocks have gained sharply on hopes that the Fed would start reducing its bond buying programme as the US economy was showing signs of recovery.

According to Mowat, the Fed's stance on continuing with the stimulus is reassuring as a recovery in the US economy would be positive for emerging markets as well.

Mowat said investors should not over react to Bernanke's decision to persist with an easy monetary policy.

Mowat said equity market investors are nervous after a sharp rally over the last month. He, however, would be a buyer at every decline. Full interview here.

Indian equities continued with sell offs in line with global peers as the Nifty slid nearly 2 percent below the 6000 levels. The Sensex plunged 326.47 points to 19735.77, and the Nifty fell 111.30 points to be at 5983.20.

Japan's stock market finished Thursday's session 7 percent lower.  A perfect storm of factors including weak China data, Bernanke confusion, surging Japanese bond yields and a strengthening yen contributed to the moves, analysts said.

The rupee too slumped to 8.5-month low and hit 56 level for the first time since September last year. Rupee depreciated 2 percent this week and 4.1 percent this month. India VIX breach 19 for first time since September 24, 2012.

11:58am The Dow Jones futures lost 1 percent to 15,171, indicating lower opening of US markets today. Global markets dropped following a crack in Japan's Nikkei, which ended 7.3 percent lower.

Back home, Maruti Suzuki, BHEL, Larsen & Tourbo, State Bank of India and Bharti are down 4-5 percent.

Meanwhile, Ranbaxy Labs shares crashed 9 percent. Daiichi Sankyo, which bought Ranbaxy in 2008, said it was exploring legal options against the former promoters of Ranbaxy.

JP Associates, Reliance Infrastructure and DLF are down 7-9 percent.

11:55am Sharp fall in rate sensitives dragged the BSE Sensex 345 points lower to 19717. The Indian rupee hit 56 per dollar level for the first time since September 2012, which depreciated 2 percent this week and over 4 percent this month.

More than 9 shares declined for every share advancing on Bombay Stock Exchange.

Index heavyweights Reliance Industries and ITC are down 2.72 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

11:45am Japan's Nikkei closed Thursday's session 7.3 percent lower amid volatile session. It is the biggest fall in two years. Initially the index gained 2 percent and then dropped 7 percent.

Meanwhile, the Sensex plunged 311.54 points or 1.55 percent at 19750.70, and the Nifty fell 104.45 points or 1.71 percent at 5990.05.

11:40am The Indian Rupee is trading at more than 8 month high, falling 47 paise to 55.93 per dollar. The fall is despite the consistent inflow of foreign money.

Foreign institutional investors bought more than Rs 17,000 worth of equity shares in May so far and nearly Rs 80,000 crore of shares in current calendar year.

11:35am About 4 shares declined for every share advancing on Bombay Stock Exchange.

The BSE Sensex is down 320.17 points or 1.60% at 19742.07, and the Nifty down 107.10 points or 1.76% at 5987.40.

11:25am Equity benchmarks showed a mild recovery from day's low, with the Nifty getting back above 6000 on short covering. The index fell 90 points to 6,005 and the BSE Sensex dropped 256 points.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 5.58 percent or 872 points to 14754.48.

However, TCS, ONGC and Sun Pharma shares outperformed, rising around 0.6 percent.

Tata Steel shares rose 0.5 percent ahead of fourth quarter earnings. Investors will closely watch funding of TSE modernization and upgradation program, as TSE's cash flows are insufficient to support its capex and liquidation of UK assets to deleverage balance sheet.

11:20am India Volatility Index rose 4 percent to 18.4. Meanwhile, CAC and FTSE futures are down between 1 and 1.5 percent after a deeper correction in Nikkei.

Nifty 6000 call added 17 lakh shares and 6100 calls added 14 lakh shares in open interest.

11:15am The NSE Nifty plunged 103 points to 5,991.80 following a sharp drop in Japan's Nikkei. Market could drift lower near term, and the correction could get deeper , depending on newsflow from the US, feels UR Bhat of Dalton Capital Advisors.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex fell 300 points to 19,762.27. Country's largest lenders State Bank of India and ICICI Bank are down 3-3.6 percent.

11:10am Japan's Nikkei 225 Average crashed nearly 1000 points, after a preliminary survey of China's manufacturing sector raised alarm bells while fears grew that the US Federal Reserve may withdraw its bond buying sooner than expected, reports CNBC.com.

Nikkei futures trading halted briefly in Osaka.

The BSE Sensex is down 234.26 points to 19,827.98 while the Nifty is down 85.20 points to 6,009.30.

11:00am the BSE Sensex fell 164.81 points to 19897.43, weighed down majorly by heavyweights. State Bank of India dropped nearly 3 percent ahead of its likely weak earnings for the January-March quarter.

Engineering major Larsen & Toubro dropped another 3 percent today, after losing 5.5 percent in previous session due to lower than expected fourth quarter earnings .

State-owned BHEL shares crashed 3.5 percent ahead of quarterly earnings. Several number of brokerages have turned negative on the stock. they said the company would take 2 years for the capital goods industry to revive.

10:59 am Jaiprakash Associates down 7 percent on heavy volumes.

The stock is down more than 15 percent this week.

10:45 am Market check: Sensex extends slide further down 175 points on weakness in Asian markets. Realty, capital goods and power stocks were top losers.

The Sensex is down 175.76 points or 0.88% at 19886.48, and the Nifty down 64.85 points or 1.06% at 6029.65. About 416 shares have advanced, 1258 shares declined, and 98 shares are unchanged.

10:44am Laggards in the Sensex

Maruti Suzuki (Rs 1,629.00, 3.46%), Bharti Airtel (Rs 301.10, 3.43%), BHEL (Rs 196.50, 3.39%), SBI (Rs 2,294.75, 2.94%) and
ICICI Bank (Rs 1,175.00, 2.9%)

10:42am News from Japan. Nikkei still down 3 percent.

Bank Of Japan has raised assessment of the economy for fifth straight month. This is fifth consecutive monthly upgrade for first time since July 2002.

10:30am Results Poll: Tata Steel is up 1 percent ahead of its results. The stock has been beaten down in past several sessions on overhang of Corus write-off. Will the steel major surprise street with its solid earnings performance?

Poll: Will Europe operations dent Tata Steel's Q4 profit? 

10:28am Results Poll: SBI cracks 3 percent ahead of results today. Provision figures along with wage numbers will be closely watched by the market participants. Major PSU banks have disappointed the street with their earnings this season. Will SBI buck the trend?

Poll: Here's what to expect from SBI Q4 earnings

10:26am Alert: Indian rupee at 8-month low of 55.84. DLF at 5-month low. Ranbaxy at 2-month low.

Index check: Midcap stocks under pressure

BSE Midcap index down over a percent. Top losers in the BSE Midcap were HDIL (Rs 50.80, 9.85%), Unitech (Rs 26.45, 6.54%), Crompton Greaves (Rs 102.40, 5.49%), Delta Corp (Rs 64.65, 5.48%) and Redington (Rs 79.90, 5.28%)

Sectoral check: Realty stocks crack

Shares of HDIL and Unitech cracked 10 percent and 6 percent respectively in the morning trade.

MUST READ: Phaneesh Murthy pressured Roiz for abortion: Lawyer

Buzzing stock: Ranbaxy Labs down 6 percent

Ranbaxy Laboratories  shares fell nearly 6 percent on Thursday. Japan's Daiichi Sankyo, which bought Ranbaxy in 2008, said it was exploring legal options against the former promoters of Ranbaxy .

Buzzing stock: Maruti Suzuki cracks 2 percent.

A reversal in yen carry trade will be negative for the stock. Cheaper imports of parts and a smaller royalty payment to its parent Suzuki Motor Corp contributed to an 80 percent rise in January-March net profit, smashing analysts' forecasts.

10:07 am Currency check

Indian rupee at fresh 6-month low. Rupee at 55.82, up 36 paise.
Japanese yen at 102.73 per dollar.
US dollar index at 84.32

Also Read: Indian rupee at new 6-month low; refiner sells dollars

10:05am Market check The Sensex is down 134.12 points or 0.67% at 19928.12, and the Nifty is down 47.70 points or 0.78% at 6046.80. About 330 shares have advanced, 964 shares declined, and 64 shares are unchanged.

Indian shares resumed their downward journey on Thursday tracking negative regional shares. Asian markets plunged after poor economic data from China renewing fears of slowdown.
 
Japan's Nikkei was down 6.3 percent from day's high. Nikkei has fallen on weak Chinese PMI data. The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for May fell to 49.6, slipping under the 50-point level indicating contraction in the economy for the first since October. The final HSBC PMI stood at 50.4 in April. Japanese government bonds (JGB) plunged on Thursday, taking yields to their highest in a year.

A sub-index measuring overall new orders dropped to 49.5, the lowest reading since September, suggesting China's domestic economy is not strong enough to offset soft external demand, reportes Reuters.

9:56 am FII's comments: Investors should get over their obsession with interest rates and focus on the developments in the economy, feels Adrian Mowat of JP Morgan. US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke Wednesday spoke in favour of continuing with a easy monetary policy , saying a premature tightening of interest rates would hurt economic recovery in the US.

Mowat said there was unlikely to be any significant change in global liquidity because of the Fed's commitment to quantitative easing. Commodity prices have weakened over the last month, and stocks have gained sharply on hopes that the Fed would start reducing its bond buying programme as the US economy was showing signs of recovery. Full interview here .

9:54 am: Nikkei falls 6.3 percent from day's high. Nikkei has fallen on weak China PMI. The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for May fell to 49.6 , slipping under the 50-point level demarcating expansion from contraction for the first since October. The final HSBC PMI stood at 50.4 in April.

A sub-index measuring overall new orders dropped to 49.5, the lowest reading since September, suggesting China's domestic economy is not strong enough to offset soft external demand.

9:50 am Jet Airways Block Deal: 29.1% equity changes hands via inter-se promoter transfer. The stock was quoting at Rs 582.00, up Rs 2.25, or 0.39 percent.

9:44 am Growing weak: Ranbaxy Laboratories was quoting at Rs 402.80, down Rs 28.30, or 6.56 percent.

9:39 am Losing: Larsen and Toubro (L&T) was quoting at Rs 1482 down Rs 35.10, or 2.31 percent. Heavy engineering and construction major L&T has guided for 15-20 percent year-on-year growth in order inflow for FY14, despite sluggish investment cycle prevalent in various sectors from where it gets orders.

9:35 Index update: Capital goods and realty stocks were gowing weak.

9:30 am Buzzing: Ranbaxy Laboratories was quoting at Rs 410.45, down Rs 20.65, or 4.79 percent. Stung by the US FDA USD 500 million penalty , Japan's Daiichi Sankyo is exploring legal remedies to sue ex-Ranbaxy promoters. Daiichi  says that certain former shareholders "misrepresented critical information".

On May 13, Ranbaxy , which was bought by Daiichi  Sankyo in 2008, pleaded guilty to criminal charges of manufacturing and distributing certain adulterated drugs manufactured at its two Indian facilities of Paonta Sahib and Dewas, while agreeing to a USD 500-millon settlement.

9.29 am Market update: The Sensex is down 88.81 points at 19973.43, and the Nifty down 30.05 points at 6064.45.

Expert takes

Udayan: Global mkts mixed, eyes on SBI, BHEL,Tata Steel earnings
Mkt headed lower; time to sell in May and go away: Sukhani

The market has opened on a soft note following negative global cues. US markets ended lower on Wednesday after a volatile trading session after Fed chairman raised the possibility that it could at least slow its bond purchases and European markets ended higher.

Back home, at 09.15 hrs IST, the Sensex is down 97.99 points at 19964.25, and the Nifty down 38.50 points at 6056.00. About 82 shares have advanced, 194 shares declined, and 25 shares are unchanged.

HDFC, TCS, Infosys, ONGC and Dr Reddys Labs  were major gainers in the Sensex.

Meanewhile, Bharti Airtel, Larsen, BHEL, M&M and Sterlite Industries were early losers.

The rupee slipped further on Thursday hitting fresh six months low. The rupee opened at 55.84 per dollar versus 55.47 from its previous close.

The State Bank of India (SBI) is likely to report 12 percent year-on-year fall in its fourth quarter (January March, FY13) net profit to Rs 3,568 crore on higher provisions against restructured loans and wage revisions. Net interest income or the difference between interest earned and paid out, is expected to fall marginally 2 percent y-o-y to Rs 11,510 crore, according to analysts estimate by CNBC TV18.

Other companies which are expected to announce March quarter earnings today are BHEL, Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Dish TV, IGL, OMDC, PTC India, Religare Ent, Triveni Turbines, Welcorp, NIIT, DCM Shriram Industries, Elecon Eng, Asian Hotel East, Hindustan Copper, JBF Auto, Kanoria Chem, Va Tech Wabag, Zee News, Shrenuj and Mukand Engineering.