BSE Sensex, Nifty end flat; Infosys up 1% ahead of Q3 nos

3:50 pm Infosys poll
Infosys, the second largest software services exporter in India, will begin third quarter (October-December) earnings season on Friday. According to a CNBC-TV18 poll, analysts expect the company to report 14.33 percent growth in profit after tax at Rs 2,752 crore compared to previous quarter.

Adjusted profit after tax is expected to be at Rs 2,626 crore, a growth of 9 percent sequentially. Its profitability was impacted by visa cost of Rs 219 crore (one off item) in the quarter ended September 2013.

October-December period is a seasonally weak quarter for technology companies due to holiday season and project furloughs, which has already been factored in, say analysts.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) may jump over 11 percent sequentially to Rs 3,154 crore and EBIT margin is seen rising 243 basis points Q-o-Q to 24.15 percent. Adjusted EBIT growth is expected to be at 7.7 percent and EBIT margin 58 basis points as wage hike impacted margins in September quarter.

03:40 pm Market closing
The market remained listless ahead of Infosys third quarter results announcement. The Sensex ened down 16.01 points at 20713.37, and the Nifty ended at 6168.35, down 6.25 points.  About 1151 shares have advanced, 1370 shares declined, and 377 shares are unchanged.

03:30 pm Rupee poll:
The rupee will have a more stable year after one filled with wild swings, as an improved current account deficit will check outflows when the US Federal Reserve reins in its bond purchases, a Reuters poll found.

The poll of over 25 currency strategists showed the rupee is expected to trade at 62.4 to the dollar in a month from now, 62.9 in three months and 62.0 in a year, compared with 62.2 on Thursday.

Countries with high current account deficits were hit the most when overseas investors, spooked by the Fed's hint at rolling back its massive stimulus program, pulled money out of almost all emerging markets across the globe.

03:20 pm Stock in news:
Shares of Suven Life Sciences rallied 8.5 percent intraday after the company announced grant of three product patents one each from Australia, Sri Lanka and South Korea.

These patents, which are valid through 2029, are related to new chemical entities for the treatment of disorders associated with Neurodegenerative diseases.

With these three patents, the Hyderabad-based healthcare company has a total of 16 granted patents from Australia, nine from Sri Lanka and 12 from South Korea.

03:10 pm Exclusive: As a deadline to reduce stake in MCX-SX looms, Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL) is likely to write to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) seeking more time to comply with regulations, sources have told CNBC-TV18. Before the stock exchange was allowed to commence equity-trading operations, FTIL and its sister firm MCX had to commit to reduce their combined stake to a total of 5 percent by January 18, in order to comply with SEBI's manner of increasing and maintaining public shareholding (MIMPS) regulations.

03:01 pm  Market closing

The Sensex is up 9.11 points at 20738.49, and the Nifty is up 1.35 points at 6175.95. About 1073 shares have advanced, 1328 shares declined, and 392 shares are unchanged. Sesa Sterlite is up 5 percent while NTPC, ONGC, Dr Reddy's Labs and Coal India gain 2-3% percent.

Among the losers are Hindalco, L&T,  Axis Bank,  Maruti Suzuki and Wipro.

02:52pm Jindal Power talks to CNBC-TV18
For both Odisha and Tamil Nadu ultra mega power projects (UMPP), 9-10 qualified bidders have been finalised, says RS Sharma, MD, Jindal Power. In a day or two, request for proposal (RFP) documents will be given, he adds.

The EGoM had mandated companies to buy equipment from domestic companies for UMPPs, which people believed would lead to cost escalation. But Sharma does not think so. He explains the intense competition in the country will take care of that.

Taking cue from previous projects, he does not think the two UMPPs are going to deliver high return on equity. He is also miffed with the operational note that requires 90 percent availability for 40-45 years. He says bidders are attracted despite all the risks document-wise.

He says while fuel pass through was an issue in the 2006-07 document, there was no need to change the entire document structure. This revised document is not very good from the financing point of view.

02:42pm Movers and Shakers
Sesa Sterlite extended gains in afternoon trade, rising 4.6 percent followed by NTPC, ONGC, Dr Reddy's Labs, Coal India, BPCL and HCL Technologies with 1-3 percent upmove.

However, Jaiprakash Associates plunged 3.93 percent. Hindalco Industries, ACC, Larsen and Toubro, DLF, Axis Bank and Maruti Suzuki declined 1-3 percent.

Among midcaps, Muthoot Finance rallied 20 percent. India Infoline, Vakrangee Software, Alembic Pharma and Supreme Industries rose 3-6 percent while KSK Energy Ventures, NIIT Technologies, HDIL, Anant Raj and Dish TV fell 4-6 percent.

In the smallcap space, SREI Infra jumped 11.5 percent. Financial Technologies, Usha Martin, Shree Ram Urban and Asahi India gained 5-8 percent. However, Prime Focus, NRB Bearings, Kitex Garments, Simplex Infra and HCL Infosystems lost 5-8 percent.

02:32pm Nikkei closes lower
Japan's Nikkei stock average shed 1.5 percent after the previous session's bounce, as investors stayed risk averse ahead of a key US jobs report the following day.

The Nikkei ended 241.12 points lower at 15,880.33 after climbing 1.9 percent on Wednesday to snap losses on the first two trading days of 2014. Tokyo stock markets began this year's trading on Monday.

The US nonfarm payrolls report on Friday will further indicate how the world's largest economy is faring - and therefore, how fast the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus. Economists polled by Reuters have forecast 196,000 jobs were added to the US economy in December, reports Reuters.

02:22pm Prestige Estates talks to CNBC-TV18
Real estate developer Prestige Estates, which reported a strong Q3 sales performance, sees its Q4 sales collection at Rs 600 crore, says CMD Irfan Razack.

He says the company's sales momentum has been very strong and it may exceed its FY14 sales guidance on the back of its largest residential project Lakeside Habitat, which is getting a good response in its pre-launch booking.

The realty company is launching a farm house project in Goa for which the approval process is on. It also has two major projects under approval in Hyderabad.

The company sold 904 units (area of 1.55 million square feet) worth Rs 940.2 crore in the quarter gone by, a growth of 24.69 percent compared to a year ago period. In December quarter of 2012, it has sold 682 units aggregating 1.44 million square feet.

Collections during the same period jumped 16.69 percent year-on-year to Rs 592.3 crore from Rs 507.6 crore.

In the last nine months of the current financial year 2013-14, Prestige sold 3,141 units and 0.15 million square feet area of commercial space, totaling to 5.15 million square feet amounting to Rs 3,031.6 crore, according its filing to the exchange.

02:11pm The market remained rangebound in afternoon trade due to lack of any sort of a trigger. The next trigger for the market is likely to be Infosys' October-December quarter earnings on Friday, followed by November industrial output.

The Sensex slipped 5.04 points to 20,724.34, and the Nifty declined 6.05 points to 6,168.55. Declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of 1,326 to 1,015 on the BSE.

Axis Bank, Financial Technologies, MCX India, ICICI Bank, Torrent Pharma, Infosys, and Larsen and Toubro are the most active shares on exchanges.

Shares of Axis Bank, and Larsen and Toubro lost 2 percent each while ITC slipped 0.5 percent. CNBC-TV18 learned from sources that the government will pave way for Axis Bank's stake sale today.

Sources say Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs will consider reversing decision on SUUTI AMC today. The decision will enable government to sell SUUTI portfolio.

CCEA had earlier decided to transfer SUUTI assets to AMC. SUUTI Portfolio comprises Axis Bank, L&T and ITC.

According to sources, the government is planning to sell 12-13 percent of Axis Bank stake that may take place in February.

2:00 pm Exclusive: Mumbai-based Tulip Star Hotel is finding no takers for its 6 acre sea-facing property in Juhu. The auction of the property was scheduled for Wednesday. Sources say potential bidders saw the Rs 1,315 crore reserve price as unreasonable.

Asset Reconstruction Company (India), which had put the property on the block, sold six bid documents but received no response. Sources say it is now considering the option of extending the auction date or privately sell the property. 

Sources say the final sale prices could be anywhere between Rs 700 and Rs 725 crore.

1:50 pm FII view: Geoff Lewis of JP Morgan Asset Management retains his optimism over India, and has cited ongoing political changes as one of the key drivers. He does not expect the rupee to weaken significantly from current levels.

On emerging markets in general, he says they will continue to react to cues from Wall Street.

Globally, investors appear a bit anxious as they are not certain about the US Federal Reserve's course of action on its monthly bond purchases. The minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee suggest that most officials see decrease in bond purchases as the first step towards normalization of monetary policy.

1:40 pm Interview: Container Corporation of India (Concor) is going ahead with its capacity expansion plans, said its CMD Anil K Gupta. Concor's H1FY14 revenues grew 8.5% and the company expects to end FY14 with 10% growth. Speaking on CNBC-TV18, Gupta said the exim revenues have helped the company recover costs. Concor expects to maintain margins of around 22% and may see an improvement, he said.

Concor is one of the top midcap picks by Kotak Securities. The broking house says the company will benefit from higher export volumes due to falling rupee and an improvement in global demand. This could substantially bring down empty running of rakes and improve margins by offsetting slow imports, says Kotak Securities. Both Religare and Antique have rated Concor 'hold' with a target price of Rs 780.

The market is seeing choppy trade as investors turn cautious ahead of third quarter earnings. The earnings season will kick off with Infosys announcing its third quarter numbers tomorrow.

The Sensex is down 32.02 points at 20697.36, and the Nifty slips 15.30 points at 6159.30. About 1005 shares have advanced, 1317 shares declined, and 397 shares are unchanged.

Capital goods and banking stocks are under pressure.  Axis Bank, Hindalco, L&T, Maruti and Tata Motors are big laggards in the Sensex. On the gaining side are Sesa Sterlite, NTPC, ONGC, Coal India and Dr Reddy's Labs.

The oil ministry will float a cabinet note next week on Kirit Parikh recommendations on export parity pricing.

Brent crude rose towards USD 108 a barrel, supported by continued concerns over supply from the Middle East and North Africa, but gains were capped by a stronger dollar, reports Reuters.

Brent has traded in a tight range this week as investors balanced expectations of rising supply from Libya with worries over increased tension between government forces and armed rebels in the North African country.

"Brent looks relatively stable at the moment, compared to WTI," said Ric Spooner, market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. "Brent is hanging around its 200-day moving average, and that is creating some nausea for investors, who are looking for direction in the market."

12:55pm Market Expert
Axis Capital's big bets for 2014 are large cap IT, ''vice-industry'', telecom, private sector energy majors and select pharmaceutical names, says managing director, Institutional Equity Research, Nandan Chakraborty.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Chakraborty says he sees agri-inflation receding in the coming weeks as the government steps up its drive against hoarders in the run-up to the general elections.

According to him, things are improving at the margin, but there is still ''growth anxiety.''

He sees interest rates in India rising for some more time before peaking out this calendar.

Chakraborty sees the global liquidity scenario remaining benign even as there are concerns about Fed cutting down on monthly bond purchases, and this resulting in a liquidity crunch.

A positive for countries like India, from the QE tapering is that it will lead to crude oil prices declining.

Chakraborty says he will be considering investments in sectors like banks, automobile and realty only once there is stable government at the Centre after the elections.

12:45pm Jubilant Foodworks loses ground
Shares of Jubilant FoodWorks lost 3 percent on concerns over foreign institutional investors (FIIs) holding limit.

The Reserve Bank has said that FIIs are not allowed any longer to purchase shares in Jubilant FoodWorks as the foreign shareholding in the company has reached the trigger limit. The aggregate net purchases of equity shares in the food company by FIIs in primary/secondary markets under portfolio investment scheme (PIS) have reached the trigger limit.

Hence, further purchases of equity shares of this company would be allowed only after obtaining prior approval of the RBI," the central bank said in a notification today. FIIs, NRIs and PIOs are allowed to invest in the primary and secondary capital markets in India through the PIS.

Jubilant FoodWorks and its subsidiary operates Domino's Pizza brand with the exclusive rights for India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In India, it also sells Dunkin' Donuts.

12:30pm Oil ministry may rollback bulk diesel prices
The oil ministry is considering a partial rollback of bulk diesel prices as sales have dropped significantly, oil secretary Vivek Rae said on Thursday.

India has asked bulk buyers to pay market rates for diesel since last January and has also been raising the price of subsidised diesel in small amounts every month in an effort to cut its ballooning fuel subsidies.

"We are circulating the Kirit Parikh report for inter-ministerial consultation," Rae told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event.

He also said there was a need to review the subsidy sharing mechanism to ensure that upstream companies get about $65 a barrel on sale of crude oil.

Indian explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp has long complained that its realisations on oil sales are much lower than what it needs to maintain production, reports Reuters.

12:15pm Container Corporation talks to CNBC-TV18
Container Corporation of India (Concor) is going ahead with its capacity expansion plans, said its CMD Anil K Gupta. Concor's H1FY14 revenues grew 8.5% and the company expects to end FY14 with 10% growth.

Speaking on CNBC-TV18, Gupta said the exim revenues have helped the company recover costs. Concor expects to maintain margins of around 22% and may see an improvement, he said.

Concor is one of the top midcap picks by Kotak Securities. The broking house says the company will benefit from higher export volumes due to falling rupee and an improvement in global demand. This could substantially bring down empty running of rakes and improve margins by offsetting slow imports, says Kotak Securities.

Both Religare and Antique have rated Concor 'hold' with a target price of Rs 780.

According to Kotak note, India's containerised cargo remains low at 22%. The bulk of India's cargo -- 64% of cargo traffic -- is moved on roads and average speed of cargo rail is about 25kmph. There's a strong necessity to improve rail infrastructure, which will benefit Concor, the note adds.

12:00pm The market has been consolidating for the third week, especially ahead of key events of January. First event is December quarter earnings season that will begin on Friday while other events are November industrial output, December inflation and RBI policy.

The Sensex declined 40.91 points to 20,688.47, and the Nifty slipped 17.05 points to 6,157.55. About 1021 shares have advanced, 1048 shares declined, and 392 shares are unchanged.

Shares of Larsen and Toubro, Axis Bank and Hindalco Industries plunged more than 2 percent.

However, Sesa Sterlite is the top gainer in the Sensex, surging 3.6 percent followed by ONGC, NTPC and Dr Reddy's Labs with a 2 percent upmove.

Infosys climbed 0.87 percent to Rs 3,458.25 ahead of October-December quarter earnings. According to a CNBC-TV18 poll, analysts expect the company to report 14.33 percent growth in profit after tax at Rs 2,752 crore compared to previous quarter.

Top IT services provider TCS rebounded with 0.5 percent gains.

11:50 am Market outlook: Axis Capital's big bets for 2014 are large cap IT, ''vice-industry'', telecom, private sector energy majors and select pharmaceutical names, says managing director, Institutional Equity Research, Nandan Chakraborty.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Chakraborty says he sees agri-inflation receding in the coming weeks as the government steps up its drive against hoarders in the run-up to the general elections.

According to him, things are improving at the margin, but there is still ''growth anxiety.''

He sees interest rates in India rising for some more time before peaking out this calendar.

11:45 am Gas ramp up: Reversing the declining trend, Reliance Industries has ramped up gas production at KG-D6 fields by about 15 percent as it added the first production well on the eastern offshore fields in almost four years, reports PTI.

RIL on January 2 began production from the MA-8 well to ramp up output from the KG-D6 block to about 13.7 million standard cubic meters per day, officials said.

RIL and its partners BP Plc of UK and Canada's Niko Resources had last month spud the seventh well on the MA oil and gas field in the KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin.

11:35 am Infosys poll: Infosys, the second largest software services exporter in India, will begin third quarter (October-December) earnings season on Friday. According to a CNBC-TV18 poll, analysts expect the company to report 14.33 percent growth in profit after tax at Rs 2,752 crore compared to previous quarter.

Adjusted profit after tax is expected to be at Rs 2,626 crore, a growth of 9 percent sequentially. Its profitability had impacted by visa cost of Rs 219 crore (one off item) in the quarter ended September 2013.

The market is listless ahead of Infosys third quarter earnings announcement. The Sensex is down 16.31 points at 20713.07, and the Nifty down 7.85 points at 6166.75.  About 1105 shares have advanced, 905 shares declined, and 410 shares are unchanged.

Sesa Sterlite is up 4 percent while other gainers NTPC, Dr Reddy's Labs, ONGC, Coal India. Top losers in the Sensex are Axis Bank, Hindalco, L&T, ITC and SBI.

The rupee is weak reacting to the dollar strength while government bonds are in a tight range ahead of the Rs 15000 crore auction tomorrow and inflation data next week.

Asian markets are mixed with losses led by the Japanese markets. China's CPI slowed to 2.5 percent in December compared to estimates of 2.7 percent.

Gold is mostly flat after losing for the past  two sessions while Brent prices are stable.

The dollar index has strengthened to seven month highs while Asian currencies such as the Indonesian rupiah, Philippine peso and Chinese yuan weakened slightly.

10:59am GVK Power rallies
Shares of GVK Power jumped 6 percent ahead of inauguration of the new Mumbai airport T2 terminal. The Prime Minister is due to inaugurate the new Mumbai airport T2 terminal tomorrow, while the airport opens to public only in a couple of weeks.

The state-of-the-art T2 is an integrated four-level terminal spread over 4.39 lakh sq metres that can accomodate over 40 million passengers per year.

Chanderbhan Manwani, Project Head- Senior Vice President GVK said, "This airport has set its own benchmark. People will measure other airports in comparison with Mumbai now."

10:50am Jubilant FoodWorks under pressure
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) share purchase limit in the stock has reached a trigger limit.

In a notification issued on Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India said the aggregate net purchases of equity shares in Jubilant FoodWorks Limited by FIIs in primary/secondary markets under Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) have reached the trigger limit.'' Hence, further purchases of equity shares of this company would be allowed only after obtaining prior approval of the RBI.

The stock declined 2.82 percent to Rs 1,233 on the BSE.

10:45am FII View
"The third quarter's earnings may be a mood booster; but we wouldn't jump the gun, on either material earnings upgrades, or the market," Aditya Narain of Citigroupsaid.

He sees FY14 and FY15 earnings estimates holding and expects the market to generate a relatively modest 5 percent return for 2014.

10:30am Mastek on fire
Shares of IT services provider Mastek rallied over 4 percent to Rs 207.65 apiece after the company said it will buy back shares worth up to Rs 54.5 crore (14.9 percent) at a price not exceeding Rs 250 per share. The buyback should be through open market transactions.

Currently, the promoters held 46.70 percent stake in the company. Individual shareholders held 26.1 percent stake followed by foreign institutional investors (16.14 percent), domestic institutional investors (7.65 percent), while the remaining 3.41 percent stakes are with the bodies corporate and others.

Giving his outlook on the business front, Farid Kazani, Group CFO & Director Finance, Mastek says: "While things look okay in US and UK, we have specifically mentioned about one particular client where we are facing a possible ramp down due to reprioritization of a transformation programme that we are doing in the US for the insurance client. That could have some impact going forward. We are yet to quantify that. We should be able to come back giving the impact of that business in next two weeks."

10:15am Gainers and Losers
Banks are under pressure. Country's largest lenders State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank fell 0.4-0.9 percent while their rival Axis Bank declined 1.65 percent.

Index heavyweight ITC slipped 0.8 percent and capital goods major Larsen and Toubro dipped 0.7 percent.

However, Infosys gained 0.8 percent to Rs 3,454.40 ahead of its third quarter earnings on Friday morning.

Sesa Sterlite topped the buying list, rising 2.66 percent followed by ONGC, Dr Reddy's Labs, Coal India, Tata Steel, NTPC and BHEL with 1-1.5 percent upmove.

10:00am The market continued to be rangebound ahead of third quarter earnings that is the major trigger in near term apart from inflation, industrial output and RBI policy.

The Sensex fell 12.24 points to 20,717.14, and the Nifty declined 6.45 points to 6,168.15.

About 929 shares have advanced, 761 shares declined, and 392 shares are unchanged.

Shares of gold loan financing companies like Manappuram Finance and Muthoot Finance rallied 20 percent each on Thursday after the Reserve Bank of India revised norms for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) lending against gold jewellery.

The central bank on Wednesday hiked loan-to-value ratio (LTV) to up to 75 percent for loans against the collateral of gold jewellery from the present limit of 60 percent with immediate effect.

With this, the people seeking loan against gold jewellery can now borrow more money.

"...in view of the moderation in the growth of gold loan portfolios of NBFCs in the recent past, and also taking into consideration the experience so far, LTV hiked," the RBI said in its release.

In case of apprehensions on certifying the purity of the gold jewellery, RBI clarified that the need to give a certificate on the purity of gold cannot be dispensed with.

9:50 am Market check: The market could not hold early gains and is slipping further. The Sensex is down 24.98 points at 20704.40, and the Nifty is down 11.10 points at 6163.50. About 584 shares have advanced, 528 shares declined, and 337 shares are unchanged.

Infosys is up 1 percent ahead of announcing third quarter earnings. Other gainers in the Sensex are NTPC , Wipro, Dr Reddy's Labs and M&M.

Among the top losers are Axis Bank , Hindalco , Bajaj Auto, GAIL and HDFC Bank .

9:40 am FII view: Laurence Balanco of CLSA says that the 6,330-6,340 resistance zone and the bearish price/momentum divergence on weekly and daily chart suggests Nifty is not set to record a sustained breakout at this time. "In the near-term, we are looking for downside risk in the 5,800-5,900 area. While not our base case, if price action penetrated the 6,330-6,340 resistance to a new high, 6,500 would be the next target. It would also suggest start of a long-term uptrend," he said.

Aditya Narain of Citigroup feels the quarter's earnings could be a mood booster; but one wouldn't jump the gun, on either material earnings upgrades, or the market. "We see our FY14 and FY15 earnings estimates holding and expect the market to generate a relatively modest 5 percent return for 2014," he adds.

9:30 am Buzzing: Shares of Jubilant FoodWorks lost around 4 percent intraday on Thursday on concerns over foreign institutional investors (FIIs) holding limit.

The Reserve Bank has said that FIIs are not allowed any longer to purchase shares in Jubilant FoodWorks as the foreign shareholding in the company has reached the trigger limit. The aggregate net purchases of equity shares in the food company by FIIs in primary/secondary markets under portfolio investment scheme (PIS) have reached the trigger limit.

Hence, further purchases of equity shares of this company would be allowed only after obtaining prior approval of the RBI," the central bank said in a notification today. FIIs, NRIs and PIOs are allowed to invest in the primary and secondary capital markets in India through the PIS.

The market has opened marginally higher. The Sensex is up 40.25 points at 20769.63, and the Nifty is up 7.10 points at 6181.70. About 267 shares have advanced, 73 shares declined, and 295 shares are unchanged.

Coal India , ICICI Bank , Maruti Suzuki, NTPC and Sesa Sterlite are top gainers in the Sensex.  Among the top losers in the Sensex are Hindalco, Axis Bank, ONGC , Tata Power and Bharti AIrtel.

The rupee opened weak by 14 paise at 62.21 per dollar versus 62.07 Wednesday.

The dollar hovers at seven-week highs against a basket of major currencies early this morning, having risen for a second session after an upbeat private-sector jobs report drove US short-term yields and market rates higher.

Ashutosh Raina of HDFC Bank said that, "Markets have remained very range bound amidst very thin volumes. Expect sideways movement to continue, till more data gives clearer direction to the markets. Expect the rupee to range between 61.50 - 62.50/ dollar for some more time."

In the US, stocks finished mixed on Wednesday following the prior day's jump, with volatility still in play after minutes from the Federal Reserve had central bankers viewing the benefits of monetary stimulus as diminishing over time, and a report on payrolls was better than anticipated. US treasury yields also topped 3 percent before receding a tad.

In Asia, Chinese consumer inflation slowed to 2.5 percent in December from November's 3 percent figure, coming in below the Reuters expectations for a 2.7 percent gain while producer prices fell 1.4 percent from a year earlier. Larger gains were capped on after the People's Bank of China skipped open market operations for a fifth straight session.

Asian markets were trading almost flat in early morning trade. Japan's Nikkei was down 1.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng, Singapore's Straits Times remained flat. China's Shanghai Composite was up half a percent up.

In commodities, crude prices rose in early Asian trade, recovering from a six week-low in the previous session when a large build in crude stock piles at the contract's delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, weighed on the market.

From precious metals space - gold prices are little changed this morning after losses in the last two sessions, as strong US jobs data took the sheen off the metal's safe-haven appeal and with investors eyeing more data through the week for clues on strength of the economy.