Sensex rises 97 points post interim Budget; private banks lead

Finance minister's interim Budget, the last Budget by UPA II, could not rejoice the market on Monday. Barring few positive takeaways like better-than-expected fiscal deficit and cut in excise duty for auto sector, there was no major announcement by P Chidambaram.

The Sensex rose 97.24 points to close at 20,464.06 while the Nifty advanced 24.95 points to 6,073.30 that held the 6,050 level throughout the session today.

Going forward, experts believe the market is going to be rangebound at least till the general elections that may be in May 2014. In case of Tuesday's trade, they see the Nifty moving in a range of 6000-6100.

''I believe that the general elections over the coming 2-3 months are likely to take centre-stage for equity markets and their outcome would be crucial for determining market direction,'' Dinesh Thakkar, chairman and managing director, Angel Broking said.

Finance minister P Chidambaram said the fiscal deficit for FY14 would be contained at 4.6 percent of GDP that was better than street expectations of 4.8 percent. He expects 4.1 percent for FY14 and 3.6 percent for FY16, which is on the hopes of higher GDP growth and tax revenue.

He expects gross tax revenue to rise 19.4 percent Y-o-Y in FY15 as against 11.8 percent in FY14. According to the gross market borrowing for FY14 is expected to be at Rs 5.97 lakh crore that too was better than forecast of Rs 6-6.4 lakh crore.

FM has kept direct tax unchanged but cut indirect tax on select sectors. He reduced excise duty from 12 percent to 10 percent on capital goods and consumer durables.

In case of small cars, motor cycles, scooters and commercial vehicles, excise duty was cut from 12 percent to 8 percent and in case of small utility vehicles that cut to 24 percent from 30 percent. For large and mid-segment cars, excise cut from 27/24 percent to 24/20 percent. Even he exempted loading, unloading, packing, storage and warehousing of rice from service tax.

Private banking and financials stocks were the lead gainers today as analysts still believe these stocks are better than PSU banks. Country's largest lender ICICI Bank was up 2 percent while HDFC and HDFC Bank climbed over a percent.

However, State Bank of India remained under pressure on asset quality concerns. The capital infusion of Rs 11,200 crore in PSU banks for FY15 is not sufficient, experts feel.

Mahindra and Mahindra jumped nearly 3 percent and Maruti was up over a percent on cut in excise duty.

Tata Power topped the buying list, rising nearly 5 percent after Arvind Kejriwal resigned as chief minister of Delhi on Friday. NTPC was up over a percent.

However, shares of Reliance Industries, Coal India and Hindalco Industries lost over a percent.

BHEL slipped 0.5 percent. Chidambaram said the divestment in the company will take place in FY14.

3:40 am Market closing: The market ended on a high note. The Sensex closed up 97.24 points at 20464.06, and the Nifty ended at 6073.30, up 24.95 points. About 1226 shares have advanced, 1364 shares declined, and 155 shares are unchanged.

Tata Power ended with a gain 5 percent. M&M soared 3 percent on excise duty cut on special utility vechiles (SUVs) by the FM P Chidambaram in UPA II's Interim Budget. Dr Reddy's Labs, ICICI Bank and Hero Motocorp were other lead gainers in the Sensex.

Bnak Nifty ended with a gain of 1 percent.

Among the losers were Coal India, Hindalco, Reliance, Wipro and BHEL.

3:30 pm FM press briefing: While addressing media FM P Chidambaram said that the government has put the economy on a more stable foundation. Economy will be able to withstand shocks. All flagship programmes are being given adequate funds. Saved net Rs 75,000 crore from FY 14 budgeted spending. Emphasis is on reducing fiscal deficit, boosting exports. GDP must grow at least 5.2 percent in second half to reach 4.9 percent for FY14. Excise duty rejig may lead to some revenue loss in April, he added.

3:25 pm Infra outlook: The Finance Minister seems to have touched all the levers while presenting the Interim Budget today and the infrastructure sector has survived the axe said Shankar Raman of L&T.

There seems to be a thrust to the sector especially looking at the linkage of the Delhi - Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the dependence on public private partnership (PPP).

"What is going to be witnessed is continuing effort to push ahead wherever the projects have been cleared. There have been lots of statistics that we have given about on 296 projects cleared and fuel supply arranged for power sector etc," he said.


3:15 pm Opinion on Vote on Account: Despite the cabinet committee on investment, or CCI, clearing quite a few projects, most of them are yet to receive state government approvals. "These are pending projects, some of which have been cleared. But there are no new projects in the pipeline to the extent India requires given the supply side issues," says Koushik Chatterjee, Group CFO, Tata Steel.

According to him, a bigger worry would be – whoever comes to power and even if it is a restatement on July 1, it will take a long time before confidence and trust comes in as far as investments are concerned.

3:10 pm Expert reaction to Vote on Account: According to Shikha Sharma, MD & CEO, Axis Bank lowereing of planned expenditure is already factored into the numbers since it is already February 17 today. ''So the expenditure number for next six weeks is not going to have that much of an impact in terms of growth or orders,'' said Sharma

She added, ''If the borrowing number is as what has been put out in the plan then that would be positive for the bond markets but there is still scepticism around on where the revenue numbers are going to happen and therefore if the borrowing number can be contained.''

The Vote on Account presented by Finance Minsiter P Chidambaram seem to be a non-event as the market refused to budge. The Sensex is up 93.66 points at 20460.48, and the Nifty is up 24.15 points at 6072.50.  About 1131 shares have advanced, 1366 shares declined, and 155 shares are unchanged.

The government today cut its disinvestment target by more than half to Rs 16,027 crore for the current financial year and pegged the proceeds at Rs 36,925 crore for 2014-15. In the Budget last year, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had estimated to mobilise Rs 40,000 crore by selling minority stakes in state-owned companies.

As per the interim Budget 2014-15 presented in Parliament, the receipts from disinvestment for 2013-14 have been revised downward to Rs 16,027 crore from Rs 40,000 crore. So far this fiscal, ending on March 31, the government has raised about Rs 3,500 crore through stake sale in PSUs.

As far as government's residual stake sale in private companies is concerned, the interim Budget has lowered the revised estimates to Rs 3,000 crore against the earlier projection of Rs 14,000 crore.

02:55pm Nomura on Budget
Nomura said the government has managed to better the stated fiscal consolidation target for FY14. "This is done partly by pruning expenditure & postponing payments. Question is whether the 4.1 percent fiscal deficit (FD) is credible," the report said.

The brokerage house expects the trend of forced fiscal austerity to continue next year.

According to them, the true picture will be known only in July post elections.

Government's projections on asset sales and tax revenues for FY15 are optimistic, Nomura said.

02:50pm KRBL climbs over a percent
Finance minister proposes to exempt loading, unloading, packing, storage and warehousing of rice from service tax.

02:45pm Godrej Consumer Products gains 1.5%
To encourage domestic production of soaps and oleo chemicals, finance minister proposes to rationalise the customs duty structure on non-edible grade industrial oils and its fractions, fatty acids and fatty alcohols at 7.5 percent.

02:35pm General Motors on excise duty cut
P Balendran, vice president of General Motors India said the company will pass on the excise duty relief to its consumers.

"We are currently studying the fine print to determine the exact amount across its carlines," he said.

02:30pm CapitalVia sees no impact of interim Budget on economy
Rohit Gadia, founder and CEO of CapitalVia Global Research said interim budget is not expected to have any major impact in the economy apart from few positive impacts on the auto sector.

"As the tax rates has been kept same and no other major changes has been brought in, I think this budget was basically a safe play from the existing government. There's some good news for the auto company and capital Goods as the excise duty was cut for small cars to 8 percent from 12 percent earlier, 20 percent on large and mid-segment cars and excise duty has been reduced to 24 percent from 30 percent earlier on SUV," he added.

"Rich people who earn more than rupees 1 crore a year will have an extra impact as per the budget as they have to pay a extra 10 percent surcharge on their income.  The finance minister exempted rice from the service tax ambit which now stands at 12 percent. There was no change in corporate rate tax rate for domestic companies and foreign companies which stand at 33.99 percent and 43.26 percent percent respectively," Gadia said.

02:20pm Shikha Sharma talks to CNBC-TV18
FM in the Interim Budget announced that total planned expenditure would be cut and the cut would come in this quarter.

According to Shikha Sharma, MD & CEO, Axis Bank to the extent that the planned expenditure is going to be lower is already factored into the numbers since it is already February 17 today. ''So the expenditure number for next six weeks is not going to have that much of an impact in terms of growth or orders,'' said Sharma

According to her despite this being a Vote-on-Account, there has been a positive trigger for the auto sector.

Commenting on the borrowing number being revised lower to Rs 5.79 lakh crores, Sharma said: ''If the borrowing number is as what has been put out in the plan then that would be positive for the bond markets but there is still scepticism around on where the revenue numbers are going to happen and therefore if the borrowing number can be contained.''

So, I don't think the bond markets are going to react at this point of time until all numbers are clear, she said

02:10pm BHEL under pressure
Finance minister P Chidambaram said BHEL divestment will take place in FY14 that means by February or March-end.

Sources say the government, which holds 67.72 percent stake in the company, is looking to divest around 5 percent stake.

FM also reduced excise duty by 2 percent for capital goods segment, but analysts believe it will not have any major impact on companies.

02:00pm: The market is marginally higher. The Sensex is up 72.97 points at 20439.79, and the Nifty is up 17.80 points at 6066.15. About 1011 shares have advanced, 1371 shares declined, and 152 shares are unchanged.

Tata Power is up 5 percent while Dr Reddy's Bank, HDFC twins and Hero Motocorp. Top losers in the Sensex are Coal India, Hindalco, Reliance, BHEL and Tata Steel.

The government today said the Indian currency has fared better than those of other emerging economies and the exchange rate has stabilised. Risks to capital flows were accentuated due to volatile global conditions and the US Federal Reserve's announcement last May of tapering its fiscal stimulus had severely hit the rupee value.

"Government, RBI and Sebi took a number of measures to facilitate capital inflows and stabilise the forex market. Among emerging economy currencies, rupee was affected the least when the actual reduction took place in December 2013 and January 2014, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in his Vote on Account speech in the Parliament.

1:50 pm Politics: Launching a fresh protest against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday accused Sonia Gandhi of dividing the state for political gains.

Sitting on a dharna along with a large numbers of supporters at Jantar Mantar, Jagan charged that the ruling party came up with the idea of dividing the state with the sole aim of making Rahul Gandhi Prime Minister as it hoped to win some seats by aligning with TRS in Telangana.

Referring to Sonia Gandhi's Italian background, he dubbed the Indian National Congress as ''Italian National Congress'' and said, ''Even Britishers did not do what she did to my state of Andhra Pradesh.''

1:40 pm Reaction to FM's Vote on Account: Ratnesh Kumar, MD and CEO, Standard Chartered Securities applauded finance minister P Chidambaram for containing the fiscal deficit target of 4.8 percent for FY14 despite slowdown in tax revenues because of slowing economy.

"The intent is credible. The inside number, all assumptions have to be looked at but clearly that is something which is positive to look at and the way to understand some of these excise cuts, which are there, how they are balanced but you have had in the last six-twelve months, pretty significant slowdown happening in consumption also," he said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

01:30 pm Good news: Tata Motors to lower prices of passenger vehicles and SUVs tomorrow. This follows Finance Minister P Chidambaram announcing excise duty cuts for cars and SUVs in his interim Budget. The duty cuts will be effective till end of June this year. Tata Motors is hopeful that the excise cuts and the resultant price cuts by various companies auto companies will help arrest the pace of deceleration in car sales. Utility vehicle sales have been the worst hit over the last year. Excise duty for SUVs has now been lowered to 24 percent from 30 percent earlier.

01:20 pm Finance Minister said FY15 GDP growth pegged at over 6 percent and tax growth at 19.2 percent.

01:15 pm Excise duty cut
Pawan Goenka of Mahindra and Mahindra expects Rs 40,000 reduction in small utility vehicle (SUV) prices.

Finance minister reduced excise duty for small cars to 8 percent from 12 percent and for large & mid-segment cars to 20 percent. He also cut excise duty on SUVs to 24 percent from 30 percent.

Pawan Goenka said it will be good for demand if excise reduction continues. "Excise duty move will be margin neutral. We will have to pass on excise duty reduction to consumer," he added.

01:10pm: PSU banks like Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda dropped 1-1.5 percent. FM said capital infusion in FY15 in PSU banks will be Rs 11,200 crore. Analysts believe that the amount is very less.

Moratorium for interest on education loans from March 2009-December 2013 is also negative for PSU banks, analysts say.

State Bank of India declined 0.34 percent after the bank reduced bulk deposit interest rates by 75 bps on 61 days to more than one year tenor to 7 percent and retail term deposit rate on some tenors by up to 50 bps.

01:00pm: UPA II's interim Budget is a non-event for the market that remains flat with a positive bias in afternoon trade.

The Sensex rose 53.12 points to 20,419.94 and the Nifty advanced 12.75 points to 6,061.10. Declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of 1286 to 968 on the BSE.

Tata Power gained nearly 5 percent that may be after the finance minister P Chidambaram said four ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) will start in next financial year 2014-15.

Private banking and financials are on buyers' radar but PSU banks are under pressure post interim Budget.

Housing finance company HDFC surged 2 percent while private sector lenders ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank rose 0.75-1.3 percent.

12:58pm: Lok Sabha passes interim Rail Budget without discussion

12:55pm: Maruti Suzuki said the company would pass on excise benefits to consumers with immediate effect.

Pawan Goenka of Mahindra and Mahindra said the company was not expecting all these measures for auto sector.

12:53pm: Additional surcharges imposed in FY14 extended to FY15

12:50pm: No announcement for commercial vehicle (CV) segment

Country's second largest commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland said it cannot see turnaround in CV sector until economy picks up.

"CV demand will remain subdued on low freight availability. Excise duty cut will lessen the burden on operators," the company said.

Ashok Leyland fell nearly 3 percent and Tata Motors slipped 0.55 percent.

12:45pm: Finance minister P Chidambaram said FY16 revenue deficit aimed at 2 percent of GDP and FY16 fiscal deficit aimed at 3.6 percent of GDP.

12:40pm: FM said FY14 fertiliser subsidy revised to Rs 67,971 crore and food subsidy revised to Rs 92,000 crore. He also said FY14 fuel subsidy revised to Rs 85,480 crore

12:35pm: Finance minister said FY14 service tax revised to Rs 1.64 lakh crore and FY15 service tax pegged at Rs 2.15 lakh crore

FY14 income tax revised to Rs 2.41 lakh crore and FY15 income tax pegged at Rs 3.06 lakh crore

FY14 corporate tax revised to Rs 3.93 lakh crore and FY15 corporate tax pegged at Rs 4.51 lakh crore

12:30pm: Finance minister FY14 fiscal deficit target revised to Rs 5.24 lakh crore and FY15 fiscal deficit pegged at Rs 5.28 lakh crore.

12:20pm: CRISIL said exceeding non-plan spend and plan spend inability is not good. PSU capital infusion budget of Rs 11,200 crore may be inadequate, it adds.

12:18pm:FM saidFY14 divestment target revised to Rs 16,027 crore and FY15 divestment pegged at Rs 36,925 crore

12:15pm: Finance minister said FY14 net market borrowing revised to Rs 4.68 lakh crore and gross market borrowing revised to Rs 5.63 lakh crore.

"FY15 net market borrowing will be at Rs 4.57 lakh crore and gross market borrowing will be at Rs 5.97 lakh crore," he said.

12:10pm: CRISIL said excise duty cut on autos marginally positive in near-term but excise duty cut on capital goods will not have material impact.

The firm further said fertiliser subsidy of Rs 76,000 crore for FY15 likely to be adequate.

12:05pm: FM said FY15 non-plan spend will be at Rs 12.07 lakh crore. He see FY14 revenue deficit at 3.3 percent and said FY15 revenue deficit pegged at 3 percent.

He targets FY15 fiscal deficit at 4.1 percent.

12:00pm Catch live: FY15 fiscal deficit target at 4.1%
The market is sitting idle with the Nifty stuck at 6050-level, as the Finance Minister P Chidmabaram presents UPA II's Vote on Account in Parliament. The Nifty is up 9.45 points at 6057.80. The Sensex is up 38.09 points at 20404.91. About 1013 shares have advanced, 1099 shares declined. About 1013 shares have advanced, 1099 shares declined, and 142 shares are unchanged.

The  FM P Chidambaram gives relief for some sectors. Excise duty for capital goods and consumer durables has been cut from 12 percent to 10 percent. Duty for small cars cut to 8 percent (from 12 percent), cut to 20 percent for large and mid segment cars and 24 percent (from 30 percent) for SUVs. There is no changes in tax lawsRelief in service tax for rice warehousing and storage. Excise duty cut for small cars to 8 percent from 12 percent. Excise duty cut by 2 percent for capital goods and consumer durables. There is no changes in tax laws.

Tata Power is up 4 percent while other gainers in the Sensex are Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC twins and Axis Bank. Losers in the Sensex include are Bajaj Auto, Coal India, Hindalco, Reliance and Tata Motors.

11:55 am  Finance Minister Speech: To amend FMC Act to strengthen commodity and derivatives market. Government ready with public debt management agency plan.

11:50 am Finance Minister Speech: Banks to lend Rs 8 lakh crore to agri sector in FY15. To give Rs 3,711 crore to minority affairs ministry in FY15

11:45 am Finance Minister Speech: FY15 food subsidy at Rs 1.15 lakh crore. FY15 fuel subsidy at Rs 65,000 crore. Rs 35,000 cr FY14 fuel subsidy to be rolled over. FY15 defence spend to be Rs 2.24 lakh crore versus Rs 2.04 lakh crore

11:40 am Finance Minister Speech: FY15 subsidies at Rs 2.46 lakh crore. FY14 non-plan expenditure will exceed Budget estimate marginally. FY15 plan expenditure kept at Rs 5.55 lakh crore.

11:37 am Finance Minister Speech: Promise Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will be rolled out throughout the country.

11:35 am Finance Minister Speech: To start 4 UMPPs in FY15 and set up MSME India Inclusion Innovation Fund with additional Rs 100 crore to allocate additional Rs 1,200 cr to north-eastern states.

11:30 am Market check: The market seems to be unmoved by Finance Minister P Chidmabaram's Vote on Account speech. The Sensex is up 51.90 points at 20418.72, and the Nifty is up 11.80 points at 6060.15. About 1012 shares have advanced, 1016 shares declined, and 136 shares are unchanged.

Coal India, Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma and Reliance are top losers in the Sensex. Among the gainers are Tata Power, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC twins and Axis Bank.

11:24 am Finance Minister Speech: FY14 GDP is seen at 4.9 percent. Farm credit is seen at Rs 7.35 lakh crore vs target of Rs 7 lakh crore. CAD will be contained at USD 45 bn. Fall in manufacturing investment is worrying.

11:21 am Finance Minister Speech: Food inflation continues to remain the main challenge. FY14 fiscal deficit is to be contained at 4.6 percent of GDP. Food grain production stands at 263 metric tones.

11:20 am Finance Minister Speech: Added USD 15 bn of forex reserves in FY14. Fiscal consolidation, reviving growth cycle is a priority

11:17 am Finance Minister Speech: Chidambaram says FY14 fiscal deficit is expected at 4.6 percent.

11:09 am FM begins speech: Finance Minister says global economic growth seen at 3 percent for 2013. He says that the world economy has witnessed slowdown in last few years.

11:05 am Market outlook: The market will approach the upcoming elections as a binary event, says Masha Gordon, VP & Head of Emerging Market Equities, Pimco. The key thing to watch for will be the government's commitment to fiscal consolidation, she says in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

Gordon says her fund house has been adding to their India position, more from a fundamental perspective than as a bet on the election result. Gordon is encouraged by the recent softening in inflation data and feels the recent rupee depreciation is in fact beneficial for the Indian economy.

The market is slightly higher as FM P Chidambaram begins his Vote on Account speech. Chidambaram is likely to announce some sops in the interim budget for fiscal 2014-15 to be presented in Parliament. The Sensex is up 56.21 points at 20423.03, and the Nifty up 13.90 points, at 6062.25. About 1000 shares have advanced, 909 shares declined, and 127 shares are unchanged.

Chidambaram is also likely to highlight the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance government's achievements and outline the vision for the future. The main budget for the financial year 2014-15 will be presented by the new government that will come into power after the general elections due by May.

Tata Power, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC, Axis Bank and ONGC are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Coal India, Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma and Reliance.

Meanwhile, gold hit fresh three-month highs on Monday, adding to gains after posting its biggest weekly rise in six months, as fears over US economic growth and a weaker dollar sent investors seeking the safe-haven metal.

US manufacturing output unexpectedly fell in January, recording its biggest drop in more than 4-1/2 years, as cold weather disrupted production in the latest indication the economy got off to a weak start this year.

10:55am All eyes on fiscal deficit
Adrian Mowat, Chief Asian & Emerging Equity Strategist at JPMorgan believes the finance minister will achieve the FY14 fiscal deficit target. He expects the Budget to have a modest impact on the Indian market.

For Mowat, one of the key things to watch out for would be whether the government can cut subsidy to 1.25 percent of GDP from 2 percent. He further expects FY15 borrowing target at Rs 6.3 lakh crore.

He believes the next government will be more populist in nature.

10:50am Power stocks gain
Shares of power companies gain after activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal resigned as chief minister of Delhi on Friday, frustrated by obstacles put in the way of an anti-corruption bill.

Reliance Infrastructure gains 0.4 percent, while Tata Power Company is up 2.6 percent.

Kejriwal was elected in part on a promise of lowering electricity tariffs for millions of Delhi's voters and in December had asked the state auditor to look into the accounts of power distribution companies to see if they were profiteering, reports Reuters.

The Delhi government had asked the region's power regulator to revoke the licences of two electricity distributors if they fail to supply power, drawing criticism from the companies.

Billionaire Anil Ambani's Reliance Infrastructure runs two electricity distribution companies in the national capital in a joint venture with the Delhi government.

10:45am Punj Lloyd down 4%
Shares of Punj Lloyd are under pressure after the company reported very poor performance in the quarter ended December 2013.

The company reported a loss of Rs 140 crore during the quarter as against profit after tax of Rs 8.8 crore. Total income fell 3.7 percent year-on-year to Rs 2,774 in the quarter gone by.

Operating profit margin dropped 490 basis points to 5.2 percent, one of the lowest in many years.

Order backlog stood at Rs 18,852 crore as on December 31, 2013 as against Rs 20,891 crore in previous quarter.

10:40am Experts on Vote on Account
Veteran broker and value investor Raamdeo Agrawal of Motilal Oswal says investors should focus more on the economy's fundamentals, which have been improving, rather than V o A. On a day everyone is talking about the FM, Agrawal seems more enthused with the RBI governor and hails him for his inflation-fighting methods.

Meanwhiel, the market will approach the upcoming elections as a binary event, says Masha Gordon, VP & Head of Emerging Market Equities, Pimco. "The key thing to watch for will be the government's commitment to fiscal consolidation," she says in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

Pimco has been adding to its India position, more from a fundamental perspective than as a bet on the election result, she says.

10:35am GSK Phama open offer to start on Tuesday
The global healthcare major plans to invest Rs 6,390 crore to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary to 75 percent from the existing 50.67 percent.

GlaxoSmithKline Pte along with GlaxoSmithKline Plc plans to acquire up to 2.06 crore shares of GSK Pharma at Rs.3,100 per share. The open offer begins Feb 18 and will close March 5, 2014.

10:25am Market Outlook
Equity investors almost seem to have taken for granted that the BJP-led NDA coalition will be returning to power after the Lok Sabha elections, says Shankar Sharma of First Global.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Sharma says the market is heavily ''over-leveraged'' on the ''Modi trade'', as he calls it, comparing it to a hyped up initial public offering. He cautioned that investors have never made money on hyped up IPOs.

He expects NDA to fall short of the 272-seat mark, and sees the Third Front getting between 150-200 seats. Sharma's prediction is that the Congress and Third Front may come together to form a government after the elections.

Sharma sees 2014 as being a treacherous year for global equities in general. But he is bullish on India, and says that but for the uncertainty over the election results, India is far better placed than most other markets.

10:20am Bharti may buy Loop Mobile
Bharti Airtel may announce Loop Mobile buyout within two days, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting sources.

The top telecom operator will have over 7 million customers in Mumbai post this Buyout.

Sources said Bharti-Loop Mobile deal is in final stages of negotiation. Loop Mobile is being valued at Rs 700 crore, sources add.

Bharti Airtel and Loop Mobile declined to comment.

10:10am Cox & Kings on buyers' radar
Shares of Cox & Kings gained 5 percent in early trade on Monday, continuing upmove for the second consecutive session after strong set of numbers in October-December quarter.

The travel company on Friday reported over 10-fold rise in net profit at Rs 31 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2013 compared to the same period of previous financial year, mainly due to surge in demand for education travel. Its net profit stood at Rs 3 crore in the corresponding period last year, the travel company said in a release.

Net sales improved by 15 percent at Rs 408 crore during the quarter, against Rs 357 crore in the year-ago period.

10:05am Market Expert
The Vote on Account is unlikely to hold any major surprises for the market, feels UBS's Gautam Chhaochharia. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Chhaochharia said investors would quickly shift focus from the fiscal numbers to global and election cues after today.

Should global markets strengthen, India will be one of the big gainers, he says.

He does not expect the government to reverse the curbs on gold imports because it is not a politically sensitive issue. Chhaochharia is bullish on IT, telecom, but feels it is too early to bet on cyclical sectors. He is advising investors to buy selective private sector banks and power stocks, and is recommending a sell on Titan.

10:00am The market is marginally higher with the Nifty holding 6050 level ahead of Vote on Account today. Tata Power topped the buying list, rising over 2.5 percent followed by Dr Reddy's Labs with 1.8 percent upmove.

The Sensex rose 60.96 points to 20,427.78, and the Nifty advanced 16.60 points to 6064.95. About 811 shares have advanced, 702 shares declined, and 96 shares are unchanged.

Country's largest private sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank climbed over 0.5 percent while housing finance company HDFC gained 1 percent.

Top lender SBI recouped its early losses to trade flat. The stock was down 0.5 percent in opening trade on account of the bank cut bulk deposit interest rates by 75 bps on 61 days to more than one year tenor to 7 percent. It also reduces retail term deposit rate on some tenors by up to 50 bps.

Infosys advanced 0.7 percent as president UB Pravin Rao told analysts that senior level exits are not to impact company's performance.

However, Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, Hero Motocorp, BHEL and Coal India lost 0.5-1 percent.

9:55 am Stock in focus: Shares of Suzlon fell 9 percent intraday on Monday even though its losses shrunk in December quarter. The wind turbine maker's Q3 FY14 net losses fell to Rs 1,075.25 crore from Rs 1,154.53 crore a year ago.

The Pune-based company's total income during the third quarter ended December 31 increased to Rs 5,052.2 crore from Rs 4,047.71 crore a year-ago.

"We are reporting losses mainly due to lower sales, adverse impact of foreign currency fluctuation and the restructuring cost that comes in the Ebitda. But our sales have improved on year-on-year basis," Suzlon Group finance head Kirti Vagadia said.

9:45 am FII view: Adrian Mowat, Chief Asian & Emerging Equity Strategist at JPMorgan believes the finance minister P Chidambaram will achieve the FY14 fiscal deficit target. He expects the Vote on Account to have a modest impact on the Indian market.

For Mowat, one of the key things to watch out for would be whether the government can cut subsidy to 1.25 percent of GDP from 2 percent. He further expects FY15 borrowing target at Rs 6.3 lakh crore.

He believes the next government will be more populist in nature.

9:35 am Market outlook: Trader Atul Suri is positive on the Indian equities and says that the market has done better than its peers.

"India has been very impressive in spite of FII selling and in spite of what is happening in the emerging market space; we are still doing well and if you go low and starts seeing sector and stock specific; there are some very impressive stories," he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview. He expects the Nifty to find support in 5,970-6,000 range.  He further added that fundamentally, strong stocks will continue to be rewarded and market participants are likely buy stocks on dips than the index.

9:25 am Buzzing: Shares of DLF jumped over 1 percent intraday on Monday after it announced December quarter earnings. The realty firm DLF today has reduced net debt by over Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 17,400 crore following proceeds from sale of luxury hotel chain Amanresorts, and a refund from DDA.

The net debt had increased to Rs 19,926 crore at the end of December quarter, from Rs 1,9508 crore as on September 30.

"Current net debt is at Rs 17,400 crore (approx). We maintain the FY14 guidance of net debt of Rs 17,500-18,000 crore," DLF said.

The market has opened on a positive note as all eyes are focused on the Vote on Account that Finance Minister P Chidambaram will announce in the Parliament today at 11 am. The Sensex is up 71.76 points at 20438.58, and the Nifty is up 9.80 points at 6058.15. About 185 shares have advanced, 84 shares declined, and 11 shares are unchanged.

Tata Motors, Tata Power, L&T, Axis Bank and Dr Reddy's Labs are top losers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Coal India and Reliance.

The Indian rupee opened on flat note at 61.96 per dollar versus 61.92 Friday. The dollar languishes at six-week lows against a basket of major currencies, still struggling to get over yet more disappointing US economic data.

Traders say Friday's close below 80.15 could pave the way for further downside. And the euro has touched a three-week high of USD 1.37.

Asian markets rose on Monday while investors shrugged off weak economic data from Japan.

Meanwhile, crude prices gain, supported by a weaker dollar. And in the precious metals space, gold prices hit fresh three-month highs adding to gains after posting its biggest weekly rise in six months.