Bulls back Sensex for 4th day, Nifty up 2.7% in Feb series

The 50-share NSE benchmark saw one-sided rally on Wednesday, an expiry day for February derivative contracts. Healthcare, banks, capital goods and FMCG stocks helped the index hold 6,200 level.

Benchmarks closed higher for the fourth consecutive session. The Sensex rose 134.52 points to 20,986.99 and the Nifty climbed 38.75 points to 6,238.80.

For the February series, former gained 2.2 percent and latter rallied 2.7 percent supported by banks and capital goods stocks, but broader markets outperformed benchmarks. CNX Midcap and BSE Smallcap indices jumped over 4 percent.

Overall it was a volatile series for the market; the lowest point for the Nifty during the series was 5933.30 and the highest point 6245.95.

Now coming to the March series that will begin on Friday, experts believe the Nifty may touch 6,300-6.400 during the series while in the year 2014, they expect 6800-6900 levels.

Manishi Raychaudhuri of BNP Paribas Securities said that the broking firm has upgraded India to overweight from underweight. He expects 10-15 percent upside move in the Nifty this year and sees it ending 2014 in range of 6,800-6,900.

However, till the general elections overhang is out of the way, the market is likely to move sideways with a positive bias, he said.

Indian equity market will be shut on Thursday for Mahashivratri.

State-run GAIL topped the buying list, rising 3 percent followed by cigarette major ITC and utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra with a 2 percent upmove.

Dr Reddy's Labs closed at a record high of Rs 2,823 on launch of Sumatriptan injection USP (to treat symptoms of migraine headaches) in the US market. The stock gained 1.77 percent.

State-run capital goods major BHEL continued its upmove for the third consecutive session, rising 1.6 percent today on reports that LIC may buy stake 5 percent stake in the company. It gained around 6 percent in three sessions.

Wipro rose 1.4 percent in addition to 3 percent upmove in previous session on getting 10-year contract from UK's Carillion Plc.

Housing financing company HDFC, top lender State Bank of India, two-wheeler makers Bajaj Auto and Hero Motocorp climbed one percent.

However, metals lost shine with BSE Metal Index falling 1.8 percent. Tata Steel fell over 3 percent and Sesa Sterlite declined 2.6 percent. Coal India slipped over a percent.

Tata Power lost 1.85 percent. The company said it would sell 30 percent stake in Indonesian coal mine for USD 120 million.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court has issued non-bailable warrant against Sahara group owner Subrata Roy. Sahara head failed to appear in SC today despite summons; hence Supreme Court expressed anguish at Sahara head not appearing in court.

03:50 pm World market watch:
World shares struggled to stay above water on Wednesday as concerns over opaque policy moves in China kept investors on edge amid a scarcity of major economic data, reports Reuters.

Chinese share markets and the yuan had stabilised overnight after sharp falls on Tuesday as the central bank continued its gradual squeeze on the yuan.

Dealers suspect the People's Bank of China has engineered the recent decline in its currency to inject more two-way volatility into the market and wrong-foot speculators who had amassed huge positions wagering on its continued rise.

03:40 pm Market closing
The market ended February series on a strong note. The Nifty closed at 6238.80, up 38.75 points while the Sensex was up 134.52 points at 20986.99. About 1342 shares have advanced, 1314 shares declined, and 144 shares are unchanged.

GAIL was the top gainer in the Sensex with a gain of 3 percent, followed by  ITC, M&M, Dr Reddy's Labs and BHEL.

Among the laggards are Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Tata Power, Coal India and Maruti Suzuki.

03:30 pm FII view
Jeff Chowdhry, head of Emerging Equities, F&C Investments believes the European markets are better placed than the US markets which seem to be overvalued. He is bullish on emerging markets and expects good returns from them over the next three-five years.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Chowdhry says the rupee is currently undervalued. According to him, the improving current account deficit is positive for India though fiscal deficit and inflation still plague the country.

Chowdhry believes India's current account deficit will continue to improve in 2014. He, however, does not see a big pick-up in growth. He is not overweight on Indian equities before the polls and is unlikely to participate in a pre-election rally.

03:20 pm Buzzing
Shares of Lupin gained more than a percent intraday on Wednesday on receiving final approval from US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for its Rifabutin capsules.

"...received final approval for its Rifabutin capsules USP, 150 mg from the USFDA to market a generic version of Pharmacia and Upjohn Company's Mycobutin capsules 150 mg," the company said in its filing.

The company said its US subsidiary would commence marketing the product shortly.

Lupin's Rifabutin Capsules is indicated for the prevention of disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in patients with advanced HIV infection.

03:10 pm Results
Clariant Chemicals, a specialty chemicals manufacturer, posted a loss of Rs 6.1 crore during October-December quarter (Q4CY13) as against profit of Rs 22 crore in same quarter last year.

The negative bottomline was due to exceptional loss of Rs 13.93 crore during the quarter.

Net sales during the quarter declined 4.4 percent year-on-year to Rs 270.5 crore on account of lower revenue from dyes and specialty chemicals segment.

The company follows January-December as a financial year.

02:55pm Bharti Airtel ups pre-paid call rates
Bharti Airtel has increased pre-paid call rates for some Delhi, Mumbai plans by 33 percent.

Top telecom operator raised Delhi 'Gold Plan' call rates by 33 percent to 2 paise per second and Mumbai '106 Plan Voucher' call rate by 33 percent to 40 paise per minute.

02:45pm Dr Reddy's Labs at record high on drug launch in US
Shares of Dr Reddy's Labs hit a record high at Rs 2844, up 2.5 percent. Investors are excited about the company as it launched Sumatriptan injection USP in the US market.

''It is a therapeutic equivalent generic version of Imitrex Statdose Pen (sumatriptan succinate) and was launched in the US market on February 25 following approval by the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA),'' it said in a statement.

Sumatriptan is used to treat symptoms of migraine headaches (severe, throbbing headaches that sometimes are accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light). The injection is an autoinjector system for subcutaneous use.

02:35pm Jagran talks to CNBC-TV18
RK Agarwal, CFO, Jagran Prakashan expects improvement in ad growth in the range of about 12-13 percent for FY14. He, however, does not see margins improving in this quarter as compared to Q3 but expects them to do better by atleast 200 basis points in 2014-2015.

Jagran Prakashan aims revenue growth of about 13-14 percent for FY15.

02:25pm Nikkei loses ground
Japan's Nikkei average fell on Wednesday after hitting a four-week closing high the previous day, as investors took profits after weak U.S. economic data soured sentiment.

The Nikkei ended 0.5 percent lower at 14,970.97. The broader Topix index slipped 0.7 percent to 1,225.35, with only 1.9 billion shares changing hands, the smallest volume since mid-December.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprising firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, dropped 0.7 percent to 11,081.54, reports Reuters.

02:15pm FII View
John Praveen, MD and chief investment strategist, Pramerica International Investment Advisers is underweight on emerging markets (EMs) relative to developed markets (DMs). In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he said despite attractive valuations, there are too many wildcards in EMs hence he prefers DMs over EMs.

He further added that India is faring better compared to other EMs, but global fund managers are now focussing on outcome of general elections and are expected to be on the sidelines till this key event plays out. Like most market experts, he also believes that elections could be a key trigger for FII fund inflows. He sees currency stability and GDP growth as key catalysts for Indian market.

Pramerica International Investment Advisers handles investments worth USD 400-500 million in equity and debt segment.

02:00pm Equity benchmarks extended gains in last hour of trade with the Nifty heading towards positive close for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, a expiry day for February derivative contracts.

The Sensex rose 131.08 points to 20,983.55 and the Nifty advanced 34.60 points to 6,234.65. About 1279 shares have advanced, 1239 shares declined, and 150 shares are unchanged.
 
Top lender State Bank of India and cigarette major ITC gained 1.5 percent each while pharma majors Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's Labs gained over 2 percent.

Software services provider Wipro gained another 2.4 percent in addition to 3 percent upmove in previous session on getting large order.

Shares of HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, Infosys, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, HUL, Tata Motors and Bharti Airtel gained between 0.3-0.7 percent.

Supreme Court has issued non-bailable warrant against Sahara group owner Subrata Roy for March 4. Sahara head failed to appear in SC today despite summons; hence Supreme Court expressed anguish at Sahara head not appearing in court.

2:00 Asian market check: Japan's Nikkei average fell after hitting a four-week closing high the previous day, as investors took profits after weak US economic data soured sentiment.

The Nikkei ended 0.5 percent lower at 14,970.97. The broader Topix index slipped 0.7 percent to 1,225.35, with only 1.9 billion shares changing hands, the smallest volume since mid-December.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprising firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, dropped 0.7 percent to 11,081.54.

1:50 pm Business: RK Agarwal, CFO, Jagran Prakashan expects improvement in ad growth in the range of about 12-13 percent for FY14. He, however, does not see margins improving in this quarter as compared to Q3 but expects them to do better by atleast 200 basis points in 2014-2015.

Jagran Prakashan aims revenue growth of about 13-14 percent for FY15.

"General elections are beneficial for us, no doubt about that. As far as bump is concerned, I expect around 2-3 percent bump maybe next year," he said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

1:40 pm Buzzing: Shares of Clariant Chemicals, a specialty chemicals manufacturer, slipped 6 percent intraday on Wednesday after the company reported a loss of Rs 6.1 crore during October-December quarter (Q4CY13).

The negative bottomline was due to exceptional loss of Rs 13.93 crore during the quarter. It had posted a profit of Rs 22 crore in same quarter last year.

Net sales during the quarter declined 4.4 percent year-on-year to Rs 270.5 crore on account of lower revenue from dyes and specialty chemicals segment.

1:30 pm Market outlook: Manishi Raychaudhuri of BNP Paribas Securities said that the broking firm has upgraded India to overweight from underweight. He expect 10-15 percent upside move in the Nifty this year and sees it ending 2014 in range of 6,800-6,900. However, till the general elections overhang is out of the way, the market is likely to move sideways with a positive bias, he said.

Continuing his bullish tone, he said market gains are seen in-line with earnings growth. One is now seeing signs of earnings estimate improving and after many months of earnings downgrade, FY14 EPS is up 2-3 percent. For FY14, Sensex EPS is seen at Rs 1,250.

Export-oriented sectors like IT, pharma and automobiles have seen biggest earnings upgrades. From the auto space, Tata Motors has witnessed a significant upgrade.  He expects to see mild positive surprise in private banks. ''Private banks and oil marketing companies saw EPS upgrades last quarter.  We see 15 percent growth in FY15 EPS estimates,'' he added.

The market is higher ahead of February F&O expiry today. The Sensex is up 101.21 points at 20953.68, and the Nifty gains 24.75 points at 6224.80.  About 1208 shares have advanced, 1180 shares declined, and 145 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, Wipro, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs and ITC are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the laggards are Tata Steel, Sesa Strelite, Coal India, Tata Power and ONGC.

After domestic investors raise concerns on Maruti's arrangement with Suzuki for its Gujarat plant, RC Bhargav, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki says that the company will reach out to LIC and other investors over the next few days. He adds that there is no question of Maruti Suzuki becoming a mere distributor and the deal with Suzuki is good for minority shareholders.

 In the Sahara's Rs 24,000 crore debentures refund cas, the Supreme Court has rejected Sahara Chief Subrato Roy's plea seeking exemption from appearing in person before the apex court. Roy along with three other directors of Sahara will appear before the apex court today.

12:59pm Tata Power may hike Mundra utilisation post CERC order
Tata Power may increase the utilisation at its Mundra plant from the current 80 percent after the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission ordered an increase in the tariff it charges to sell power.

Last week, the electricity regulator allowed for a 54 paise increase to Rs 2.90 per kWh after the company had raised concerns about the cost of coal imports rising steeply.

At a press conference, the firm's managing director Anil Sardana said customers would gain from the CERC compensatory tariff and added that cost of power for the producer still stood at Rs 4 per unit, or below the market price.

Talking about Tata Power's financials, Sardana said its interest cost burden had increased to Rs 250 crore per year because of foreign exchange variations.

At the end of March 2013, the company had a consolidated debt of Rs 36,655 crore, nearly three times its net worth of Rs 12,326 crore.

12:50pm Paper Products at record high post Huhtavefa raises stake in co
Investors are lapping up shares of Paper Products after the company's foreign partner raised stake to 63.78 percent though off-market transaction last week. The stock touched a record high of Rs 94.80, rising 13.6 percent intraday.

Huhtavefa BV purchased another 3.01 percent stake in the company that was a off-market purchase transaction through a negotiated private placement, as per disclosures submitted by the company to exchanges.

Paper Products (PPL) is a subsidiary of Finland-based Huhtamaki Packaging Worldwide. Huhtamaki was holding 60.77 percent (or 3,80,95,166 equity shares) in PPL through its holding company Huhtavefa BV.

"Suresh Gupta said he has sold 1,88,48,087 equity shares (representing 3.01 percent stake) of the company through off-market transaction to other member of the promoter group through negotiated private placement," according to filing with the BSE.

The sale value of the transaction was Rs 35.82 crore while the current market capitalisation of the company stands at Rs 580.17 crore.

12:40pm Market Update
The Sensex rose 93.41 points to 20945.88 and the Nifty climbed 22.90 points to 6222.95.

ITC extended gains to 1.5 percent. GAIL topped the buying list in the Sensex, rising 3 percent.

Wipro gained another 1.5 percent in addition to 3 percent rally in previous session on getting large order.

Top lender State Bank of India climbed over a percent while HDFC and HDFC Bank advanced 0.4 percent each.

Larsen & Toubro, Infosys, Reliance Industries and HUL are up 0.4-0.8 percent. Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's Labs gained over 1 percent.

12:30pm Losers in Sensex
Sesa Sterlite lost another 3 percent in addition to 2 percent loss in previous session. Agencies report on Tuesday suggests that Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has conducted raids in company's office in Goa.

Tata Steel and Coal India fell over 2 percent followed by Tata Power with over a percent loss. TCS, Maruti, Tata Motors and NTPC are marginally lower.

12:20pm India Cements gains for second day
Investors continued to buy shares of  India Cements for the second consecutive session today ahead of board meet to consider merger of two subsidiaries with self. The stock climbed 5 percent in two sessions and now it is up 1.6 percent.

"Meetings of the audit committee and board of directors of the company will be held on February 26 to consider the scheme of amalgamation of Trinetra Cement and Trishul Concrete Products (subsidiary companies) with the company," the company said in its filing.

Hence, the trading window for dealing in the company's shares remains closed from February 24, 2014 to February 27, 2014 (both days inclusive).

12:10pm Polaris on buyers' radar
Shares of Polaris Financial Technology soared 13 percent, hitting a 22-month high at Rs 163.10 today. According to CNBC-TV18 sources, US based Fiserv is in talks to acquire the midcap IT player.

It is learnt that due diligence process is in the final stage and valuations are being worked out. Fiserv is eyeing both the services and product businesses of Polaris.

Post the deal Chairman and Group CEO of Polaris, Arun Jain is likely to join the board of Fiserv. Jain is likely to be head of services business. The deal may also trigger open offer.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks maintained positive momentum in noon trade supported by FMCG, capital goods and healthcare stocks. However, the selling in steel, power and auto stocks capped the upside.

The Sensex advanced 59.15 points to 20,911.62 and the Nifty rose 14.15 points to 6,214.20. About 1131 shares have advanced, 1076 shares declined, and 124 shares are unchanged.

Manishi Raychaudhuri of BNP Paribas Securities India said the Nifty started the year around 6,100 and 6,800-6,900 would be a decent target for the Nifty until the year ends.

"It would involve the market moving up in line with earnings growth without much of a rerating. Of course if one gets some kind of a superlative outcome in the general elections, all these calculations could go awry and pretty significant rerating could also come in but we are not taking into account those extraordinary events at this point in time," he added.

11:50 am Buzzing: Investors continued to buy shares of India Cements for the second consecutive session on Wednesday ahead of board meet to consider merger of two subsidiaries with self. The stock climbed 5 percent in two sessions.

"Meetings of the audit committee and board of directors of the company will be held on February 26 to consider the scheme of amalgamation of Trinetra Cement and Trishul Concrete Products (subsidiary companies) with the company," the company said in its filing.

Hence, the trading window for dealing in the company's shares remains closed from February 24, 2014 to February 27, 2014 (both days inclusive).

11:40 am Tata Power press conference: Tata Power may increase utilisation at its Mundra plant from the current 80 percent after the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission ordered an increase in the tariff it charges to sell power.

Last week, the electricity regulator allowed for a 54 paise increase to Rs 2.90 per kWh after the company had raised concerns about the cost of coal imports rising steeply.

At a press conference, the firm's managing director Anil Sardana said customers would gain from the CERC compensatory tariff and added that cost of power for the producer still stood at Rs 4 per unit, or below the market price.

11:30 am Big deal: Shares of Polaris Financial Technology soared 13 percent, hitting a 22-month high at Rs 163.10 intraday on Wednesday. According to CNBC-TV18 sources, US based Fiserv is in talks to acquire the midcap IT player.

It is learnt that due diligence process is in the final stage and valuations are being worked out. Fiserv is eyeing both the services and product businesses of Polaris.

Post the deal Chairman and Group CEO of Polaris, Arun Jain is likely to join the board of Fiserv. Jain is likely to be head of services business. The deal may also trigger open offer.

11:20 am Interview: The year 2014 looks promising owing to a high number of marriage mahurats, says company chairman Dilip Piramal.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18's, Piramal says about 40 percent of the company's profits are generated in the first quarter of the year due to more number of travel tours and marriages. He expects revenue growth at 12-15 percent this fiscal.

On the possibility of a price hike, he adds that the company hikes product prices once a year, depending on the input costs. ''As of now, things look steady,'' says Piramal.

The market is firm with mild gains. The Sensex is up 54.13 points at 20906.60, and the Nifty is up 14.40 points at 6214.45. About 1074 shares have advanced, 884 shares declined, and 89 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, Sun Pharma, Wipro, SBI and M&M are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the laggards are Sesa Sterlite, Coal India, Tata Steel, Tata Power and Sesa Sterlite.

The rupee is marginally lower but remains supported as equities trade firm. Bonds are higher tracking a fall in US treasury yields on Tuesday.

The euro held on to previous gains while Asian currencies fell against the dollar as weaker-than-expected US data on Tuesday spurred risk aversion globally. The Thai baht, Indonesia rupiah, Korean won and Chinese yuan were trading slightly lower.

Asian markets trade mixed with weak economic data from the US hitting sentiment.
10:59am Maruti to clarify on Suzuki arrangement this week

Maruti Suzuki's plan to outsource manufacturing to Suzuki in Gujarat, has not gone down well with domestic mutual funds and financial institutions. The investors are questioning corporate governance at India's largest car manufacturer, and have urged the company to reconsider its decision.

However, CNBC-TV18 learns that in order to allay investor concerns, the auto major will give fresh clarification this week on the Suzuki deal.

The DFIs have urged the company to reconsider its decision.

10:50am FII View
Joshua Van Lin, Macquarie said election expectations could trigger PE re-rating. "Ahead of the 2009 election, India saw a significant PE re-rating, which drove the market up by 50-60 percent, he added.

He believes India could see a similar re-rating in 2014 on a 15-20 percent jump or fall in multiples due to binary expectations about the outcome of general election; either a strong mandate for reform or a hung parliament.

10:40am Change in BSE indices
BSE in its release on Tuesday said it will shift 106 scrips to trade- to-trade segment from March 3.

Arvind, Indraprastha Gas and Matra Kaushal Enterprise will replace Castrol India in S&P BSE 200, S&P BSE Oil & Gas and S&P BSE 500 indices, respectively with effect from February 28, 2014.

10:30am Mahindra CIE sees 50-250% returns for minority shareholders
Minority shareholders could see returns of 50-250 percent from Mahindra CIE since the auto ancillary company is seeing steady growth in most of the countries CIE operates, Hemant Luthra, President, Mahindra Systech said.

In June last year, Spanish group CIE Automotive's entities made open offers worth over Rs 207 crore to the shareholders of Mahindra Forgings and Mahindra Composites, as part of its  complex cross-holding equity agreement with conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M).

''We thought that when the deal was done, it was a complex deal. People didn't realize that we will be creating huge value because the sector that we operate in India happened to be complimentary to whatever CIE is doing in Spain, Brazil and Mexico,'' he said.

Shares of Mahindra CIE surged 14 percent on Tuesday. In a block deal, Scholz AG sold 22 lakh shares of the company at Rs 64/piece and Sundaram Mutual Fund bought 15 lakh shares at Rs 64/piece yesterday.

He further added that the company has applied for SEBI nod on share swap three months ago and is likely to get approval soon. ''Mahindra Ugine, Mahindra Forgings and Mahindra CIE will be merged into one entity,'' he said.

10:20am VIP Industries talks to CNBC-TV18
Owing to better marriage mahurats in 2014, the company will have a good year ahead, says Dilip Piramal, chairman, VIP.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Piramal says 40 percent of the company's profit comes from the Q1 owing to more number of travel tours and marriages and adds that the company's revenue is expected to grow at around 12-15 percent.

On the possibility of a price hike, he adds that the company hikes product prices once a year, depending on the input costs. ''As of now, things look steady,'' says Piramal.

10:10am Sanofi India on buyers' radar post earnings
Shares of Sanofi India gained as much as 5.2 percent in early trade on Wednesday after the company's bottomline more than doubled during October-December quarter (Q4CY13). Now the stock is up 1.5 percent.

Net profit of the company increased to Rs 92.7 crore from Rs 44.8 crore on better growth in exports and exceptional gain.

"Significantly better export performance during the quarter and year ended December 31, 2013 has resulted in improvement in profitability of the company," the company said in its filing.

During the quarter gone by, it has reported an exceptional income of Rs 25.4 crore on sale of non-trade investments.

Net sales climbed 15 percent year-on-year to Rs 461.1 crore in the quarter ended December 2013. The company follows a January-December financial year.

For the full year 2013, Sanofi's net profit grew 50 percent to Rs 265.2 crore and sales jumped 14.2 percent to Rs 1,706.5 crore compared to previous year.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of the company on February 25 has recommended final dividend of Rs 35 per equity share for the year ended December 31, 2013.

10:00am The 30-share BSE benchmark is gradually inching towards 21000 level amid volatility supported by FMCG, banks, capital goods and healthcare stocks while the 50-share NSE benchmark is holding the 6200 level ahead of February series expiry.

The Sensex rose 76.55 points to 20,929.02 and the Nifty climbed 18.25 points to 6,218.30. About 889 shares have advanced, 614 shares declined, and 74 shares are unchanged.

India's largest lender State Bank of India gained a percent while its rival ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank advanced 0.2-0.4 percent. Housing finance company HDFC is up 0.2 percent.

FMCG majors ITC and Hindustan Unilever added 1 percent while healthcare stocks like Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's Labs climbed 1-1.4 percent.

Shares of Dr Reddy's Labs hit a record high of Rs 2823 today as it launched Sumatriptan Injection USP in the US market.

''It is a therapeutic equivalent generic version of Imitrex Statdose Pen (sumatriptan succinate) and was launched in the US market on February 25 following approval by the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA),'' it said in a statement.

9:50 am Buzzing: Shares of Dr Reddy's Labs hit record life at Rs 2823, up around 2 percent. Investors are excited about the company as it launched Sumatriptan Injection USP in the US market.

''It is a therapeutic equivalent generic version of Imitrex Statdose Pen (sumatriptan succinate) and was launched in the US market on February 25 following approval by the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA),'' it said in a statement.

Sumatriptan is used to treat symptoms of migraine headaches (severe, throbbing headaches that sometimes are accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light). The injection is an autoinjector system for subcutaneous use.

9:40 am Result impact: Drug firm Sanofi India jumped 2 percent after it posted over two-fold increase in its net profit at Rs 92.7 crore for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2013 on account of robust sales in export markets.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs 44.8 crore during the same period of previous fiscal, Sanofi India said in a filing to the BSE.

Net sales of the company rose to Rs 481.1 crore for the fourth quarter, as compared to Rs 400.7 crore during the same period of previous fiscal.

The company follows a January-December financial year. For the year ended December 31, 2013, the company posted a net profit of Rs 265.2 crore, compared to Rs 176.7 crore in 2012.

9:30 am FII view:Jyotivardhan Jaipuria, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's strategy continues to be a mix of rupee sensitive plays and domestic economy plays that benefit from reforms post-elections. He is overweight on a mix of pharma, IT, autos, private banks, oil and deep cyclicals, which include beaten down infrastructure names and PSU banks. His top buys include ICICI Bank, Lupin, Maruti, TCS and ONGC. Top midcap buys include Bharat Forge, Motherson Sumi, Aurobindo Pharma, Eicher Motors and LIC Housing.

Joshua Van Lin, Macquarie says, "Election expectations could trigger PE re-rating. Ahead of the 2009 election, India saw a significant PE re-rating, which drove the market up by 50-60 percent. We believe India could see a similar re-rating in 2014 on a 15-20 percent jump or fall in multiples due to binary expectations about the outcome of general election; either a strong mandate for reform or a hung parliament."

The market has opened flat on February series expiry. The Nifty is up 2.40 points at 6202.45. The Sensex is up 15.22 points at 20867.69, and About 230 shares have advanced, 80 shares declined, and 14 shares are unchanged.

Hindalco, Tata Power, NTPC, Bharti Airtel and Cipla are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the major laggards are M&M, L&T, Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors and Sesa Sterlite.

The Indian rupee opened on flat note at 61.95 per dollar versus 61.94 Tuesday. The yen is broadly firmer in early trade following a generally lackluster session that saw investors give the dollar a wide berth on the back of a decline in US treasury yields.

The dollar index trades near 80 levels, after nudging 0.1 percent lower with some traders pointing to mixed US data as a reason for its fall.

Robert Prior of Credit Suisse said, "We expect Governor Rajan to start hiking the repo rate again in another six months, with a total of 75 bps delivered by the March quarter of 2015. This in turn has led us to cut our 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 GDP growth forecasts by 60 bps to 6 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.''

''On rupee, we have a target of 64/USD against the dollar in 12 months. The 10-year yield is at 8.5 percent this time next year," he added.

Wall Street ended modestly lower with the S&P 500 backing off from a record close as investors weighed a decline in consumer confidence and better-than-expected earnings from home-improvement retailer home depot.

US economic data was too mixed to offer any lead. A closely watched housing survey showed home prices rose slightly more than expected in December, though February consumer confidence fell short of expectations.

Asian markets got off to a cautious start on Wednesday following a flat finish on Wall Street due to concerns over opaque policy moves in China kept investors on edge.

In commodities, crude oil edged up early after falling the previous day when industry data showed a build up in US crude stockpiles and renewed economic worries in China.

From precious metals space - bullion holds steady around USD 1,340 an ounce this morning, close to a four-month high hit a day earlier and after four sessions of gains, as recent economic data raised questions about the strength of the US economy.