Nifty ends above 6300 on FM booster shots; PSU banks rally

The 50-share NSE benchmark closed above the 6,300-mark for the first time since January 23 supported largely by PSU banks that rallied between 2-6 percent post FM conference.

The Sensex rose 67.13 points to 21276.86 and the Nifty climbed 30.70 points to 6328.65 that is 35 points away from all-time closing high of 6363.9.

As the Ukraine crisis eased and general elections dates announced, experts believe the market undertone will remain positive in the run upto the Lok Sabha elections that will be held in nine phases from April 7-May 12 . The elections results will be announced on May 16, Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath, chief election commissioner said.

The consensus expectation in the market is for a Narendra Modi led government to come into power, and if that happens then the market is sure to react positively, Girish Pai, Director, Claritas Research believes.

According to him, one could see a 5-10 percent run up for the Indian market till May 2014, and in case the election results are positive then it could see a further run up, but beyond that the market will focus on execution of policies that the new government will announce.

PSU banks hogged the limelight in last couple of hours of trade as finance minister P Chidambaram asked public sector undertaking banks to focus on recovery of bad loans, which are high among large corporate accounts.

While addressing a press conference after reviewing performance of PSU banks, he said the government would provide additional capital to PSU banks . He further said the RBI would issue bank licences before March 31.

Bank of Baroda topped the buying list among PSUs, rising 6 percent followed by Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce rose 4-4.6 percent. Top lender State Bank of India was up 1.7 percent while IDFC rose 3 percent.

Indian Bank surged nearly 6 percent as CNBC-TV18 reports quoting sources that the bank will sell Rs 854 crore worth of bad loans in March.

United Bank of India climbed 3 percent as Chidambaram said the bank has reduced its non-performing assets by Rs 1,200 crore and recovered Rs 400 crore in cash. ''United Bank NPAs are not an alarming case,'' he added.

Top private sector lender ICICI Bank rose 1.5 percent while its rival HDFC Bank was down 0.2 percent.

Brokerage house CLSA has added Maruti Suzuki to its high conviction buy list and set a target price of Rs 2,350 apiece. Maruti was up 1.5 percent.

Shares of ONGC, Cipla, Tata Steel, Coal India and Hindalco Industries gained 1-1.7 percent.

However, Tata Power fell 3 percent followed by Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors and GAIL with 0.8-1.7 percent loss.

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet rallied 6 percent after the company on Tuesday announced a major top-management reshuffle and induction of new CFO R Neelakantan.

Bharti Infratel gained 4.5 percent after the company signed an agreement for tower infrastructure sharing with Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were up 1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1480 to 1172 on the BSE.
03:40 pm Market closing

The market ended on a strong note after a busy day as Election Commission announced the 9-phased polling dates starting from April 7-May 12. FM's assurance after meeting PSU banks CEO also boosted sentiments. Bank Nifty ended with a gain of 1.5 percent with major contribution from state-owned banks like Bank of Baroda, United Bank and PNB.

ICICI Bank, Coal India, Cipla, SBI and Maruti Suzuki were top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers were Tata Power, Bharti Airtel, GAIL, Reliance and Tata Motors.

The Nifty was 30.70 points at 6328.65 while the Sensex closed at 21276.86, up 67.13 points. About 1481 shares advanced, 1172 shares declined, and 148 shares were unchanged.

03:30 pm Macro data
India's exports will not be able to achieve the target of USD 325 billion in the current fiscal and will fall short by about USD 10 billion, FIEO said.

"Domestic factors like declining manufacturing growth and slow improvement in the global demand are the main reasons for slow growth in the country's exports.

"We will not be able to achieve the USD 325 billion exports target," Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) President Rafeeq Ahmed said.

03:20 pm Earnings
Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of Vizag Steel, today said its turnover up to February 28 in the current fiscal recorded 2 percent growth to Rs 11,766 crore.

The PSU had clocked Rs 11,504 crore revenue for the 11 months period of last fiscal, 2012-13.

Exports recorded 72 percent growth at Rs 725 crore during the 11-month period compared to of Rs 421 crores for the same period last year, 2013-14.

According to a release issued by the steel maker, during February, it reported 11 per cent and 20 per cent growth in liquid steel and saleable steel production respectively compared to February 2013.

03:10 pm Macro outlook
The new government will need to revive investments and push infrastructure projects within the three months of being elected to bring economic growth back on track, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said.

"In my view, if these problems are not solved within the first three months, you can forget about getting back to high (economic) growth," Ahluwalia said when asked how important reviving investments and pushing growth would be for the new government after the general elections. Speaking on the sidelines of a CII conference titled.

"Reviving Investments: Imperatives of Project Clearance', he said, "Any government that fails to solve this should actually announce that we cancel the growth path." An annual average economic growth of 8 percent is targetted in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), which was approved by the country's apex decision making body National Development Council (NDC) and all cabinet and chief ministers on its board in December 2012.

02:55pm Bharti Infratel still on buyers' radar
Bharti Infratel gained for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday. Tower infrastructure provider on Tuesday signed a master services agreement with Reliance Jio Infocomm, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries. The stock rallied 26 percent in six sessions and today gained as much as 12 percent to touch a 52-week high of Rs 205 apiece. Now it is up 5.4 percent.

According to agreement, Reliance Jio would utilise the telecom tower infrastructure of Bharti Infratel to launch its services across the country and the pricing would be at 'arm's length,' based on prevailing market rates, the company said in its filing.

"We are delighted with this agreement to offer our world-class telecom infrastructure to Reliance Jio. The agreement would also benefit our existing customers with lower rentals and energy charges as a result of additional sharing," DS Rawat, CEO, Bharti Infratel said.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Mashruwala, managing director, Reliance Jio said this agreement was aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment. "The agreement will help us with the faster roll out of our services across the country," he added.

Bharti Infratel, which has 35,000 towers of its own, has 42 percent stake in Indus Towers. Hence, Reliance Jio will have access to 82,000 towers across the 22 telecom circles.

02:45pm NHAI talks to CNBC-TV18
The Finance Ministry decision to reschedule premium for roads, as suggested by the Rangarajan Committee, is likely to benefit 21 highway projects, says RP Singh, Chairman NHAI. "Almost all big concessionaries are likely to benefit from the new norms," he told CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy.

The approval is effective from today while Highway Ministry and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will take it up on case-to-case basis now.

As per the new norms, the developer will have to pay interest equal to bank rate+2 percent on premium amount deferred. The road developer will have to clear due premium collected due to years of deferment a year before its concession period gets over. The recommendations also propose penalty for projects, where delay on account of fault of project developer.

Post this move, road projects worth Rs 20,000 crore (awarded between 2011 and 2013) could be scrapped and might see re-bidding. According to Singh, projects where construction has started are also eligible. He said projects for 2 to 4 laning expansion will benefit majorly from the norms.
 
The FY14 target for road awards was revised down from 9,000 km to 5,000 km.

02:35pm Autoline Industries spikes 8%
Shares of Autoline Industries rose 8 percent ahead of its board meeting scheduled on March 11.

The company said that the board will look at various options of raising funds to meet funding requirements via full disinvestment of stock or shares in Autoline Industries Inc, USA.

''The trading window for dealing in securities of the company will therefore, remain closed from March 04, 2014 to March 12, 2014 as per the company's policy and procedure on Insider Trading framed pursuant to SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 1992 as amended from time to time,'' it said in a statement to BSE.

The Pune-based leading auto components manufacturer had acquired the US arm in 2007. The US arm produces automotive bottle jacks, scissor jacks and related products for automotive jack tool kits. Through Autoline Industries Inc. USA, it had started operations by the name of Autoline Stampings Limited in South Korea, to support a Global Small Car Program of OEMs.

02:25pm SpiceJet flies 7% post management overhaul
Low-cost airline SpiceJet announced a major top-management reshuffle on Tuesday.

The troubled airline, which triggered a fare war in the Indian skies over the past few months, has re-appointed R Neelakantan as CFO.

Neelakantan served as SpiceJet's chief financial officer from November 2010 to February 2013, and is returning to this role after serving as the Head of Internal Audit for the Sun Group (of which SpiceJet is a part) in the interim period.

The move follows after the current CFO Sam Issac quit the airline, apparently over differences on operational policy, said media reports.

In February, SpiceJet named Kaneswaran Avili as its Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).

SpiceJet has also appointed Shilpa Bhatia as Senior VP of Sales and Distribution. Bhatia, who joined the airline from the Sahara Group two weeks ago, will be replacing V Raja, who is due to retire by month-end.

The airline further announced the appointment of Sudhakar Kondisetty as Senior VP of Information Technology. Kondisetty replaces Virendar Pal, who had also earlier expressed his desire to pursue other opportunities.

Also, Fares Azeem Kilpady, from Air Asia X, will be joining the airline as VP and Head of Revenue Management from from April 1. Anurag Jain will now take on the role of Senior VP, Network Planning and Strategy Development.

''I am delighted at the addition of highly talented and experienced professionals with world class credentials to the SpiceJet management team,'' said Chief Operating Officer Sanjiv Kapoor.

02:15pm Market Expert
The consensus expectation in the market is for a Narendra Modi led government to come into power, and if that happens then the market is sure to react positively believes Girish Pai, Director, Claritas Research.

According to him one could see a  5-10 percent run up for the Indian market till May 2014, and in case the election results are positive then it could see a further run up but beyond that the market will focus on execution of policies that the new government will announce.

Therefore, one can expect a positive undertone to the market at least till the run up to the Budget since no one believes that Narendra Modi has a magic wand that would set things right immediately says Pai.

If a pro-growth government comes to power then cyclicals-trade would come into focus because some of the money that is focused on defensives like IT, Pharma etc would shift into cyclicals like cheaper private banks, larger PSU banks, capital goods, some oil and gas companies says Pai.

However, Pai expects FY15 to be a difficult year for our market and sees in a 5% range.

02:00pm The market gained more strength in last hour of trade supported by banks and technology stocks. However, European markets are flat after previous day's rally.

The Sensex rose 81.49 points to 21291.22 and the Nifty advanced 30.30 points to 6328.25. Advancers beat decliners by a ratio of 1374 to 1139 on the BSE.

PSU banks are strong with the Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank rallying 5-6 percent followed by State Bank of India with 1.7 percent upmove. Private sector lender ICICI Bank surged 2 percent and Axis Bank advanced over a percent.

Finance minister P Chidambaram said the government would provide additional capital to PSU banks. "Banks must look to retain earnings to infuse capital. The government will give more capital to help PSU banks meet basel norms," he elaborated.

Non-banking finance company IDFC jumped over 3 percent. Chidambaram said Reserve Bank of India has indicated bank licences process will continue. It is an indication that RBI will issue bank licences before March, he added.

1:50 pm FM meets PSU Banks CEOs: FM says growth in deposits and credit up to December-end is higher on yearly basis.. He has asked PSU banks to focus on sectors where growth is weak but feels that biggest challenge PSU banks are facing is non-performing assets (NPAs).

Here is what he said:

  • PSU banks' NPAs high in large corporate sector
  • NPAs have come down in real estate sector
  • NPAs higher as they are system generated, no longer hidden
  • PSU banks are focussing on recovery of NPAs
  • April-December actual bad loan recovery at Rs 18,933 crore
  • Govt will provide additional capital to PSU banks
  • Banks must look to retain earnings to infuse capital
  • Give more capital to help PSU Banks meet basel norms
  • RBI will issue bank licences before March 31

1:40 pm Buzzing: Tata Communications' stock advanced as much as 2 percent intraday on Wednesday as the company has signed a collaboration agreement with Turkey-based telecom operator Turkcell Superonline. Both will set up a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) node in Istanbul.

"This partnership will enable businesses in Turkey, and adjoining countries where Turkcell Superonline has established cross-border fibre connectivity, to connect to Tata Communications' global MPLS and Ethernet networks," the company said in its filing.

Other value-added services such as video conferencing and managed security can also be accessed through this point-of-presence (PoP).

1:30 pm Market outlook: According to Girish Pai, Director, Claritas Research, one can see a  5-10 percent run up for the Indian market till May 2014,. In case the election results are positive then it could see a further run up but beyond that the market will focus on execution of policies that the new government will announce, he adds.

If a pro-growth government comes to power then cyclicals-trade would come into focus because some of the money that is focused on defensives like IT, Pharma etc would shift into cyclicals like cheaper private banks, larger PSU banks, capital goods, some oil and gas companies says Pai.

After some sluggishness, the market has picked up momentum again with Nifty clutching 6300 firmly. The Nifty is up 30.05 points at 6328.00 and the Sensex is up 91.15 points at 21300.88. About 1304 shares advanced, 1140 shares declined, and 132 shares were unchanged.

Election commission has announced a 9-phase Lok Sabha Polls from April 7 to May 12. The votes will be counted on May 16.

Traders expect  strong gains this year as solid foreign investor flows, a more stable rupee on the back of a narrowing current account deficit are more than offsetting global uncertainties such as the US Federal Reserve's tapering of its monthly bond buying, reports Reuters.

Although market is widely expect a victory for the main opposition party BJP , whether it can clinch a majority could be the joker in the pack, although similar uncertainties about outcomes in previous elections have not prevented gains.

Globally, Asian markets trade higher as tensions in Ukraine ease. Chinese and Hong Kong markets buck the trend as Hang Seng is down over 200 points from days high.

12:55pm FII View
There is a general feeling of optimism that Narendra Modi has a good chance at winning the elections, says Hans Goetti of Banque International Luxembourg adding that, that is what the financial markets would like to see.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Goetti says that the market undertone will remain positive in the run upto the elections.

Additionally, Goetti says that global financial markets have discounted the Russia-Ukraine crisis until and unless nothing real negative springs up again.

12:45pm Market Update
The Sensex rose 59.91 points to 21,269.64 and the Nifty climbed 23.20 points to 6,321.15.

Bank of Baroda rallied 5 percent followed by PNB, Maruti Suzuki and ONGC with 2-3 percent upmove. ICICI Bank, Cipla and Coal India gained 1.5 percent each.

However, Tata Power fell more than 3 percent. Bharti Airtel, Jaiprakash Associates, HCL Technologies, Jindal Steel and M&M declined 1-1.5 percent.

12:35pm Lok Sabha elections to start from April 7
Elections to the 16th Lok Sabha will be held in nine phases beginning April 7 to May 12, 2014. Announcing the dates, Election Commission VS Sampath said the 16th Lok Sabha should be constituted before May 31, 2014. Total electorate is estimated at 814 million for general elections, which is an increase of more than 100 million electors since last general elections.

With the announcement of polls dates, the election code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect, freezing possibility of new policy announcement.

The dates for Parliamenatry poll are April 7, 9, 10,12, 17, 24 ,30, May 7 & 9

Alongside Lok Sabha dates, the EC also announced Assembly and bypolls will be held in various states during the same time. Elections to Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim assemblies will follow the same Schedule of Parliamentary election in these sates. Bye-elections in 23 Assembly Constituencies following the same schedule as for the relevant Parliamentary Constituency.

Counting of votes of all parliamentary constituencies, assembly constituencies and bypolls will be concluded on a single day i.e,16th May 2014.

12:25pm UPL on buyers' radar
Shares of UPL (formerly known as United Phosphorus) gained 2 percent after the company raised its stake in Brazil arm to 73 percent from 51 percent.

"UPL through its step down wholly owned subsidiary has acquired further shares out of the fressh issue of shares issued by UPL do Brasil and accordingly increased its stake in UPL do Brasil to 73 percent. The balance 27 percent stake is held by other existing shareholders," the company said in its filing.

UPL had acquired a 51 percent stake in DVA Agro Do Brasil, a Brazilian company, from German-based DVA group and other shareholders. Subsequentily the name was changed to UPL do Brasil Industria E Comercio de Insumos Agropecuario SA.

UPL do Brasil is engaged in the production and selling of crop protection products and specialties in the Brazil.

12:15pm Market Expert
The market could see a small rally in the run up to the elections in anticipation of a stable government, feels Sanjeev Prasad of Kotak Securities. But he expects the upmove to be more in domestic cyclicals, than sectors like IT, pharma and FMCG, which are already discounting FY15 earnings.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Prasad says he is bullish on the automobile, banking and oil & gas sectors.

He recommends investors to book profits ahead of the election results, if there is a sharp upmove as the risk-reward ratio would then become unattractive.

Prasad is opposed to Maruti's arrangement with Suzuki on the Gujarat plant, but feels the stock is trading at a reasonable valuation after the recent correction. He expects the company to clock an earning per share of Rs 120 in FY15.

He is bullish on the long term prospects of Bharti Infratel, and estimates the fair value of the stock at Rs 200. However, in the short term, there is not much upside, he cautions.
Prasad says India is among the favourites of global investors in the emerging markets space.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks are directionless in afternoon trade with the Nifty hovering around the 6300 level. Technology and healthcare stocks are seeing buying interest while power and HDFC group stocks are under pressure.

The Sensex rose 8.15 points to 21217.88 and the Nifty advanced 3.55 points to 6,301.50. About 1173 shares have advanced, 1162 shares declined, and 118 shares are unchanged.

Shares of Maruti Suzuki climbed 1.5 percent today in addition to a percent gain in previous session. Brokerage house CLSA added the stock to its high conviction buy list with a target price of Rs 2,350 apiece.

It sees potential of 85 percent return from the stock over three years and set three-year target of Rs 3,100 apiece, citing new export strategy to boost volumes strongly and well-positioned to defend strong market share.

According to CLSA, the multiple product triggers are new Celerio (launched in Auto Expo 2014), new sedan, and utility vehicle launches and entry into light commercial vehicles.

The broakerage house in its report feels the stock looks attractive at 10x FY16 PE. "Maruti's return on equity will improve to 18 percent by FY16 and earnings per share will rise at 28 percent CAGR over FY14-16," the report said.

11:50 am Interview: The finance ministry's approval of Rangarajan Committee's suggestion on rescheduling the premium payments for road projects, although a good step, may not mean significant change for those projects that were bidded aggressively by the construction companies or those that have been unviable says KK Mohanty, MD, Gammon Infrastructure in an interview to CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy. ''The premium rescheduling norms are too little too late'', he says.

According to him since the road sector is facing challenging times and is already in doldrums, most of the projects will go in for re-bidding even post new norms because out of 45 Projects awarded in 2011-13, only few have started work.

However, Gammon Infra can see additional cash flow for few more years if Vijayawada Eluru Gundugolanu project's premium is deferred, says Mohanty. The company pays a premium of Rs 57 crore per year for the project. The situation could get more clear post the new government coming in feels Mohanty.

11:40 am Buzzing: Shares of UPL (formerly known as United Phosphorus) gained as much as 3.8 percent intraday after the company raised its stake in Brazil arm to 73 percent from 51 percent.

"UPL through its step down wholly owned subsidiary has acquired further shares out of the fressh issue of shares issued by UPL do Brasil and accordingly increased its stake in UPL do Brasil to 73 percent. The balance 27 percent stake is held by other existing shareholders," the company said in its filing.

UPL had acquired a 51 percent stake in DVA Agro Do Brasil, a Brazilian company, from German-based DVA group and other shareholders. Subsequentily the name was changed to UPL do Brasil Industria E Comercio de Insumos Agropecuario SA.

11:30 am Macro economy: The contraction in India's services sector moderated last month but new business declined and input prices rose, a business survey showed on Wednesday.

The HSBC Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, rose to 48.8 in February from 48.3, but remained stuck below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction for the eighth month.

India's services sector accounts for about 60 percent of gross domestic product. The weak PMI follows lower-than-expected GDP growth of 4.7 percent at the end of 2013, suggesting there may be worse to come for the economy as India heads into an election due by May.

The market seems to be unmoved as the much-awaited 2014 election dates are announced by the Election Commissioner today. The 16th Lok Sabha elections will be held in nine phases starting from April 7 to May 12.

The Sensex is up 16.75 points at 21226.48, and the Nifty is up 6.85 points at 6304.80. About 1245 shares have advanced, 904 shares declined, and 117 shares are unchanged.

Tata Steel, ONGC, ICICI Bank, Maruti and Coal India are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Tata Power, Bharti Airtel and HDFC twins.

The rupee is trading steady in line with strength in other Asian currencies while gilts are slightly higher on short covering.

Most Asian currencies like the Taiwanese dollar and Indonesian rupiah rise marginally against the dollar. The dollar weakened on the back of risk on sentiment.

Asian markets are trading higher mirroring overnight gains in the US after tensions between Ukraine and Russia eased. China said it would maintain its growth target for 2014 at 7.5 percent.

Commodities saw both gold and crude correct. Gold softened close to 1330 levels while Brent was at USD 109 per barrel.

10:59am Election Commision announces poll dates
Chief election commissioner Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath said Lok Sabh elections 2014 would be held in nine phases from April 7 to May 12, 2014.

The first phase will begin on April 7 followed by 9th, 10th, 12th, 17th, 24th, 30th of the same month and then May 7 and the last phase of elections will take place on May 9.

Counting for the same will be held on May 16, he added.

10:50am India HSBC Services PMI at 8-month high
India's HSBC Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) improved to eight-month high at 48.8 in February as against 48.3 in previous month.

India HSBC Composite PMI too increased to 50.3 as against 49.6 during the same period.

10:40am SpiceJet in focus
Low-cost airline SpiceJet announced a major top-management reshuffle on Tuesday.

The troubled airline, which triggered a fare war in the Indian skies over the past few months, has re-appointed R Neelakantan as CFO.

Neelakantan served as SpiceJet's chief financial officer from November 2010 to February 2013, and is returning to this role after serving as the Head of Internal Audit for the Sun Group (of which SpiceJet is a part) in the interim period.

The move follows after the current CFO Sam Issac quit the airline, apparently over differences on operational policy, said media reports.

10:30am Gammon talks to CNBC-TV18
The finance ministry's approval of Rangarajan Committee's suggestion on rescheduling the premium payments for road projects, although a good step, may not mean significant change for those projects that were bidded aggressively by the construction companies or those that have been unviable says KK Mohanty, MD, Gammon Infrastructure in an interview to CNBC-TV18. ''The premium rescheduling norms are too little too late'', he says.

According to him since the road sector is facing challenging times and is already in doldrums, most of the projects will go in for re-bidding even post new norms because out of 45 Projects awarded in 2011-13, only few have started work.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will now take up these projects on a case-by-case basis.

However, Gammon Infra can see additional cash flow for few more years if Vijayawada Eluru Gundugolanu project's premium is deferred, says Mohanty. The company pays a premium of Rs 57 crore per year for the project. The situation could get more clear post the new government coming in feels Mohanty.

10:20am FII View
Market analysts are talking about the Nifty breaching its all-time high of 6415.25 seen on December 9, 2013, a day after the equity market gather momentum on eased Ukraine woes.

However, 6320 provides strong resistance to the market, says Tushar Mahajan, Head of Listed Futures & Options, Nomura.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Mahajan says that the Bank Nifty too has strong resistance at 10,900.

''Until the market doesn't breach and sustain these resistances, the Nifty is unlikely to see its all-time high,'' says Mahajan.

The trade strategy right now, Mahajan advises, is to buy 6400 Calls and 6100 Puts.

''The implied vols are very cheap and there is going to be  a lot of noise of elections. So whichever direction you play, play via Options,'' explains Mahajan who believes that now is the time for beta play than defensive play.

10:10am Bharti Infratel on buyers' radar
Investors have been lapping up shares for the sixth consecutive day today. Tower infrastructure provider Bharti Infratel on Tuesday signed a master services agreement with Reliance Jio Infocomm. The stock rallied 26 percent in six sessions and today gained as much as 12 percent to touch a 52-week high of Rs 205 apiece. Now it rose 7 percent.

According to agreement, Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, would utilise the telecom tower infrastructure of Bharti Infratel to launch its services across the country and the pricing would be at 'arm's length,' based on prevailing market rates, the company said in its filing.

"We are delighted with this agreement to offer our world-class telecom infrastructure to Reliance Jio. The agreement would also benefit our existing customers with lower rentals and energy charges as a result of additional sharing," DS Rawat, CEO, Bharti Infratel said.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Mashruwala, managing director, Reliance Jio said this agreement was aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment. "The agreement will help us with the faster roll out of our services across the country," he added.

Bharti Infratel, which has 35,000 towers of its own, has 42 percent stake in Indus Towers. Hence, Reliance Jio will have access to 82,000 towers.

10:00am The 50-share NSE benchmark maintained its 6300 level since early trade supported by technology, banks, healthcare and metals stocks. However, the fall in HDFC twins, power and Reliance Industries capped the upside.

The Sensex climbed 64.82 points to 21274.55 and the Nifty rose 20.85 points to 6318.80. The broader markets outperformed benchmarks with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gaining 0.8 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

About 1173 shares have advanced, 515 shares declined, and 78 shares are unchanged.

Dr Reddy's Labs and Sun Pharma, which were only losers in the Sensex in previous session, rebounded with 1.5 percent and 0.9 percent gains, respectively.

Shares of Infosys, TCS, ONGC, Larsen & Toubro, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Wipro, State Bank of India, Cipla and Hindustan Unilever gained 0.4-1 percent.

Maruti Suzuki advanced 1 percent as brokerage house CLSA added the stock to its high conviction buy list with a target price of Rs 2,350 apiece.

It sees potential of 85 percent return over three years and set three-year target of Rs 3,100 apiece on the stock, citing new export strategy to boost volumes strongly and well-positioned to defend strong market share.

10:00 am Axis Bank stake sale: The Finance ministry is likely to take the PSU ETF, Axis Bank stake sale and the IOC cross holding in the next two weeks. A series of divestments are likely to be in the next 14 days as government closes its account in a race to meet the 4.6 percent fiscal deficit target.

The government is offloading a 10 percent stake in Axis Bank which forms part of its SUUTI portfolio and this will be via a block deal. The PSU ETF will have about 10-12 top PSUs and these will include companies such as Coal India , Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Indian Oil.

9:50 am Polling dates: The much-awaited schedule for the Lok Sabha polls will be announced by the Election Commission today. With the announcement of poll dates, the Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect. The schedule will be announced at a press conference by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with two Election Commissioners H S Brahma and S N A Zaidi.

The probable dates for the commencement of polling are between April 7 and 10, the sources in the Election Commission had told PTI. As of now, the plan is to have the voting exercise involving an electorate of 81 crore in six to seven phases. The 2009 polls were held in five phases from April 16 to May 13.

9:40 am  Buzzing: Tower infrastructure provider Bharti Infratel on Tuesday signed a master services agreement with Reliance Jio Infocomm. The stock rallied 26 percent in six sessions and gained as much as 12 percent to touch a 52-week high of Rs 205.

According to agreement, Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, would utilise the telecom tower infrastructure of Bharti Infratel to launch its services across the country and the pricing would be at 'arm's length,' based on prevailing market rates, the company said in its filing.

"We are delighted with this agreement to offer our world-class telecom infrastructure to Reliance Jio. The agreement would also benefit our existing customers with lower rentals and energy charges as a result of additional sharing," DS Rawat, CEO, Bharti Infratel said.

9:30 am Market outlook: The Sensex is likely to scale 24,000 mark by December-end on receding chances of a fractured verdict in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, lower inflation and improving global risk appetite, German brokerage Deutsche Securities said.

We have a Sensex target of 24,000 for December, at which Sensex will trade at 15.8x, in line with average of past five years, Deutsche said in a report.

After a smart rally yesterday, the market opened higher on Wednesday. The Sensex is up 80.36 points at 21290.09, and the Nifty is up 30.50 points at 6328.45. About 381 shares have advanced, 49 shares declined, and 16 shares are unchanged.

TCS, Axis Bank, Tata Steel, Dr Reddy's Labs and ONGC are big gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are M&M, Hero Motocorp and Tata Power.

The Indian rupee opened flat at 61.89 per dollar as against previous day's closing value of 61.85 a dollar.

Ashok Gautam of Axis Bank feels the dollar-rupee pair will continue to be sold on upticks in the near to medium term. He expects range for the day is 61.52-61.98/USD.

Meanwhile, yen nurses heavy losses in early trade, having suffered a vicious turnaround as safety demand faded after Russian President Vladimir Putin played down the prospect of a war in Ukraine.

Renewed risk appetite also helped lift commodity currencies such as the Australian dollar, which popped back to USD 0.8970.

Investors, however, stayed clear of the euro given the risk that the European Central Bank could loosen monetary policy at Thursday's review.

Wall Street rallied on Tuesday as concerns over the Ukraine ebbed. Both Dow and S&P 500 bounced back after their worst hit in a month. The CBOE VIX plunged 11 percent. Asia is trading in smartly in the green buoyed by overnight gains in US stocks.

In commodities, crude prices are flat after pulling back from 5.5-month highs hit earlier in the week, as tensions over Crimea calmed.