Sensex, Nifty at highest closing levels; CAD lifts rupee

Hefty buying in banks, oil & gas, capital goods and metals stocks helped the equity benchmarks end at all-time closing high on Thursday.

The rupee too has seen strong appreciation of 57 paise intraday due to steep fall in current account deficit (CAD) in the quarter ended December 2013.

The 30-share BSE Sensex closed at 21513.87, up 237.01 points or 1.11 percent after hitting an intraday high of 21525.14 while the 50-share NSE Nifty climbed 72.50 points or 1.15 percent to 6401.15. Experts believe the market is gearing up for sharp upmove before general elections, adding 6500-6700 on the Nifty can't be ruled out in short term.

An improvement in CAD, positive global cues and consistent support from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) too fueled the part rally today, they feel.

The broader indices too joined the rally with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices soaring over a percent. Advancers beat decliners by a ratio of 1680 to 1012 shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Indian rupee touched three-month high of 61.18 a dollar intraday after the current account deficit (CAD) of the country narrowed to 0.9 percent in Q3FY14. CAD slipped sharply to USD 4.2 billion (0.9 percent of GDP) in October-December quarter of FY14 from USD 31.9 billion (6.5 percent of GDP) in same quarter last year.

The fall was primarily on account of a decline in the trade deficit as merchandise exports picked up and imports moderated, particularly gold imports. This was also lower than USD 5.2 billion (1.2 percent of GDP) in Q2 of 2013-14.

03:45 pm Market closing
It was a blockbuster rally on Dalal Street as the market gears up for elections in April-May. Both the Nifty and Sensex end at fresh closing high. The Sensex ended up 237.01 points or 1.11 percent at 21513.87, after hitting life high of 21,525. The Nifty was up 72.50 points or 1.15 percent at 6401.15. About 1679 shares advanced, 1013 shares declined, and 146 shares were unchanged.All indices except pharma ended in the green. FIIs net bought USD 124.64 million in equities on March 6.

03:30 pm Is Sebi's intervention required?
According to JN Gupta, Former ED, Sebi, the market regulator must examine AstraZeneca deferring its delisting plans which had received a lot of flak from analysts and shareholders. He feels the company should have sought clarity before announcing the delisting. On the Maruti's recent run-in with its MF stakeholders, Gupta feels Sebi should seek more information from the auto major. The stock has taken a beating ever since it Suzuki last month decided to take over Maruti's proposed plant in Gujarat and invest in the unit through wholly-owned unit Suzuki Motor Gujarat. ''We think Maruti continues to look good on core fundamental issues,'' Bhat said.

03:20 pm Vedanta gets new head
Vedanta Resources Plc has appointed Tom Albanese as chief executive, pinning its hopes on the former Rio Tinto Plc head to transform the India-focused miner into a global resources giant, reports Reuters. "Vedanta has been perceived by the market as an Indian-centric company," Citi Research analyst Jatinder Goel wrote in a note. "The appointment of Mr. Albanese, in our view, should help to globalise the business and remove this perception." Albanese was one of several top mining executives to shoulder the blame for the relentless pursuit of growth during the boom years that ended in 2011, when acquisitions soured and turned into billions of dollars of writedowns. He held the top job at Rio Tinto for almost six years, leaving in January 2013 after the company revealed a $14 billion writedown almost entirely on the value of his two most significant buys: Alcan and Mozambican coal company Riversdale.

03:10 pm Market check
The Nifty is above 6400 and is just few point away from its all-time high at 6415. The Nifty is up 73.35 points or 1.16 percent  at 6402.The Sensex is up 226.46 points or 1.06 percent at 21503.32. About 1636 shares have advanced, 990 shares declined, and 147 shares are unchanged. ICICI Bank, BHEL and Hindalco are up 4 percent each. ONGC and GAIL are other gainers in the Sensex. Pharma stocks are weak while few selected IT stocks like TCS and Wipro are major losers in the Sensex. Cipla, HUL and Tata Motors are other laggards in the Sensex.

03:00 pm Asian Markets check
Japan's Nikkei share average jumped to a five-week high on as investors took heart from news about the world's largest pension fund's allocation plan, and as a weaker yen boosted shares of exporters, reports Reuters. The Nikkei ended 1.6 percent higher to 15,134.75, the highest close since January 29. The Topix rose 1.3 percent to 1,228.36, with 32 of its 33 subsectors in positive territory. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 , an index launched this year comprising firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, advanced 1.2 percent to 11,113.92. An advisory panel to the Government Pension Investment Fund said that GPIF need not stick to a "domestic-bond-centric portfolio" when the country is moving out of deflation.

02:50pm Rupee gains further
Indian rupee gained further in afternoon trade, appreciating 55 paise or 0.9 percent to 61.20 per dollar after the current account deficit (CAD) of the country narrowed to 0.9 percent (of GDP) in Q3FY14. CAD narrowed sharply to USD 4.2 billion (0.9 percent of GDP) in Q3 of 2013-14 from USD 31.9 billion (6.5 percent of GDP) in Q3 of 2012-13. The fall was primarily on account of a decline in the trade deficit as merchandise exports picked up and imports moderated, particularly gold imports. This was also lower than USD 5.2 billion (1.2 percent of GDP) in Q2 of 2013-14.

02:40pm CEAT talks to CNBC-TV18
A Subba Rao, chief financial officer, CEAT is confident of the company logging double-digit operating profit margins of around 10-11 percent by the end of FY14. Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Rao says the prices of rubber are likely to be volatile in the next financial year, but it will move in-tune with the inflation numbers. Dispelling any worries about the recent fire in its Bhandup factory, he adds that there has been no loss of sales, though there were some losses on the production side for abour 48 hours. ''However, this won't have any impact on our bottomline,'' he clarifies.

02:30pm IOC in focus as ONGC and Oil India to pick up stake in co
The government had in February-end approved a 10 percent stake sale in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to state run  ONGC and  Oil India at a discount of 10 percent. According to PTI, ONGC and Oil India will buy the 10 percent stake in IOC at Rs 220 per share. The IOC scrip is trading at around Rs 262.8 per share. The stake sale will happen at a significant discount to current market price. Both ONGC and Oil India will buy 5 percent each in IOC, which was initiated to meet the government's FY14 divestment programme.

02:20pm Nifty rallies 390 pts since February 13
The 50-share NSE Nifty rallied 6000 to 6390 in 14 sessions since February 13 while the foreign institutional investors have been net buyers in these sessions. During this period, capital goods major Larsen & Toubro and top private sector lender ICICI Bank jumped 15 percent each. BHEL surged 14 percent. Cement stocks too joined the rally; ACC, Ambuja Cements and UltraTech Cement gained between 13-17 percent. Shares of Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, IndusInd Bank and Punjab National Bank climbed 13-20 percent while heavyweights like ITC, Infosys and Reliance Industries advanced 1.5-5 percent. TCS and Wipro rallied 5 percent each. In the pharma space, Lupin, Dr Reddy's Labs and Ranbaxy Labs spiked 7-10 percent but Sun Pharma did not participate, rising 0.9 percent. Aluminium major Hindalco Industries soared 16 percent whereas laggards are Tata Steel (down 2 percent), NTPC (down 11 percent) and Bharti Airtel (down 5 percent).

02:10pm Market Expert
Ambareesh Baliga, Edelweiss Financial Services believes the pre-election rally will take the Nifty close to about 6,500, though it may not reach earlier expected levels of 6700-6800. According to him, PSU banks will be a part of cyclical trade for the short term, but he advises investors not to hold these stocks till March results as there will be pressure because of NPA rise. He is bullish on private sector banks such as Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and DCB.

02:00pm The 30-share BSE Sensex touched a record high of 21492.49 in afternoon trade supported by banks, oil & gas and capital goods while the 50-share NSE Nifty is inching towards its all-time high of 6415 (hit on December 9, 2013. The Sensex rose 146.76 points to 21423.62 and the Nifty advanced 47.45 points to 6376.10. About 1570 shares have advanced, 966 shares declined, and 149 shares are unchanged. The broader markets too participated in the rally with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gaining over a percent.   Realty, Power and Metal indices gained between 2-4 percent. ICICI Bank and BHEL are top gainers in the Sensex, rising 3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. ONGC, Sesa Sterlite, Hindalco Industries, Hero Motocorp and GAIL gained 2-3 percent. Index heavyweights Reliance Industries and HDFC climbed over a percent whereas commercial vehicle maker Tata Motors fell 1 percent. Shares of TCS, Sun Pharma, Wipro and Cipla declined 0.4-0.9 percent.

2:00 pm Market check: The Sensex has hit life-high at 21492 points with support from banks, power, metals and realty stocks. The Sensex is up 209.64 points at 21486.50, and the Nifty is up 65.85 points at 6394.50. About 1595 shares have advanced, 940 shares declined, and 146 shares are unchanged. The rupee is at 2.5 month high supported by the cheer in current account deficit data. Except pharma, all indices are up 4 percent each.

1:50 pm Divestment: State explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India will pay Rs 220 a share for their proposed 10 percent stake buy in state refiner Indian Oil Corp (IOC) , a government source said, reports Reuters. ONGC and Oil India are likely to buy the stake next week. In January, a panel of ministers approved the 10 percent stake sale in IOC to help the cash-strapped government raise funds to narrow its budget deficit.

1:40 pm Buzzing: Investors are lapping up shares of Mindtree from early trade after FTSE increased investability weightage of the stock in its Global Equity Index. The stock gained as much as 4.4 percent intraday. FTSE raised company's investability weightage to 81 percent from 68 percent earlier, according to release March quarterly investability weight changes. "Investability weight changes have been identified by FTSE as a result of changes to underlying shareholder ownership," the FTSE said. The changes will be effective after the close of business on Friday, March 21 2014 (i.e. March 24, 2014).

1:30 pm Market outlook: Equity benchmarks have been climbing steadily over the past few weeks and now close to making new highs. But investors could be getting complacent cautions Ridham Desai, Managing Director . Confidence often masks complacency, he wrote in a note to clients, highlighting four indicators point to growing complacency in the equity market. "Implied volatility has collapsed, implying that market participants are willing to play a narrow range of outcomes for the near future," he said in a note.

1:20 pm Interview: The newly appointed Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) CMD Arun Gupta Gupta believes 2014 and 2015 will be much better than 2013, implying that even the fourth quarter might continue to be in the red. The company's current debt stands at around Rs 8,500 crore levels. He says cash generation from current operations is not enough and to meet operating expenditure, the company will resort to hiking freight rates. He is looking to raise cash from ship-building orders. The company's trade receivables stand at around Rs 800 crore, maximum from the government side. Gupta says the Baltic dry index is currently hovering around 1200. He believes the freight market in dry index bottomed out in mid 2013. He says the average Baltic dry index has the potential to touch 1300 in 2014. But long-term, he does not see an improvement. 2016-17 will again see demand-supply mismatch, he adds.

The market is inching towards an all-time high of 6410 as investors cheer sharp decline in the current account deficit.The Sensex is up 120.55 points at 21397.41, and the Nifty is up 40.75 points at 6369.40.  About 1547 shares have advanced, 929 shares declined, and 150 shares are unchanged.   Broader markets continue to outperform the benchmark indices. BHEL is up 4 percent while Hindalco gains 3 percent. Other gainers in the Sensex are ONGC, Sesa Sterlite and HeroMoto Corp. Among the laggards are Tata Motors, Cipla, Wipro, TCS and ITC. Rupee rises sharply on strong capital flows brought in by some corporates. HDFC Bank is in focus after Finance Ministry sources told CNBC-TV18 that it is awaiting law ministry's opinion on hiking FII limit in the bank. The law ministry is looking at legal opinion given by HDFC Bank. The FIPB will take up the case once it is cleared by the law ministry.

12:59pm AstraZeneca Pharma under pressure
AstraZeneca Pharma India continued to fall for the second day on Thursday as the board of directors on March 5 deferred the delisting proposal. The stock fell 8.5 percent today and lost 13.6 percent in two consecutive sessions after rallying 50 percent in previous six straight sessions. "After discussion, it was decided to seek additional information from the promoter - AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB, Sweden (AZP AB). Pending receipt of such additional information, consideration of the promoter's letter dated March 01, 2014 was deferred," the company said in its filing. The board members on March 01 had received a letter from promoter, proposing to make a voluntary delisting offer to the public shareholders of the company. AZP AB holds 1,87,50,000 equity shares representing 75 percent of the total paid-up share capital of AstraZeneca Pharma.

12:50pm IOC in focus
State-owned ONGC and Oil India has decided to buy equity shares of oil marketing company Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at Rs 220 per share, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting PTI. The stake sale is at 10 percent discount to current market price. The stock declined 1.9 percent to Rs 250.35. Former CMD of ONGC, Sudhir Vasudeva said the stake buy would cost around Rs 5,300 crore to ONGC and Oil India.

12:40pm FTSE raises investability weightage in 5 companies
Investors are lapping up shares of  Mindtree , Container Corporation, Bharti Infratel, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial and Axis Bank from early trade on Thursday after FTSE increased investability weightage of the stock in its Global Equity Index. FTSE raised Mindtree's investability weightage to 81 percent from 68 percent earlier while Bharti Infratel's weightage increased to 11 percent from 9 percent, according to release March quarterly investability weight changes. The weightage of Container Corporation, M&M Financial and Axis Bank increased from 24 percent, 43 percent and 49 percent to 30 percent, 48 percent and 62 percent, respectively. "Investability weight changes have been identified by FTSE as a result of changes to underlying shareholder ownership," the FTSE said. The changes will be effective after the close of business on Friday, March 21 2014 (i.e. March 24, 2014). These stocks gained between 1-5 percent.

12:30pm Market Expert
The Nifty has been rallying for the past three days now. The pre-election hope trade will take Nifty to all-time high, but to push it beyond that further news is required, says UR Bhat, MD, Dalton Capital Advisors. He says the base case today is NDA will win and Narendra Modi will become the prime-minister. But even if BJP wins 200-plus seats, there will be a coalition government at the Centre, which may result in a strong leader at the helm but incapacitated because of coalition politics. Besides the political issues at home, globally too there are some persisting problems – continuation of Fed taper and the problems in Ukraine have not ended yet, he adds. According to him, today's hope rally is also supported by CAD figures which came out yesterday – but he cautions services has contracted for eight months, which accounts for 60 percent of GDP. He is cautious on the hope trade. However, he believes the Modi trade is worth playing. He says cyclicals will start looking better on the hope that huge changes will happen.

12:20pm Current account deficit narrows
India's current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to USD 4.2 billion (0.9 percent of GDP) in Q3 of 2013-14 from USD 31.9 billion (6.5 percent of GDP) in Q3 of 2012-13. The fall was primarily on account of a decline in the trade deficit as merchandise exports picked up and imports moderated, particularly gold imports. This is also lower than USD 5.2 billion (1.2 percent of GDP) in Q2 of 2013-14.

12:10pm Expert on Rupee
Aided by the smart fall seen in Indian current account deficit (CAD), the rupee is likely to appreciate in the days to come says Dominic Bunning, associate - FX Strategy, HSBC. Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Bunning says the CAD was expected to be lower, given the improvement seen in the trade deficit. Hence, a level of 61 against the greenback is likely for the rupee by the end of the quarter says Bunning. The rupee, he further adds, is expected to be one of the bet performers in the emerging market (EM) basket.

12:00pm The market maintained its strong momentum with the Sensex rising over 100 points while the rupee gained 52 paise to 61.23 a dollar in noon trade as current account deficit narrowed to 0.9 percent in Q3FY14. The Sensex rose 106.13 points to 21382.99 and the Nifty advanced 34.75 points to 6363.40. About 1492 shares have advanced, 876 shares declined, and 148 shares are unchanged. Shares of Sesa Sterlite and Hindalco Industries are top gainers, rising 2.7 percent each followed by BHEL with 2.3 percent upmove. Private sector lenders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank gained 1 percent each while oil & gas majors ONGC and Reliance Industries rose 1-1.7 percent. Shares of Dr Reddy's Labs, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, Hero Motocorp, GAIL and Coal India climbed 1-2 percent. However, the losers are Tata Motors, ITC, TCS, Hindustan Unilever, Cipla and Sun Pharma, falling 0.3-0.8 percent.

12:00 pm Outlook on rupee: Nomura expects the current account deficit to be 1.9 percent of GDP in FY14, before rising to 2.5-3.0 percent of GDP in FY15 as gold curbs are removed and domestic growth starts to recover. "Net capital inflows should be sufficient to finance the current account deficit so long as the medium-term growth outlook improves, which will crucially depend on the election outcome in May," it expects. Motilal Oswal thinks rupee may see episodic volatility due to external factors. However, RBI now seem to move toward a managed float with 62/USD as the anchor and resorting to forex accretion when INR appreciates further. Hence, it expects some stability around this level while episodic volatility would remain.

11:50 am Interview: A Subba Rao, chief financial officer, CEAT is confident of the company logging double-digit operating profit margins of around 10-11 percent by the end of FY14. Speaking to CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh and Ekta Batra, Rao says the prices of rubber are likely to be volatile in the next financial year, but it will move in-tune with the inflation numbers. Dispelling any worries about the recent fire in its Bhandup factory, he adds that there has been no loss of sales, though there were some losses on the production side for abour 48 hours. ''However, this won't have any impact on our bottomline,'' he clarifies.

11:40 am Market outlook: UR Bhat, MD, Dalton Capital Advisors feel that today's hope rally is also supported by CAD figures which came out yesterday. He  cautions services has contracted for eight months, which accounts for 60 percent of GDP. Also there is a slowdown in FII inflows. He is cautious on the hope trade. However, he believes the Modi trade is worth playing. He says cyclicals will start looking better on the hope that huge changes will happen. He is bullish on private sector banks, cyclicals such as energy auto companies.

11:30 am Buzzing: Shares of ABG Shipyard rallied over 6 percent intraday on Thursday as the board of directors convened an extraordinary general meeting on March 29 for increasing authorised share capital. The board will consider and approve to increase the authorised share capital of the company from Rs 100 crore to Rs 17,000 crore. It will also approve to empower the board for borrowing to the extend of Rs 20,000 crore and authorise for creation of charges on the movable and immovable properties of the company, upto the borrowing limit of Rs 20,000 crore.

Mood continued to be chirpy on Dalal Street as rupee is making smart gains. The Sensex is up 99.63 points at 21376.49, and the Nifty is up 28.55 points at 6357.20. About 1310 shares have advanced, 710 shares declined, and 113 shares are unchanged. ITC, HUL, TCS amd Cipla are top losers in the Sensex. The rupee is at seven-week high following the positive current account deficit data and support from Asian currencies such as the Korean won, Philippine peso and Malaysian ringgit. Gilts too are higher as October- December current account deficit narrowed to 0.9 percent of GDP.  The euro is steady against the dollar ahead of the European Central Bank meet today while the yen is weaker against the dollar.   Gold gains on bleak data releases while crude prices softened to the lowest level in three weeks on concerns of slowdown in energy demand going ahead. Asian markets are mixed. China is lower as worries about the first ever domestic bond default weighed on sentiment.

10:59am CAD narrows to 0.9% in Q3FY14
India's current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to USD 4.2 billion (0.9 percent of GDP) in Q3 of 2013-14 from USD 31.9 billion (6.5 percent of GDP) in Q3 of 2012-13 primarily on account of a decline in the trade deficit as merchandise exports picked up and imports moderated, particularly gold imports. This is also lower than USD 5.2 billion (1.2 percent of GDP) in Q2 of 2013-14.

10:50am ALSTOM India gains 3% on order from BHEL
Shares of ALSTOM India rose over 3 percent as it bagged a contract worth Rs 679 crore from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). As per the contract, the power equipment maker will supply two 800 MW supercritical boilers for Darlipalli super thermal power project (STPP) located in Sundergarh, in the Odisha . This project forms part of NTPC's bulk 800 MW tender. Out of the entire contract, ALSTOM India's scope of work would be approximately Rs 379.8 crore.

10:40am AstraZeneca Pharma shares fall for second day
Investors, who bought shares AstraZeneca Pharma India on hopes of delisting offer, started selling for the second day on Thursday as the board of directors on March 5 deferred the delisting proposal. The stock fell 8 percent today and lost 13.6 percent in two consecutive sessions after rallying 50 percent in previous six straight sessions. "After discussion, it was decided to seek additional information from the promoter - AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB, Sweden (AZP AB). Pending receipt of such additional information, consideration of the promoter's letter dated March 01, 2014 was deferred," the company said in its filing. The board members on March 01 had received a letter from promoter, proposing to make a voluntary delisting offer to the public shareholders of the company. AZP AB holds 1,87,50,000 equity shares representing 75 percent of the total paid-up share capital of AstraZeneca Pharma. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca Pharma had reported a profit of Rs 1.52 crore during October-December quarter as against loss of Rs 17.7 crore in a year-ago period. Net sales from operations during the same period increased to Rs 118.9 crore from Rs 105 crore.

10:30am Financial Technologies on buyers' radar
Shares of Financial Technologies rallied as much as 4 percent intraday after the investment firm Merrill Lynch picked up half a percent stake in the company. Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Espana SA SVB bought 2,35,461 equity shares of Jignesh Shah-led company at Rs 347.76 apiece via block deal (worth over Rs 8 crore) on the National Stock Exchange. At 10:30 hours IST, the stock was up 3.22 percent at Rs 363.75, in addition to 5 percent rally in previous session. In fact the stock has been doubled in the current year so far from Rs 185 level on December 31 to Rs 366.50 today. Meanwhile, there were rumours that Tech Mahindra may acquire the company but the fifth largest software services firm denied the same.

10:20am Market Expert
Nifty has been rallying for three days now and it is just 60-odd points away from an all-time high. Ambareesh Baliga, Edelweiss Financial Services believes the pre-election rally will take Nifty close to about 6,500, though it may not reach earlier expected levels of 6700-6800. According to him, PSU banks will be a part of cyclical trade for the short term, but he advises investors not to hold these stocks till March results as there will be pressure because of NPA rise. He is bullish on private sector banks such as Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and DCB.

10:10am Rupee at 2.5-month high
The rupee is trading at 61.45/46, its highest level since January 17 and above its close of 61.75/76 on Wednesday, on the back of positive sentiment about equity market inflows ahead of general elections next month. The rupee is seen moving in a 61.40 to 61.60 range. Almost all Asian currencies gain on easing worries about the standoff in Ukraine. Traders say a narrower current account deficit also helping the rupee slightly though the figure was widely expected. Data post-market hours showed India's balance of payments swung back into surplus during the October-December quarter, helped by government curbs on gold imports, after two quarters in deficit. Overseas investors bought Indian shares worth USD 119.46 million on Wednesday, extending their buying streak to a 14th consecutive day for a net of about USD 800 million, provisional exchange data shows, reports Reuters.

10:00am The market remained firm with the Nifty holding the 6350 level supported by capital goods, healthcare, banks and oil & gas stocks. However, ITC, HUL, Tata Motors and TCS are only losers in the Sensex, falling 0.2-0.5 percent. The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 102.04 points to 21378.90 and the Nifty rose 30.20 points to 6358.85. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.87 percent each and advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1121 to 463 on the BSE. Private sector lenders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank gained 1 percent each while rivals HDFC Bank and State Bank of India climbed marginally. Shares of ONGC, Sun Pharma, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy's Labs, GAIL, Sesa Sterlite, Tata Power and BHEL advanced over a percent. Reliance Industries, Infosys and L&T rose 0.5-0.9 percent.'

9:50 am Big buy: A consortium led by Steel Authority of India Ltd, the country's second-biggest steelmaker, hopes to buy coal assets in Poland in the next few months, Chairman CS Verma said. Most steel producers in India, the world's third-largest coal importer, depend on overseas coal shipments and are trying to buy mines in Africa and Europe. SAIL-led International Coal Ventures Private Ltd (ICVL), whose five participating firms are all state-owned or state-controlled, has been scouting for mines since 2009. Verma said they had already invested in due diligence for the Polish assets.

9:40 am Buzzing: Investors, who bought shares of AstraZeneca Pharma India on hopes of delisting offer, started selling as the board of directors on March 5 deferred the delisting proposal. "After discussion, it was decided to seek additional information from the promoter - AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB, Sweden (AZP AB). Pending receipt of such additional information, consideration of the promoter's letter dated March 01, 2014 was deferred," the company said in its filing. The stock fell as much as 8.8 percent intraday today and lost 13.6 percent in two consecutive sessions after rallying 50 percent in previous six straight sessions.

9:30 am FII View: Bharat Iyer, JP Morgan feels financial markets are looking forward to the elections with a lot of expectations. "A decisive verdict leading to a government with the ability to undertake significant reforms is seen as key to reversing India's ongoing growth moderation and other macro stresses," he adds. Neelkanth Mishra, Credit Suisse is expecting May 16 to be a day of high volatility as initial trends can sometimes be different from the final results. He says, "This is particularly so when the market implications of a 180-seat verdict for one alliance are likely to be very different from a 200- or a 220-seat verdict."

Equity benchmarks extended upmove on Thursday with the Nifty hitting 6350 level in early trade. The Sensex rose 90.48 points to 21367.34 and the Nifty climbed 23.35 points to 6352. GAIL, Tata Power, Hindalco, Dr Reddy's Labs and Sesa Sterlite are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the laggards are ITC, Tata Motors, L&T and TCS. The Indian rupee appreciated to highest level since January 21. It opened higher by 23 paise to 61.52 per dollar on Thursday as against previous day's closing of 61.75 a dollar. Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said both bond and currency markets would draw comfort from better than expected CAD numbers. "The 10-year yield is seen in a range of 8.80-8.85 percent," he added. Ahead of ECB and BoE rate setting meetings later today and US payroll data tomorrow, he expects the rupee to trade in a range of 61.65-61.95/USD. India's third quarter (October-December) current account deficit fell below 1 percent of GDP, narrowing to just 4.2 billion dollars, the lowest in the last 18 quarters, as against USD 31.9 billion in a year-ago period and USD 5.2 billion in previous quarter. Hence, economists expect full year current account deficit to fall below 2 percent. US markets ended flat on Wednesday after a record setting rally as investors track the developments in Ukraine. Europe too closed in the red while Asian markets are mixed today.