Sensex closes flat; Sun Pharma up 4%, Tata Motors down 2%

Equity benchmarks saw consolidation for the third consecutive session Wednesday after seeing about 1000-point pre-election rally on the Sensex.

The 50-share NSE Nifty managed to hold the 6,500 level for the fourth day today, rising 5 points to 6516.90 while the 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 29.80 points to 21856.22.

Experts say the consolidation is due to lack of trigger. Near term triggers for the market are WPI inflation on Friday, FOMC meet on March 18-19 and RBI policy on April 1.

They feel the market may be rangebound with upward bias till the general elections and then may go upto 6700-7000 levels on poll results if the BJP comes into power.

Meharaboon Irani, Nirmal Bang Securities said for the Nifty to touch 7000-mark, the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party has to be in power with no caveats like support from left party or Mamata Banerjee.

Investors were also cautious ahead January industrial output and February CPI data due to be announced after 5 pm today.

Defensives like healthcare and FMCG stocks supported the market today while metals, oil & gas and capital goods saw selling pressure.

Drug maker Sun Pharma topped the buying list, gaining 4 percent as its subsidiary Caraco received approval from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Risperidone oral tablets (to treat schizophrenia).

Cigarette major ITC and top two-wheeler maker Hero Motocorp climbed 2 percent each followed by TCS, ICICI Bank, Wipro, Coal India and Tata Power with more than a percent upmove.

However, metals remain under pressure for third day today on poor Chinese trade data. Copper prices hit the lowest since July 2010 while iron ore prices touched more than 1.5-year lows, which caused Sesa Sterlite, Hindalco Industries and Tata Steel to lose 1-2 percent today.

Top lender State Bank of India was down 1.8 percent as Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority asked SBI Life to refund Rs 275 crore.

Commercial vehicle maker Tata Motors and state-run power equipment maker BHEL declined 2.35 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Shares of ONGC, Larsen & Toubro, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel and Bajaj Auto were down 1-1.7 percent.

03:50 pm European market check: A dizzying fall in copper to a near four-year low compounded increasing concern in China over its economic slowdown on Wednesday to send a wave of unease sweeping through world markets, reports Reuters.

World shares fell for fourth day, but it was copper, often seen as a proxy for China's fortunes, that grabbed the headlines as Shanghai futures fell by their 5 percent daily limit again and benchmark prices of the metal slumped to their lowest since 2010.

In Europe, bourses from London to Lisbon tumbled in early deals and safe-haven German government bonds were in demand as the jitters compounded the geopolitical tug-of-war between Russia and Kiev and the West over Crimea.

03:40 pm Market closing: After a volatile session, the market has ended on a flat note. The Nifty managed to hold 6500 for four consecutive days. The Nifty ended at 6516.90, up 5.00 points and the the Sensex was up 29.80 points at 21856.22. About 1305 shares advanced, 1424 shares declined, and 162 shares were unchanged.

Sun Pharma remained big gainer of the day with a gain of 4 percent. Hero Motocorp, ITC, Coal India and TCS.

BHEL was down to 3 percent. Tata Motors, Hindalco, SBI and ONGC were top losers in the Sensex.

03:30 pm Interview: Talking on 'Super Holi Sales',Sun Group CFO SL Narayanan says the discounts are being offered on seats that would have perhaps gone unsold. "These are demand stimulation measures," he says.

The low-cost airline is not reducing its effective revenue per seat kilometer. The inventory that is being put out for sale is highly controlled, he adds. Narayanan explains the routes that are in demand may not be on sale. These discounts are offered only on routes during non-peak hours to optimise the overall efficiency of the fleet. He jokes there is method in this madness afterall.

03:20 pm Aviation: Air India is reviewing the performance of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet to see if they are using up fuel faster than expected, but has no plans to ground the aircraft, the state-owned carrier's chairman said, reports Reuters.

Speaking at an air show in Hyderabad, chairman Rohit Nandan told reporters that Air India believed the planes were heavier than originally promised.

The carrier is collecting 18 months worth of data up to November this year to gauge if the plane is using more fuel than originally anticipated.

"As far as the fuel efficiency is concerned, when Air India received these planes, even at that time, we knew that the planes were heavier than what they were originally promised to be," he said.

03:10 Buzzing: Realty major DLF's stock rose as much as 2.5 percent intraday as its subsidiary DLF Home Developers (DHDL) received final tranche of payment of Rs. 93.5 crores on the sale of balance shares of Galaxy Mercantile (GML).

GML is a joint venture company of DHDL, IDFC and others.

In November 2011, IDFC had contracted to acquire 100 percent stake in the JV company owning 1.3 million square feet IT Park located in Sector 62, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

DLF said the transaction is in line with the DLF's objective of divesting its non-core assets.

02:55pm SpiceJet rises 3%
Shares of SpiceJet climbed 3 percent as it announced another sale slashing airfare. The low-cost carrier has launched a 'Super Holi Sales' advance booking scheme today, offering tickets as low as Rs 1999. This is the fourth such super sale offered by SpiceJet so far this year.

The five-day offer is applicable on bookings made between March 12 and March 16 for travel between April 14 and June 30.

''Fares start from Rs 1999 all inclusive on select routes and flights. Lowest fares are for bookings made 90 days prior to travel, and all bookings under this offer require minimum 30 days advance purchase,'' it said in a statement.

02:45pm Jan IIP and Feb CPI announcement today evening
The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data is expected to contract at around 1.1 percent compared to a contraction of 0.6 percent due to weakness in manufacturing data. Manufacturing comprises 80 percent of total IIP.

Economists are working with a contraction of 0.3 percent to 1.7 percent. The IIP data has been extremely weak in the past many months and the trend is expected to continue.

Meanwhile, the CPI remains an important data point to watch out for because it is a precursor to the RBI policy on April 1.

The CPI for February 2014 is expected to possibly cool down to 8.1 percent versus 8.8 percent on a month-on-month basis. In the last month it had already touched a two year low and is expected to ease off this month as well on the back of relief seen on the inflation front.

02:35pm Nikkei falls over 2.5%
Japan's Nikkei share average fell to a one-week low as investors locked in profits after a recent rally and as caution over Chinese demand continued to hurt such commodity-related shares such as mining and metal companies.

The Nikkei ended 2.6 percent lower at 14,830.39 points, the lowest closing level since March 4, and the biggest daily drop in more than a month. It had hit a five-week high of 15,312.60 last Friday, reports Reuters.

02:25pm Financial Technologies in focus
Financial Technologies (FTIL) promoter Jignesh Shah is ready to divest up to 26 percent stake in his company. Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Shah said the company is looking at strategic partners and has given itself four months to do so.

Infosys, Cognizant, L&T Infotech and Reuters have shown interest in picking up stake in FTIL, Shah said. He also said the company is open to considering sale of shares at a discount to market price. Currently, Shah holds 45 percent in FTIL.

The stock gained over 3 percent.

02:15pm Market Expert
A significant re-rating for the market is on the cards if the BJP-led government comes to power at the Centre. Sensex could even go to levels of around 24,000 by June-end believes Rajen Shah, CIO, Angel Broking.

According to him the 1000-point rally seen on Sensex is not necessarily discounting the formation of Narendra Modi led government as the Centre but in fact market seems to be celebrating the exit of the current non-functional government. The house continues to remain very bullish on the market says Shah.

According to him market does not seem to have gotten expensive because of this rally, in fact opportunities exist all around be in it in largecaps, midcap and small caps.

02:00pm Equity benchmarks remain lacklustre in afternoon trade with the Nifty holding the 6500 level supported by healthcare, FMCG, private banks and technology stocks.

The Sensex gained 16.87 points to 21843.29 while the Nifty fell 2.35 points to 6509.55. About 1230 shares have advanced, 1412 shares declined, and 150 shares are unchanged.

Sun Pharma topped the buying list, rising 4 percent as its subsidiary Caraco has received approval from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Risperidone oral tablets. Risperidone oral tablet is used for the treatment of schizophrenia (a mental disorder).

Shares of ITC, TCS, Hero Motocorp, Wipro and Coal India gained 1-1.8 percent while ICICI Bank, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Dr Reddy's Labs, Cipla, Tata Power and Maruti Suzuki climbed between 0.4-0.8 percent.

However, Tata Motors, Hindalco Industries, BHEL, Larsen & Toubro, ONGC, State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel and Bajaj Auto lost 1-2 percent.

2:00 pm Asian Markets: Japan's Nikkei share average fell to a one-week low as investors locked in profits after a recent rally and as caution over Chinese demand continued to hurt such commodity-related shares such as mining and metal companies.

The Nikkei ended 2.6 percent lower at 14,830.39 points, the lowest closing level since March 4, and the biggest daily drop in more than a month. It had hit a five-week high of 15,312.60 last Friday.

The broader Topix index shed 2.1 percent to 1,206.94, with all of its 33 subindexes in negative territory.

1:50 pm Buzzing: Shares of Havells India, the electrical goods manufacturer, climbed as much as 2.75 percent intraday Wednesday as media reports indicated that the company is planning to list Sylvania Global on the London Stock Exchange.

"Havells is planning to raise money by listing its European subsidiary Sylvania Global on the London Stock Exchange to fund acquisitions of brands or companies in Latin America and Europe," the report said.

Sylvania, designer and manufacturer of lighting products, was acquired by Havells India for euro 227.5 million in April 2007. It has plants in Europe, Asia, North Africa and Central and South America.

1:40 pm Interview: Thermax MD MS Unnikrishnan feels the new government needs to convey more investor-friendly norms . ''The new government will have to make investors, both domestic and international, feel that India is a destination worth investing,'' he said.

He said the country's fundamentals are right and we have got a fairly large market existence and good consumption. About 65-68 percent of the economy consists of domestic consumption, he said. However, he thinks that investors need to be sure that there is policy support for their investment.

1:30 pm Strike: Coal India , which is already struggling to meet its targets, is likely to see further setback on account of a 3-day strike by company executives. The Coal Mines Officers' Association of India had served a strike notice for three days from March 13 for their demands, including performance-related pay and a new pension scheme, among others, state-owned CIL said in a filing to the BSE.

The officers want finalisation and payment of performance-related pay pending since 2007, immediate refund of recovered performance-linked pay advance from retired executives, immediate implementation of a new pension scheme and removal of pay anomalies of different grades in general and junior grades in particular, among others, it added.

The proposed strike may affect production and dispatches by about 4 million tonnes of coal. The mining company is expected to fall short of its target of 482 million tonnes for 2013-14 by more than 17 million tonnes.

1:20 pm Big appeal: SBI Life, the life-insurance arm of State Bank of India, will contest a Rs 275-crore refund order that the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority issued Tuesday in relation with a case of alleged misselling of a group insurance policy, MD and CEO Atanu Sen told CNBC-TV18.

Yesterday, the IRDA had asked the insurer to refund Rs 275 crore, or 44 percent of the Rs 625 crore premium it had collected against issuing Dhanaraksha Plus Limited Premium Paying Term (LPPT) policy.

The regulator said that between the years 2008-09 and 2010-11, corporate agents mainly belonging to SBI and associate banks sold the policies to customers by charging the second year premium along with the first year's, which resulted in commission payouts of 40 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, for the two years.

The market has turned choppy with the Nifty barely holding above 6,500. Banks see some profit booking. The Sensex is up 40.02 points at 21866.44, and the Nifty is up 3.80 points at 6515.70. About 1190 shares have advanced, 1371 shares declined, and 129 shares are unchanged.

Sun Pharma, ITC, Hero Motocorp, Wipro and Cipla are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Tata Motors, BHEL, ONGC, Hindalco and SBI.

Maruti has recovered even though concerns persist as investors raise red flag over its Gujarat plant deal. All eyes now on the Maruti board meeting on March 15.

Asian markets trade sharply lower on worries over China's economy. The Nikkei sank 2.3 percent on a stronger yen. European futures indicate a negative opening

The rupee recouped some losses as domestic markets recover. However, weakness in other Asian currencies amid risk aversion weighs.

12:55pm NSE to add L&T Finance, Just Dial in F&O segment
Shares of L&T Finance Holdings and Just Dial gained 4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively on inclusion in futures and options segment of the National Stock Exchange.

"The futures and options contracts on L&T Finance and Just Dial would be available for trading w.e.f. Thursday, March 13, 2014," the NSE said in its release.

L&T Finance has been in focus as analysts believe it is the strong contender for getting banking licenses that are likely to be issued in current calendar year, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting sources.

12:45pm Tech Mahindra gains 1 percent
Tech Mahindra today announced the launch of its Global Development Centre with Alstom Transport on the occasion of signing a three-year partnership agreement with Alstom.

The development centre will cover engineering activities focused on concept to prototype build.

"We are delighted to collaborate with Alstom to offer end-to-end engineering services from design to manufacturing," Karthikeyan Natarajan, global head, integrated engineering solutions, Tech Mahindra said.

12:35pm Jan IIP and Feb CPI announcement today
The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data is expected to contract at around 1.1 percent compared to a contraction of 0.6 percent due to weakness in manufacturing data. Manufacturing comprises 80 percent of total IIP.

Economists are working with a contraction of 0.3 percent to 1.7 percent. The IIP data has been extremely weak in the past many months and the trend is expected to continue.

Meanwhile, the CPI remains an important data point to watch out for because it is a precursor to the RBI policy on April 1.

The CPI for February 2014 is expected to possibly cool down to 8.1 percent versus 8.8 percent on a month-on-month basis. In the last month it had already touched a two year low and is expected to ease off this month as well on the back of relief seen on the inflation front.

12:25pm CRISIL sees India CAD at 2% in FY14
India's current account deficit (CAD) was likely to narrow to a 6-year low of 2 percent of GDP this fiscal, but may expand to 2.7 percent in FY15 as the imports pick up, ratings agency Crisil today said.

"We expect CAD to print 2 percent of GDP in 2013-14, the lowest since 2007-08...however, it will rise to 2.7 percent of GDP in 2014-15," Crisil's research wing said in a report.

CAD, which had touched an all-time high of 4.8 percent in FY13 - leading to a massive depreciation in the rupee - will improve to the 2 percent level this fiscal on a heavy contraction in imports, it said.

In Q3, CAD - which indicates imports of goods, services and transfer are higher than their exports - came down sharply to an 8-year low of 0.9 percent of GDP from a high of 6.5 percent a year ago, primarily driven by a massive drop in bullion imports.

During the first three quarters of FY14, the CAD print stood at 2.3 percent of GDP, reports PTI.

12:15pm Market Expert
After hitting the technical year-end target of 21,750 for the Sensex, Jitendra Sriram, MD & Head of Research, HSBC India expects the market to drift further upwards from a sentimental perspective.

However, Sriram believes the disconnect between the fund flow data from EPFR and SEBI which rounds to USD 4 billion remains a concern.

The fund flow data from EPFR suggests outflow of money, says Sriram who is cautious on the market right now.

He also found a disconnect between the pace of market movement and corporate earnings. Sriram believes that the former maybe running ahead of itself.

Overall, he feels the Indian market valuations remain expensive compared to other emerging market peers.

12:00pm The market sees consolidation in afternoon trade. The Sensex climbed 95.84 points to 21922.26 and the Nifty advanced 21.05 points to 6532.95. About 1211 shares have advanced, 1161 shares declined, and 133 shares are unchanged.

Maruti Suzuki rebounded with 1.6 percent gain on short covering. The stock was down 4 percent in early trade as investors raised red flag regarding its Gujarat plant. Domestic fund managers have written a second letter to the management questioning its decision. Also, the fund managers have questioned the role of independent directors on the Maruti board.

Cigarette major ITC jumped over 2 percent while drug maker Sun Pharma shot up nearly 4 percent. Sun's subsidiary Caraco has received approval from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Risperidone oral tablets (to treat Schizophrenia).

Two-wheeler maker Hero Motocorp rose 1.7 percent while shares of Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto lost 1 percent each.

ICICI Bank, TCS, Dr Reddy's Labs, Wipro, HUL, Cipla and Coal India gained 0.3-0.9 percent.

However, state-run power equipment maker BHEL and engineering & construction major L&T lost 2 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
 
Shares of State Bank of India, ONGC, Bharti Airtel and Hindalco Industries slipped over a percent.

11:50 am World news: China's central bank is prepared to take its strongest action since 2012 to loosen monetary policy if economic growth slows further, by cutting the amount of cash that banks must keep as reserves, sources involved in internal policy discussions say.

A cut would be triggered if growth slips below 7.5 percent and towards 7.0 percent, they said, and would come on top of money market operations and currency intervention via state banks that traders say has already loosened monetary conditions.

11:40 am Red Flag: Metals producer Sesa Sterlite said it may have to cut jobs if a top court sets a limit on the amount of iron ore it can mine in Goa when and if it allows mining to restart in what used to be the country's top exporter. Goa expects to resume mining before the monsoon that starts in June, its chief minister said last month.

A panel appointed by the Supreme Court is due to give its recommendation on the issue by March 15. A blanket ban on production and exports imposed in late 2012 to stop illegal mining, coupled with a similar step in neighbouring Karnataka, have cut India's exports of the ore by 85 percent, or 100 million tonnes, over the past two years.

11:30 am Market Outlook: A significant re-rating for the market is on the cards if the BJP-led government comes to power at the Centre. Sensex could even go to levels of around 24,000 by June-end believes Rajen Shah, CIO, Angel Broking.

According to him the 1000-point rally seen on Sensex is not necessarily discounting the formation of Narendra Modi led government as the Centre but in fact market seems to be celebrating the exit of the current non-functional government. The house continues to remain very bullish on the market says Shah.

According to him market does not seem to have gotten expensive because of this rally, in fact opportunities exist all around be in it in largecaps, midcap and small caps.

11:20 am Buzzing: Shares of SpiceJet are flying off the shelf as it announced another sale slashing airfare. The stock was up 5 percent intraday on Wednesday. The low-cost carrier has launched a 'Super Holi Sales' advance booking scheme today, offering tickets as low as Rs 1999. This is the fourth such super sale offered by SpiceJet so far this year.

The five-day offer is applicable on bookings made between March 12 and March 16 for travel between April 14 and June 30. ''Fares start from Rs 1999 all inclusive on select routes and flights. Lowest fares are for bookings made 90 days prior to travel, and all bookings under this offer require minimum 30 days advance purchase,'' it said in a statement.

The offer, however, is not applicable for bookings made at the airline's call centre and airport ticketing counters, and is not combinable with other offers. Seats made available for this offer are limited and availability depends on specific date and flight, it added.

The market is holding gains but investors seem to be a bit cautious ahead of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and CPI inflation data to be released in the evening. The Sensex is up 80.04 points at 21906.46, and the Nifty is up 14.95 points at 6526.85. About 1152 shares have advanced, 974 shares declined, and 103 shares are unchanged.

The IIP data is expected to contract at around 1.1 percent compared to a contraction of 0.6 percent due to weakness in manufacturing data. Manufacturing comprises 80 percent of total IIP.

Economists will also keep an eye on the consumer durables in order to get a better picture of the demand scenario. Consumer durables number had contracted 16 percent for the month of December.

CPI inflation for February 2014 is expected to possibly cool down to 8.1 percent versus 8.8 percent on a month-on-month basis. In the last month it had already touched a two year low and is expected to ease off this month as well on the back of relief seen on the inflation front.

In the month of February food inflation dipped to single digits at around 9.9 percent and is expected to contract further. However, the core inflation had hardened to 8.1 percent as opposed to 8.05 percent on a month-on-month basis and that could be the key reason why the RBI would still be skeptical and may even hold rates according to economists.

The rupee is a bit lower tracking weakness in Asian equities. Gilts, too, are slightly down on profit sales after big gains in recent sessions.

Sun Pharma is up 3 percent. ITC, Wipro, Hero MotoCorp and ICICI Banka re top gaienrs in the Sensex. Among the losers are BHEL, Maruti Suzuki, SBI and Hindalco.

Asian markets are sharply lower today with the Nikkei weighed down by a stronger yen.

Gold is at 4-month highs on safe haven buying while Brent crude was stable at USD 108 per barrel.

10:59am Market gains momentum
The Sensex rose 84.76 points to 21911.18 and the Nifty climbed 18.90 points to 6530.80. About 1128 shares have advanced, 928 shares declined, and 106 shares are unchanged.

Index heavyweight ITC jumped 2 percent. Top private sector lender ICICI Bank advanced over a percent while HDFC and HDFC Bank gained 0.4 percent each.

10:50am Autoline Industries snaps 6-day winning streak
Shares of Autoline Industries fell 4 percent as board members will have further discussion on share sale in Autoline Industries Inc USA

"The board of directors on March 11 discussed various avenues of raising funds to meet the funding requirements of the company including full disinvestment of shares in Autoline Industries Inc, USA and decided to meet in coming fortnight to discuss this further," the company said in its filing.

10:40am SKS Microfinance spikes 3.6%
Micro-lender SKS Microfinance's stock gained 3.6 percent as the company announced the ninth microfinance securitisation during the current financial year of Rs 80.30 crore.

With this, the total sum of securitisations completed for FY14 (year-to-date) is Rs 1,351.21 crore, SKS said in its filing.

SKS said, "The entire pool comprises receivables from women entrepreneurs (from 10 non-Andhra Pradesh states) belonging to weaker sections, and qualifies for priority sector treatment as per RBI's priority sector lending guidelines. The pool is rated AA (SO) by a leading rating agency signifying a high degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligations. Such instruments carry a very low credit risk."

10:30am SpiceJet gains 4%
Shares of  SpiceJet are flying off the shelf as it announced another sale slashing airfare. The low-cost carrier has launched a 'Super Holi Sales' advance booking scheme today, offering tickets as low as Rs 1999. This is the fourth such super sale offered by SpiceJet so far this year.

The five-day offer is applicable on bookings made between March 12 and March 16 for travel between April 14 and June 30.

''Fares start from Rs 1999 all inclusive on select routes and flights. Lowest fares are for bookings made 90 days prior to travel, and all bookings under this offer require minimum 30 days advance purchase,'' it said in a statement.

10:20am L&T Finance, Just Dial on buyers' radar
Shares of L&T Finance Holdings and Just Dial rallied 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively on inclusion in futures and options segment of the National Stock Exchange.

"The futures and options contracts on L&T Finance and Just Dial would be available for trading w.e.f. Thursday, March 13, 2014. The market lot of these securities shall be informed on March 12 through a separate circular," the NSE said in its release.

10:10am FII View
Prabhat Awasthi, Nomura feels the banks are the key beneficiaries of the recalibration of market expectations regarding a favourable election outcome and benign inflation data.

According to him, the key feature of the market rally over the past week has been the outperformance by high-beta and domestic-cyclical sectors such as banks, real estate and capital goods that had been laggards since the beginning of 2013.

10:00am Equity benchmarks are marginally lower on weak global cues. Stocks that had seen sharp rally last week are seeing selling pressure now. Banks, auto, capial goods and oil & gas stocks are weak.

The Sensex fell 22.17 points to 21804.25 and the Nifty declined 14.50 points to 6497.40. About 956 shares have advanced, 770 shares declined, and 85 shares are unchanged.

Top lender State Bank of India slipped 1.5 percent followed by HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank with 0.5-1 percent loss.

Capital goods majors Larsen & Toubro and BHEL slipped over 1.5 percent. State-run oil & gas leader ONGC lost 1.5 percent.
 
Shares of Maruti Suzuki trimmed losses to 1.8 percent from 3 percent as investors raised red flag regarding its Gujarat plant. Domestic fund managers have written a second letter to the management questioning its decision. Also, the fund managers have questioned the role of independent directors on the Maruti board.

Among other auto stocks, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto and Mahindra & Mahindra slipped 0.8 percent each while Hero Motocorp climbed over 1 percent.

However, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries rallied 3 percent as its subsidiary Caraco has received approval from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Risperidone oral tablets.

Dr Reddy's Labs and Cipla gained 1 percent while technology stocks like TCS and Wipro rose over 1.6 percent. Index heavyweight ITC advanced 1.4 percent.

10:00 am Stock in news: Shares of L&T Finance Holdings and Just Dial rallied more than 5 percent in early trade on inclusion in futures and options segment of the National Stock Exchange.

"The futures and options contracts on L&T Finance and Just Dial would be available for trading w.e.f. Thursday, March 13, 2014. The market lot of these securities shall be informed on March 12 through a separate circular," the NSE said in its release.

L&T Finance has been in focus as analysts believe it is the strong contender for getting banking licenses that are likely to be issued in current calendar year, sources say.

9:50 am FII View: Prabhat Awasthi, Nomura says banks are the key beneficiaries of the recalibration of market expectations regarding a favourable election outcome and benign inflation data. The key feature of the market rally over the past week has been the outperformance by high-beta and domestic-cyclical sectors such as banks, real estate and capital goods that had been laggards since the beginning of 2013.

Adrian Mowat, JP Morgan believes China is in a bear market but this is not suppressing rallies in ASEAN, India and new China. Korea remains a high conviction overweight market due to its exposure to accelerating global growth. We expect the Indian markets to discount a stronger economy ahead of the general elections.

9:40 am Poll: The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data is expected to contract at around 1.1 percent compared to a contraction of 0.6 percent due to weakness in manufacturing data. Manufacturing comprises 80 percent of total IIP.

Economists will also keep an eye on the consumer durables in order to get a better picture of the demand scenario. Consumer durables number had contracted 16 percent for the month of December.

Meanwhile, CPI for February 2014 is expected to possibly cool down to 8.1 percent versus 8.8 percent on a month-on-month basis. In the last month it had already touched a two year low and is expected to ease off this month as well on the back of relief seen on the inflation front.

In the month of February food inflation dipped to single digits at around 9.9 percent and is expected to contract further. However, the core inflation had hardened to 8.1 percent as opposed to 8.05 percent on a month-on-month basis and that could be the key reason why the RBI would still be skeptical and may even hold rates according to economists.

9:30 am Buzzing: Shares of Maruti Suzuki are once again reeling under selling pressure as investors raise red flag regarding its Gujarat plant. The stock fell over 4 percent intraday on Wednesday. Domestic fund managers have written a second letter to the management questioning its decision. Also, the fund managers have questioned the role of independent directors on the Maruti board.

The second letter has been signed by 16 fund managers from the mutual fund and insurance industry. In this letter, they have reasoned out why they are opposing it. Also, they have very categorically stated that the press release which was brought out by Maruti after the first letter was sent out by the fund managers, confirms that over time Maruti will become a shell company.

Meanwhile, according to CNBC-TV18's sources Maruti's independent directors have also expressed several reservations regarding the deal. There are only four independent directors on the 10 member Maruti board.
 
The market has opened on a flat note once again. The Sensex is down 24.25 points at 21802.17, and the Nifty is down 14.40 points at 6497.50. About 239 shares have advanced, 178 shares declined, and 27 shares are unchanged.

The rupee declined in early trade. It opened lower by 18 paise at 61.12 per dollar as against 60.94 a dollar Tuesday.

Rohini Malkani of Citi said continued compression in current account deficit (CAD) coupled with a pick-up in capital flows has created a constructive balance of payment (BoP) environment for the rupee.

However, he does not expect the rupee rally to extend beyond 60/dollar as he feels RBI would step in to rebuild reserves and increase the forex import cover.

The yen held onto gains early on Wednesday while investors kept their distance from risk currencies such as the Australian dollar amid worries about China's economic health.
The euro pulls back helping the US dollar index edge up towards 80 levels.

US stocks fell on Tuesday with the S&P 500 retreating from its record, as news from China hit commodity prices, concern about Ukraine lingered and investors awaited signals on the direction of the economy.

Asian stock markets is swinging lower as economic uncertainty in China and the United States combined with political tensions in Ukraine to keep investors cautious and commodities under a dark cloud.

Copper grabbed the headlines as Shanghai futures fell 5 percent to their lowest since 2009 amid concerns about the potential unraveling of loan deals where the industrial metal has been used as collateral.

Nymex crude slipped below USD 100 per barrel on higher-than-expected rise in inventories in US concerns of a slowdown in China, after recent weak data also weighed on prices.