M&M falls 3%, metals & banks shine; Sensex rangebound

03:50 pm Market news
Commodity markets regulator FMC has decided to levy up to 5 percent penalty - of the shortfall in the required margin money - on members of the national commodity bourses from April 1 for failing to collect the required amount from clients. Exchanges have also been asked to put in place a suitablemechanism to enable members report collection of all margins from their clients at the end of each trading day and to report short collection and non-collection on fifth day. Members, also called brokers, are required to collect the 'margin money' from clients, which is later deposited with the exchange. Margin money includes a percentage of the value of commodity that a client is keen to trade.

03:40 pm Market closing
After a rangebound trade, the market ended flat but Nifty managed to hold on to 6500. The Nifty ended at 6524.05 up 7.40 points while the Sensex was up 0.25 points at 21832.86. About 1444 shares have advanced, 1328 shares declined, and 152 shares are unchanged. TCS continued to drag with a loss of 4 percent, while ONGC, M&M, Coal India and Infosys were other laggards in the Sensex. Among the gainers were Tata Steel, Hindalco, Axis Bank, Sesa Sterlite and HDFC.

03:30 pm Fund raising plan
Shriram City Union Finance is planning to raise up to Rs 200 crore through non-convertible debentures (NCDs) to support financing activities. The company is proposing to raise Rs 100 crore, with an option to retain over subscription to the extent of another Rs 100 crore. NCDs are loan-linked securities issued by a company and cannot be converted into stocks and usually carry a higher interest rate than a convertible debenture. The funds raised through the issue are to be used for financing and lending activities, to repay existing loans and meet business operations including for capital expenditure and working capital requirements.

03:20 pm Court hearing: Delhi's High Court agreed to hear a petition by state-run power producer NTPC  challenging a recent regulatory ruling on electricity pricing, the company said. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission said last month that it would tighten incentive structures on capacity utilisation and tax treatments for NTPC, sending shares in India's top power producer down sharply to a five-year low. Analysts predict that the new pricing structure will likely hit NTPC's earnings. The High Court will hear the company's petition at the next hearing on May 19, NTPC said.

03:10 pm Outlook on IT stocks
Ankur Rudra of Ambit Capital says the market expects some value to be unlocked through its demerger plans, but that doesn't change the company's business reality. ''We are pessimistic on the company's services business. It hasn't grown much. Furthermore, its product business continues to be a challenge as it hasn't generated free cash flows yet,'' says Rudra, recommending a sell on the stock. Additionally, Rudra recommends buying TCS, despite the management lowering its estimates on the revenues and margins.  ''We expect TCS to grow the most once recovery returns. It will also be benefited by growth in Europe. Besides, the revision is only for Q4 and the company is poised to do well in Q1. Q2 FY15,'' highlights Rudra.

03:00 pm Interview
Talking about the pre-election spending, Prashant Panday ED & CEO, Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL) says bulk of political advertising is expected in April due to which there is a possibility of a hike in ad pricing. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Panday says that they are confident of maintaining margins at Q3 levels and anticipates Q1 of FY15 to be even better on account of better ad revenues. "If you look at what has actually come up so far, it is only the BJP campaign and it is a high powered campaign with very good creatives and radio. But we don't have a campaign yet specifically from other parties and that is going to come up shortly. Therefore, a little effect in March and the bulk of it would really be in April," he said.

2:50 pm ETF Collection on day 1
Seven anchor investors put in bids worth Rs 835 crore in the CPSE Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that was launched on Tuesday to help the government meet its disinvestment target, reports agencies. The non-anchor portion opened today and will close on Friday. The anchor investors were Bharti AXA, General Insurance Corp, LIC, National Insurance Corp, SBI, New India Assurance and United India Insurance, Goldman Sachs AMC, the managers to the fund disclosed on its website late on Tuesday. The government had reserved Rs 900 crore for anchor investors, or those bidding for more than Rs 10 crore of shares. The new fund offer of the CPSE ETF, through which the government aims to garner Rs 3,000 crore, opens for retail and other investor categories on Wednesday and closes on March 21.

2:40 pm Trading tips
Despite the underperformance by TCS and Infosys, the current levels are quite good to enter IT stocks from medium to long-term perspective, feels Dipen Shah, Sr VP & Head-PCG Research, Kotak Securities. On the IT front, he believes that not much has changed since Q3 results. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Shah says that besides the upbeat macro scenario coupled with the demand for offshoring and outsourcing in the US and Europe, fundamentally there haven't been any modifications. In the PSU banking space, Shah says SBI looks to be the better pick largely because of the recognition of NPAs which has already happened, they have been pretty aggressive in recognising NPAs. So, within that space we will go with SBI but otherwise we would rather prefer private sector banks to PSUs as of now.

02:30pm UPL under pressure
I-T Department has conducted raids in 25 premises of United Phosphorus (UPL). The company confirmed this news of I-T raids to CNBC-TV18. The stock fell 1.5 percent to Rs 187.25 amid high volumes on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

02:25pm Midcaps and Smallcaps
In the midcap space, Shipping Corporation, Triveni Turbine, Petronet LNG, Whirlpool and State Bank of Travancore gained 6-8 percent while Hindustan National Glass, AstraZeneca Pharma, Mindtree, eClerx Services and CMC fell 3-5 percent. Among smallcaps, Polaris Financial Technology and Marksans Pharma climbed 20 percent each. MT Educare gained 15 percent. DCM Shriram rose 8.5 percent. However, TD Power System, ILandFS Engineering, KPR Mill, Indian Metals and Elgi Equipments slipped 4-8 percent.

02:20pm Zensar Tech talks to CNBC-TV18
Ganesh Natrajan, Vice Chairman and MD of Zensar Technologies believes software exporters offering new solutions, which enable people to get closer to customers and supply chains, will be successful in coming days. After Infosys, TCS too slashed its March quarter margins and is expecting negative revenue growth in domestic market. Investors are cautious on it as TCS lowered 40-50 basis points in Q4FY14 margins due to cross currency and higher investments. However, Natrajan remains confident quoting TCS's statement that FY15 will be a better year than FY14. "The US economy is improving. Europe is much better this year than it was last year. Markets like Africa, even in the Middle East, are seeing growth. So I see no need whatsoever to be concerned about industry growth," he told CNBC-TV18.

02:15pm Gold update
Gold extended losses to a third session today, moving away from a six-month high touched earlier this week as cautious investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a policy decision by the US Federal Reserve. The Fed is expected to continue reducing its monthly bond purchase programme, denting bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation, and to alter its forward guidance when it gives its statement later in the day. The meeting will be the first presided over by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Cash gold hit a high of USD 1,359.65 an ounce before slipping to USD 1,353.70 by 0704 GMT, down USD 1.94, reports Reuters.

02:00pm The market is trading marginally higher in afternoon trade. The Sensex advanced 30.15 points to 21862.76 and the Nifty rose 13.80 points to 6530.45. About 1371 shares have advanced, 1212 shares declined, and 146 shares are unchanged. Wipro, which was having a ripple effect of TCS, bounced back with 1.5 percent gains. However, TCS lost 3.6 percent as the software company slashed March quarter margins and is expecting negative revenue growth in domestic market. Investors are cautious on it as TCS lowered 40-50 basis points in Q4FY14 margins due to cross currency and higher investments. Infosys declined nearly 2 percent. Private sector lenders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank gained 1-2 percent while rivals State Bank of India and HDFC Bank advanced 0.6 percent each. Metals stocks are stars today with the BSE Metal Index rising over 2 percent. Shares of Tata Steel and Hindalco rallied 4 percent each followed by Sesa Sterlite with 2.8 percent.

2:00 pm CBI probe: Hitting back at CBI for launching an enquiry against him on the basis of an already disposed of I-T probe, former SEBI chief CB Bhave says the agency was working with a ''crazy logic'' and has ignored the fact that the tax department itself found no merit in the case years ago. Hinting at certain revelations from his side in days to come, Mr. Bhave also accused CBI of indulging in ''pick and choose'' while registering a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against him and SEBI's another former senior official in Shah-related matters. A former Maharashtra cadre IAS officer of 1975 batch, Bhave further said that CBI must probe him if it has any evidence. But, CBI would have to ''publicly apologise'' to him for tarnishing his reputation if they find no substance, he told PTI in an interview.

1:50 pm Stock in news: Shares of Gujarat Natural Resources (GNRL) gained as much as 10.4 percent intraday Wednesday on successful completion of drilling activities in Kanawara and Dholasan fields in Gujarat by its 100 percent subsidiary GNRL Oil & Gas. The company said, "The drilling of the well in Dholasan field is completed within planned schedule and budget. Testing of the well is being undertaken." After completion of drilling activities for the first well in Dholasan field, it said the drilling of the second well (which was spuded on February 11) in Kanawara field was also successfully completed within planned schedule and budget.

1:40 pm Outlook: Indian companies are improving their credit profiles by selling equity and assets, or using free operating cash flows to reduce debt, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said, reports Reuters. The quest to improve credit profiles comes after a weak economy and high interest rates have adversely impacted their cash flows, while companies are also refocusing on cutting debt after years of fast expansion. S&P highlights infrastructure companies with high leverage are also considering selling assets or stakes in subsidiaries to cut down on their debt levels.

1:30 pm Asian markets: Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a one-week high on hopes the Ukraine crisis will not deepen, but a widely-anticipated market debut by Japan Display disappointed, with the shares dropping below their offer price. The Nikkei ended 0.4 percent higher to 14,462.52, the highest closing point since March 13, moving further away from a six-week low of 14,203.21 hit on Monday. Japan Display, the world's largest maker of smartphone screens, closed at 763 yen, 15 percent lower than its offer price of 900 yen. It was the third most-traded stock by turnover. The broader Topix index dropped 0.1 percent to 1,164.33.

1:20 pm Halt: London listed Cairn Energy will halt its USD 300 million share buyback programme from March 21 as it is unable to sell its 10 percent stake in Cairn India due to a tax dispute with the Indian tax department. Cairn Energy, which had in 2011 sold majority stake in its Indian unit to Vedanta for USD 8.67 billion, still holds 10.3 percent stake in Cairn India. The income tax department had contacted Cairn Energy in January to discuss income tax assessments dating back about seven years, making it the latest foreign firm to be embroiled in the country's tax crackdown to try to cut its budget deficit.

The market is in the green with marginal gains. The Sensex is up 12.40 points at 21845.01, and the Nifty is up 9.45 points at 6526.10. About 1304 shares have advanced, 1150 shares declined, and 169 shares are unchanged. Samir Arora of Helios Capital says the market will witness a pre-election rally of 10-15 percent. Hindalco, Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Axis Bank and Bharti Airtel are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are TCS, Infosys, ONGC, M&M and Coal India. Ashok Leyland has sold 50 lakh shares of IndusInd Bank through a combination of bulk deal and normal trading. The deal fetched Ashok Leyland Rs 230-240 crore. This is the third stake sale by Ashok Leyland in IndusInd Bank and is part of company's policy to sell non-core assets to reduce debt. Shares of Polaris Financial Technology gained another 20 percent, in addition to 11.57 percent upmove in previous session after the company announced demerger of its products business into an independent entity. "This is a decisive step towards unlocking the potential of the company to respond to emerging opportunities in financial technologies in the coming decade. In fact, it is a win-win for customers, employees and investors alike," Arun Jain, executive chairman said in a release on Tuesday. Meanwhile, investors continued to lap up shares of Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals after the Corporate Debt Restructuring Empowered Group approved the debt restructuring package of the company. The stock rallied 7.8 percent intraday on top of a 10 percent rally in previous session.

12:55pm Gujarat Natural Resources in focus
The stock is locked at 10 percent upper circuit as the company said after completion of drilling activities for the first well in Dholasan field, the drilling of the second well (which was spuded on February 11) in Kanawara field is successfully completed within planned schedule and budget. It further said stimulation and final completion of the well k#10 is planned to be undertaken in last week of March 2014. GNRL Oil & Gas holds 30 percent interest in both fields while 70 percent participating interest is held by GSPC.

12:45pm Nikkei rises to 1-week high
Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a one-week high on hopes the Ukraine crisis will not deepen, but a widely-anticipated market debut by Japan Display disappointed, with the shares dropping below their offer price. The Nikkei ended 0.4 percent higher to 14,462.52, the highest closing point since March 13, moving further away from a six-week low of 14,203.21 hit on Monday, reports Reuters.

12:35pm State Bank of India talks to CNBC-TV18
State Bank of India has been carrying the burden of dud assets worth Rs 67,799 crore and for the first time in more than 100 years will offload around Rs 5,000 crore of such assets to Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs). The process is likely to complete before the end of the month. Soundara Kumar, Deputy MD-Stressed Assets Management, SBI told CNBC-TV18 that the nation's largest public sector bank could see a pick-up in restructuring in the fourth quarter. She informed the group has concluded sales of 1-2 bad loans to ARCs. There are around 14 ARCs functioning today and many had approached SBI to buy its bad loans. Banks are in huge rush to offload bad loans to protect them against higher loan loss provisions applicable from March next year.

12:25pm Morgan Stanley bullish on private banks
Anil Agarwal, MD, Head of Asia ex-Japan Banks Research, Morgan Stanley believes the bad loan cycle for banks is nearing its end and growth is likely to pick up in the coming days. From an interest rate perspective, he says, there is ample liquidity in the banking system. ''As we go into the next quarter, inflation is coming off. You will start seeing some decline in deposit rates. So, the delta in terms of NPL formation, our view is going to be positive. So, come Q1 of next year the NPL formation will start slowing,'' he told CNBC-TV18. He advises buying all the private sector banks. "Private sector banks right now are at an inflexion point. If NPL formation starts going down, the private banks should be able to gain market share as they are very well-capitalised. Valuations are cheap now for private sector banks," he elaborated.

12:15pm Polaris locked at 20% upper circuit
Shares of Polaris Financial Technology gained another 20 percent Wednesday, in addition to 11.57 percent upmove in previous session after the company announced demerger of its products business into an independent entity. Arun Jain, executive chairman said the company initiated the demerger process around 18 months to 2 years ago by looking at opportunity by which technology-related financial services offers to the market. After demerger, the product company will be known as Intellect Design Arena and comprise of four distinct businesses - global universal banking; risk and treasury management; global transaction banking and insurance. The company further said every shareholder of Polaris Financial Technology will receive one share of Intellect.

12:00pm The market remains lacklustre ahead of outcome of Federal Reserve's two-day meeting that will conclude today. The Sensex rose 15.52 points to 21848.13 and the Nifty advanced 10.05 points to 6526.70. The broader markets continue to outperform benchmarks with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap rising 0.4 percent each. Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1234 to 1067 on the BSE.   Metals shares are on buyers' radar; the BSE Metal Index gained 2.5 percent. Hindalco Industries and Tata Steel rallied 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively while Sesa Sterlite climbed 2.8 percent. Shares of ITC, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs and Bajaj Auto advanced 1-2 percent. However, TCS fell 5 percent. ONGC and Infosys lost more than 2 percent while M&M, Tata Power, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki, Cipl and Hero Motocorp dropped 0.5-1 percent.

11:50 am Stock in news: Shares of Polaris Financial Technology gained another 13 percent Wednesday, in addition to 11.57 percent upmove in previous session after the company announced demerger of its products business into an independent entity. "This is a decisive step towards unlocking the potential of the company to respond to emerging opportunities in financial technologies in the coming decade. In fact, it is a win-win for customers, employees and investors alike," Arun Jain, executive chairman said in a release on Tuesday. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he said the company initiated the demerger process around 18 months to 2 years ago by looking at opportunity by which technology-related financial services offers to the market.

11:40 am Market expert: Ashish Chugh, Investment Analyst & Author of Hidden Gems told CNBC-TV18, "GVK Power is a contrarian kind of a bet from the sector. This company is currently facing problems mainly because of lack of availability of gas because of which the plants are operating at very low plant load factors but I don't have any levels for the stock. I see it as a good investment at these levels, valuations I believe are extremely reasonable but this is a stock for somebody with high risk appetite.'' He further added, ''The major problem is that the company has got a debt of about Rs 21000 crore, they are trying their level best to pair it down through various monetisation measures which include stake sale in the airport business, monetisation of the part of land in GVK Sky City. So as the availability of gas becomes better this company has the possibility of turning around.''

11:30 am Interview: State Bank of India has been carrying the burden of dud assets worth Rs 67,799 crore and for the first time in more than 100 years will offload around Rs 5,000 crore of such assets to Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs). The process is likely to complete before the end of the month. Soundara Kumar, Deputy MD-Stressed Assets Management, SBI told CNBC-TV18 that the nation's largest public sector bank could see a pick-up in restructuring in the fourth quarter. She informed the group has concluded sales of 1-2 bad loans to ARCs. There are around 14 ARCs functioning today and many had approached SBI to buy its bad loans.

11:20 am Market outlook: Samir Arora of Helios Capital feels the market may rally 10-15 percent between now and May 16, when the election results would be declared. According to Arora, a true market rally is one when there are plenty of IPOs, QIPs (qualified institutional placements) and NFOs (new fund offerings). It is certainly not a rally when there is hardly participation from domestic investors. ''This (rally) is more like a correction of a correction,'' said Arora, adding that a new high for the index purely in terms of number was irrelevant. With IT bellwether TCS sounding caution on fourth quarter earnings, the sector could lose some of its sheen, feels Arora.

It looks like a day of consolidation as the Sensex is up 44.86 points at 21877.47, and the Nifty is up 19.00 points at 6535.65. About 1175 shares have advanced, 873 shares declined, and 127 shares are unchanged. Hindalco, Tata Steel, Axis Bank, Sesa Sterlite and Bharti Airtel are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are TCS, Tata Power, Infosys, ONGC and Hero MotoCorp. Rupee is higher tracking positive global market sentiment. However, month-end dollar demand from importers and for defense-related payments may weigh. There is caution ahead of the outcome of the US Fed's policy meet that ends today. Gilts are slightly higher taking cues from a slight fall in us treasury yields. Sentiment cautious with most market participants avoiding fresh positions ahead of the FOMC policy outcome Asian markets come off their earlier gains as investors turn cautious ahead of the US FOMC's two-day policy meeting that concludes later today. Japan is in focus as trade deficit for the month of February narrowed month-on-month but was higher than estimates at 800 billion yen. The euro and the yen are trading in a thin range against the dollar as caution prevails ahead of the US FOMC decision.

10:59am Polaris extends rally post demerger
Shares of Polaris Financial Technology gained 6 percent, in addition to 11 percent upmove in previous session after the company announced demerger of its products (Intellect) business into an independent entity. "The board of directors of the company has given in-principle approval for demerging the products business undertaking of the company into a separate listed company. The structure is subject to the approval by the various regulatory authorities like stock exchanges, SEBI, Madras High Court, Registrar of Companies, shareholders and creditors," the company said in its filing. After demerger, the product company will be known as Intellect Design Arena and comprised of four distinct businesses - global universal banking; risk and treasury management; global transaction banking and insurance.

10:50am Buying continues in State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur
Investors continued to buy shares of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur ahead of board meeting on March 25. The stock rallied as much as 5.75 percent intraday Wednesday and now it is up 4.4 percent. "A meeting of the board of directors will be held on March 25 to consider declaration and payment of interim dividend for financial year 2013-14," the bank said in its filing to the exchange.

10:40am State Bank of Travancore on buyers' radar
Shares of State Bank of Travancore gained 5 percent ahead of board meeting on March 21. The bank said the board of directors in a meeting would consider: 1) declaration of interim dividend to shareholders; preferential allotment of shares; and 3) rights issue to shareholders of the bank.

10:30am FII View
Neelkanth Mishra, Credit Suisse said the brokerage firm continued to be positive on the Indian market. "The upcoming elections have added to India's relative attractiveness on macro parameters," he added. The firm expects capital inflows to continue, driving mild currency strength and a drop in wholesale funding costs. Credit Suisse recommends buying NBFCs to benefit from lower funding costs, and Maruti for improved sentiment.

10:15am TCS under pressure
TCS slumped 4 percent as management rang warning bell about its revenue growth margins. In its mid quarter analysts meet, TCS warned that Q4 revenues and margins are likely to be lower than the previous quarter as Indian situation remains volatile.  The software company slashed March quarter margins and is expecting negative revenue growth in domestic market. Investors are cautious on it as TCS lowered 40-50 basis points in Q4FY14 margins due to cross currency and higher investments. This has a ripple effect on other IT stocks like Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies that fell 1-3 percent.

10:00am Equity benchmarks are directionless as investors are cautious ahead of outcome of Federal Reserve's two-day meeting that will end today. Geoffrey Dennis, head of global emerging market strategy at UBS Investment Bank says he does not expect Janet Yellen to announce any surprises in the policy meet. In fact he expects her to maintain the course of tapering and sees the end of quantitative easing by third quarter of 2014. The Sensex fell 1.34 points to 21831.27 while the Nifty rose 2.80 points to 6519.45 but the broader markets gained marginally. About 1000 shares have advanced, 614 shares declined, and 95 shares are unchanged. Banks, capital goods, metals and capital goods stocks supported the market while the selling in technology stocks capped the upside. Private sector lender Axis Bank rallied 2.8 percent while rival ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India gained 0.5-0.8 percent. Aluminium major Hindalco Industries topped the buying list, rising 3.4 percent followed by Tata Steel and Sesa Sterlite with 2.88 percent and 1.65 percent upside, respectively. Healthcare stocks like Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs and Cipla climbed 0.3-0.7 percent.

10:00 am Advance tax payments: The initial trend for fourth installment of advance tax payments suggests a 12 percent increase in payments by top 15 companies. A break up of sectors shows that the public sector banks have seen a slight slowdown. While the country's largest lender, State Bank of India , has managed to maintain their earlier number by paying Rs 1456 crore advance tax , the other public sector banks (PSBs) payments have seen a downtrend, with Bank of Baroda shelling out Rs 360 crore as advance tax this quarter versus Rs 350 crore. Bank of India will be paying Rs 500 crore versus Rs 790 crore last year. However, the private and foreign banks continue to outperform the public sector peers. Yes Bank paid around Rs 268 crore as advance tax versus Rs 210 crore it paid the previous year.

9:50 am Buzzing: Tata Power Company is quoting ex-rights. The power producer on March 8 announced rights issue of Rs 1993.38 crore consisting of over 33 crore equity shares of face value of Re 1 each. The company said every eligible equity shareholder would be entitled to apply for seven shares for every 50 shares held by such eligible equity shareholder on the record date of March 20, 2014. Issue price for rights is fixed at Rs 60 per share including premium of Rs 59 a share.

9:40 am FII view: Neelkanth Mishra, Credit Suisse said the brokerage firm continued to be positive on the Indian market. "The upcoming elections have added to India's relative attractiveness on macro parameters," he added. The firm expects capital inflows to continue, driving mild currency strength and a drop in wholesale funding costs. Credit Suisse recommends buying NBFCs to benefit from lower funding costs, and Maruti for improved sentiment. "We advise selling SBI, BHEL, Ultratech Cement, L&T and Tata Steel," it said.

9:30 am Big slump: Shares of TCS slumped to 3-month low, falling 4 percent intraday on Wednesday as management rang warning bell about its revenue growth margins. In its mid quarter analyst meet, TCS warned that Q4 revenues and margins are likely to be lower than the previous quarter as Indian situation remains volatile.  The software company slashed March quarter margins and is expecting negative revenue growth in domestic market. Investors are cautious on it as TCS lowered 40-50 basis points in  Q4FY14 margins due to cross currency and higher investments. The management, however, still maintains its growth outlook for FY15 to be better than FY14, with H1FY15 growing faster than H2FY15. It is confident that margins may stabilise  27-28 percent in the long term. It said that there have been no ramp downs or cancellations and no change in the retail vertical fundamentals. Europe is going to outperform, while the growth for US as well as UK will be inline. It has also assumed that India growth will continue to remain sluggish and discretionary spend will be better.

The market has opened on a flat note. The Sensex is up 49.51 points at 21882.12, and the Nifty up 15.10 points at 6531.75. About 291 shares have advanced, 75 shares declined, and 11 shares are unchanged. TCS has fallen 4 percent, while other losers in the Sensex are Tata Power, Wipro, L&T and Infosys. Among the gainers are HDFC, Bajaja Auto, GAIL, Dr Reddy's Labs and Axis Bank. The Indian rupee opened higher by 13 paise at 61.06 per dollar against 61.19 Tuesday. The dollar stood near its lowest level in more than four months against a basket of currencies, ahead of Janet Yellen's inaugural policy review as the Federal Reserve's Chief. Pramit Brahmbhatt of Alpari India said, "India's local equity is expected to open on a strong note as Goldman Sachs positive comments helped investors to gain confidence." "The range for the day is seen between 60.60-61.60/USD," he added. Wall Street rallied, post positive US economy and after Vladimir Putin said Russia was not looking to divide Ukraine. Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to make Crimea a part of Russia saying Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia. However, the Russian president calmed markets by saying there was no need to divide Ukraine further. As expected, the US warned Russia of more sanctions. The Federal Reserve continues with its two-day policy-setting session. The central bank is expected to continue tapering asset purchases. In commodities, Nymex crude is trading below USD 100 per barrel on expectations of higher US stockpiles. Brent is at around 106 dollars. From precious metals space, gold slips over 1 percent lower as equities rally on Putin's speech.