Nifty ends tad below 6700, rupee gains past 60/$; SBI leads

03:50 pm Debt figure : India's external debt was at USD 426 billion - including the government's debt of USD 76.4 billion - at the end of December.

"Government (Sovereign) external debt stood at USD 76.4 billion, (17.9 percent of total external debt) at end- December 2013 as against USD 81.7 billion (20.2 percent) at end-March 2013," the Finance Ministry said today.

The total external debt of USD 426 billion showed an increase of USD 21.1 billion over the March-end level.

"The rise in external debt during the period was due to long-term debt particularly NRI deposits. A sharp increase in NRI deposits reflected the impact of fresh FCNR(B) deposits mobilised under the swap scheme during September-November 2013," it said in the latest quarterly report.

03:40 pm Market ending:
The Sensex ended up 125.60 points at 22339.97, and the Nifty closed up 54.15 points at 6695.90. About 1707 shares have advanced, 1048 shares declined, and 153 shares are unchanged. Both the Nifty, Sensex ended at record closing high. Nifty hit intra-day record high of 6701.6 while the Sensex hit intra-day record high of 22,364. Bank Nifty up for fifth day in a row, gained up to 1.2 percent. NSE cash volume at Rs 13,614 crore on first day of April Series.

03:25 pm FII view:
The perception of India has diminished globally, believes Mickey Doshi, Managing Director & Country Head, Credit Suisse.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18's Nimesh Shah from the sidelines of Credit Suisse Asia Investor Conference, Doshi said that decisive mandate post elections has the power to alter that perception. ''A decisive government will lead to a positive outcome,'' he said.

The current rally seen in the Indian market is a hope rally and the Indian market has run ahead of itself, he added. Also, macros in India have bottomed out and investors are more optimistic than corporate India, he said.

Further, he sees the Indian currency remaining in a bullish zone if foreign fund inflows continue. However, since the strength seen in the rupee is sentiment driven and aided by flows, the currency may weaken one flows stabilise, he cautioned.

03:15 pm Market level:
The Sensex is up 126.69 points at 22341.06, and the Nifty is up 56.20 points at 6697.95, after hitting record high of 6700. About 1691 shares have advanced, 1034 shares declined, and 157 shares are unchanged. Rupee breaches 60 per dollar first time since July 30, 2013.

03:10 pm Rupee expert:
The rupee is definitely the most outperforming currency in the emerging markets basket. It has seen almost 13 percent appreciation from August lows. Jayesh Mehta, managing director and country treasurer, Bank of America says the rupee can breach 60 per dollar and maybe even go towards 59 per dollar before elections is the country sees another round of FII inflows.

He says even if there is profit booking on equities, the rupee will not see much of an impact.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is expecting the rupee to be around 60 per dollar pre-polls. If the country sees consolidated FII inflows in the equity side, then the rupee can reach 59 per dollar. Mehta says at 60 per dollar, the rupee is well supported.

But post elections, on the back of a stable government, the rupee can appreciate to 57 per dollar level.

02:59pm Suzlon Energy up
Suzlon Energy said its subsidiary Senvion has signed turbine deal with Scottish energy firm SSE for supplying 67.65 MW turbines.

Senvion will install turbines under 67.65 MW order in early 2015, the company said.

Meanwhile, shareholders of the company on Thursday approved increasing borrowing limit to Rs 20,000 crore from Rs 10,000 crore and reappointment of Tulsi Tanti as managing director.

02:50pm Nestle in focus
The stock gained over a percent as Nestle hiked some of its products' prices.

CNBC-TV18 reports quoting unnamed sources that it has hiked Nescafe 50 gm bottle price by 4.5 percent to Rs 115 and 100 gm bottle price by 3.3 percent to Rs 217.

It has also raised price of toned milk 1 litre pack by 6.2 percent to Rs 69 and Maggi Pazzta price by 11 percent to Rs 20 per 70 gm pack.

02:40pm Interview
The Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) cell of IDBI Bank has approved 18 cases worth Rs 30,000 crore in March 2014. It has also given nod to ABG Shipyard's Rs 11,000-crore debt recast package and IVRCL's is still under consideration. However, Hanung Toys' case has not been approved, said RK Bansal, ED, IDBI Bank and Head of CDR Cell.

Bansal said that CDR cases worth around Rs 1,20,000 crore had come up for referral, out of which the bank has approved cases for around Rs 90,000 crore. In the first nine months Rs 60,000-crore cases were given a go ahead, whereas the last three months saw fewer such cases worth Rs 30,000 crore.

02:30pm Nikkei closes at two-week high
Japanese stocks rose to two-week highs in choppy trade ahead of the approaching fiscal year-end, while Yahoo Japan Corp dived on questions over strategy following news it will buy mobile network operator eAccess from SoftBank Corp.

Gains in Asian markets helped the Nikkei share average end 0.5 percent higher at 14,696.03, the best close since March 13. But trade was choppy, with the index falling to as low as 14,520.57 earlier. For the week, the index rose 3.3 percent, reports Reuters.

02:20pm Rupee Update
The rupee is definitely the most outperforming currency in the emerging markets basket. It has seen almost 13 percent appreciation from August lows. It appreciates 26 paise to 60.05 a dollar.

Jayesh Mehta, managing director and country treasurer, Bank of America says the rupee can breach 60 per dollar and maybe even go towards 59 per dollar before elections is the country sees another round of FII inflows.

He says even if there is profit booking on equities, the rupee will not see much of an impact.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is expecting the rupee to be around 60 per dollar pre-polls. If the country sees consolidated FII inflows in the equity side, then the rupee can reach 59 per dollar. Mehta says at 60 per dollar, the rupee is well supported.

But post elections, on the back of a stable government, the rupee can appreciate to 57 per dollar level.

02:10pm Market Expert
Amit Khurana, Co- Head Equites and Head-Research at Dolat Capital Market says the positive momentum in the market is likely to continue, given supportive factors like the inflows, broad economic news and the hope of a new and better governance post elections. The bias on the overall market continues to be positive, he adds.

The upside in the market has also led the Bank Nifty to move higher with the banking index now running close to 13,000, after an extremely long time. Khurana believes the rally in the Bank Nifty is due to public sector banks like Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda doing extremely well and pushing the index higher and so, it is preferable to invest in individual stocks than the index.

02:00pm The market consolidates around 6650 level on the Nifty. PSU banks, metals and power stocks along with Reliance Industries continue to help the market stay higher with marginal gains while the consistent fall in private banks, FMCG and HDFC twins caps the upmove.

The Sensex rose 26.14 points to 22240.51 and the Nifty climbed 13.05 points to 6654.80. About 1566 shares have advanced, 1098 shares declined, and 145 shares are unchanged.

PSU banks continue to see buying interest after the Reserve Bank of India has extended Basel-III norms implementation for banks to March 31, 2019. The central bank also eased norms for additional Tier-I equity issue under Basel-III.

These banks gain 1-7 percent with major ones like State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda rallying 3-4 percent.

2:00 pm Rupee check: The Indian rupee, which hit an eight-month high this week, has staged an impressive turnaround over the past seven months, but analysts say it may struggle to break through the key psychological level of 60. The currency has strengthened 12.5 percent against the US dollar since hitting an all-time low of 68.85 in August 2013 during the peak of the emerging markets crisis.

The dollar-rupee pair traded around 60.20. A combination of factors have fueled the currency`s appreciation - including an improvement in economic fundamentals such as the current account, together with central bank governor Raghuram Rajan`s proactive approach to monetary policy.

1:50 pm In focus: India Cements seems to be celebrating the Supreme Court order on IPL spot-fixing scandal probe. Shares of the cement company rose 8 percent as SC has granted Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals permission to play in the seventh edition of IPL.

However, in its order, SC has said that except players and commentators, no other employee of India Cements, its subsidiary, or associate companies will participate in IPL. "No BCCI official to be linked with India Cements," said the apex court. Srinivasan is the MD of India Cements which owns the IPL team Chennai Super Kings. The SC has also appointed Sunil Gavaskar as working president of BCCI only for IPL matches as Srinivasan has stepped aside as its chief. Gavaskar will not do commentary during IPL 7 and will get out of contractual agreements with BCCI for commentary.

1:40 pm Market outlook: Nandan Chakraborty, MD, Institutional Equity Research, Axis Capital recommends investors to have a judicious mix of defensives and cyclicals in their portfolios now. Sharing views on the current market rally, Chakraborty told CNBC-TV18 that in upmoves, consumer discretionary and BFSI stocks rise first.

He expects 15 percent growth in Sensex levels by year-end. He sees big upside in select engineering and infrastructure stocks. Also, certain pockets of banking stocks may see large upmove going ahead. From the PSU banking pack, he is positive on SBI and PNB . One can bet on auto ancillary stocks like Motherson Sumi in the midcap auto space, he added. Further, he added that earnings upgrade is seen only for companies with improvement in balance sheet, he said.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Investors continued to buy shares of GM Breweries, the manufacturer of alcoholic beverages, ahead of board meeting. The stock rallied as much as 19 percent to touch 32-month high of Rs 130.90.

The country liquor manufacturer, on March 19, had said the board of directors will consider taking on record the audited financial results for the year ending March 31 and dividend on equity shares on April 3

In addition to that, it today said the board also proposes to consider or recommend issue of bonus shares during the same board meeting.

1:20 pm Exclusive iterview: The Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) cell of IDBI Bank has approved 18 cases worth Rs 30,000 crore in March 2014. It has also given nod to ABG Shipyard 's Rs 11,000-crore debt recast package and IVRCL's is still under consideration.

However, Hanung Toys' case has not been approved, said RK Bansal, ED, IDBI Bank and Head of CDR Cell. Bansal said that CDR cases worth around Rs 1,20,000 crore had come up for referral, out of which the bank has approved cases for around Rs 90,000 crore. In the first nine months Rs 60,000-crore cases were given a go ahead, whereas the last three months saw fewer such cases worth Rs 30,000 crore.

The market consolidates on first trading session of the April series supported by PSU banks, metals and technology stocks. About 1438 shares have advanced, 1064 shares declined, and 169 shares are unchanged.

Banking stocks gain after Basel III norms was deferred by one year to march 2019. The Sensex is up 3.46 points at 22217.83, and the Nifty is up 10.05 points at 6651.80.

SBI, Hindalco, Dr Reddy's Labs, Tata Power and Axis Bank are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are HDFC twins, ITC, HUL and L&T.

About 1438 shares have advanced, 1064 shares declined, and 169 shares are unchanged.

The rupee is at 8-month high tracking strength in Asian currencies and on sustained FII flows. The rupee gains close to 3 percent in March.

Sources tell CNBC-TV18 that Coal India has set a deadline of December 2014 to firm up its power business and plans to invest Rs 10,000 crore. The company will set up a 1,600 mega watts power plant in Sundargarh, Odisha.

Asian markets erased early losses and trade in the green after the latest Japan economic data dampens hopes for further monetary stimulus.

12:59pm GM Breweries spikes 18%
GM Breweries said the board of directors proposes to consider/recommend issue of bonus shares during the board meeting to be held on April 03, 2014.

12:50pm Motherson Sumi up 3%
Brokerage house Barclays has raised target by 16 percent to Rs 265 apiece on Motherson Sumi.

"Our recent interaction with Motherson Sumi Systems (MSSL) suggests: 1) the company is on track to meet its 2015 revenue guidance of USD 5 billion and is also striving to meet its ROCE target of 40 percent; 2) global original equipment manufacturers are increasingly moving towards sourcing of assemblies, implying significant scope for growth for SMP; and 3) active safety features are gaining momentum with products such as BSD and LDW gaining traction in mirrors (SMR)," the report said.

Thus, Barclays remains enthused about Motherson Sumi Systems' growth prospects, both domestically as well as for its overseas subsidiaries.

12:40pm FII View
Chris Wood, CLSA said MSCI India and Indonesia have risen by 5 percent and 19.5 percent in dollar terms so far in 2014. "This is a reminder that, in emerging markets, sometimes politics can be the only thing that matters in the short to medium-term," he added.

"Since Greed & Fear shares the optimism on forthcoming polls in both countries, we recommend playing the momentum and staying overweight both," Wood said.

12:30pm India Cements surges 6%
India Cements seems to be celebrating the Supreme Court order on IPL spot-fixing scandal probe. SC has granted Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals permission to play in the seventh edition of IPL.

However, in its order, SC has said that except players and commentators, no other employee of India Cements, its subsidiary, or associate companies will participate in IPL. "No BCCI official to be linked with India Cements," said the apex court. Srinivasan is the MD of India Cements which owns the IPL team Chennai Super Kings.

12:20pm RBI policy on April 1
All eyes are once again on Raghuram Rajan. What will he do on April 1 seems to be the question on the minds of most people. Robert Prior of Credit Suisse expects the upcoming Reserve Bank policy to be lackluster.

But he is expecting a 75 basis points hike in rates between September 2014 and March 2015. He believes RBI governor Raghuram Rajan will focus on inflation.

He says India has to live with higher interest rates for now. He adds that high inflation is a key factor for low growth.

As far as the market and the rupee are concerned, they are gaining strength by the day, and according to broad consensus India's macro-economic situation has improved greatly, which in turn is leading to FII inflows. Improvement in current account deficit is definitely helping the rupee, Prior says.

12:10pm Rupee outlook
The rupee is trading at 60.13 a dollar, up 18 paise after hitting an intraday high of 60.01.

Manoj Rane, MD & Head Fixed Income & Treasury - India, BNP Paribas told CNBC-TV18 that the strength seen in the Indian currency is sentiment-driven and is also aided by foreign fund inflows.

Given the positivity surrounding elections, the rupee may see 58-59/USD for a bit, but in the medium term it should hover in 60-62/USD range, he added.

12:00pm The market is flat in noon trade with the Nifty hovering around 6650 level. Reliance Industries and State Bank of India continue to support the market. However, the selling in heavyweights HDFC group and FMCG stocks caps the upside.

The Sensex advanced 12.52 points to 22226.89 and the Nifty rose 14.95 points to 6656.70. About 1394 shares have advanced, 957 shares declined, and 147 shares are unchanged.

Public sector lender State Bank of India rallied nearly 3 percent whereas its rivals ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank lost 0.2 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Axis Bank gained 1.5 percent.

Aluminium major Hindalco Industries topped the buying list, rising over 3 percent followed by Sesa Sterlite and Tata Steel with 1-2 percent.

Technology companies Infosys, TCS and Wipro gained marginally after Accenture raised full year profit guidance.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries continued to support benchmarks with one percent gain.

However, shares of ITC, Hindustan Unilever, Larsen & Toubro and HDFC fell more than a percent.

10:59am Automakers to hike car prices soon
Automakers like Renault, Maruti, Hyundai and Honda are all set to raise car prices in India, just a month after reducing price following excise duty cuts by the government.

While the hike range hasn't been disclosed yet, dealers confirmed that the price hike is imminent by April 1.

This is the third time in the last six months that manufacturers will be raising prices.

Only last month car makers slashed prices after the government announced excise duty reduction on passenger vehicles saying that they want their customers to get full benefit of the cut in excise duty.

10:50am Everonn Education gains 2%
Everonn Education on Thursday approved preferential allotment of 10,91,303 equity shares and 1 optionally convertible debenture of value Rs 4.33 crore to The Concorde Residential Schools (Kerala) Private Limited, forming part of the promoter group upon conversion of loan amount Rs 4.33 crore.

10:40am Interview
The electrical and automation division of Larsen & Toubro has seen headwinds in the last year with negligible order inflows in India. Business degrew 6 percent in the last year. However, with overseas orders saving the day for L&T, the company is hopeful of the business picking up in fiscal year 2015.

L&T's senior VP S C Bhargava told CNBC TV18 that the electrical and automation division is eyeing revenues of Rs 5000 crore in FY14 and is hopeful or stronger FY15.

Malaysia, Dubai and Qatar are key focus markets for the division as major infrastructure growth in Middle East is pushing order inflows up. ''Two-third of our business comes from GCC countries,'' Bhargava added.

10:30am Godrej Properties in focus
Investors have been buying shares of Godrej Properties for the fifth consecutive session today on launching projects in Chennai and Pune. The stock climbed over 2 percent today, in addition to 8 percent rally in previous four sessions.

The Mumbai-based real estate developer has entered into a partnership with SSPDL Green Acres LLP to develop a residential project at Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai.

The proposed project is spread over seven acres and it will offer approximately 93000 square meters (one million square feet) of saleable area comprising 1, 2 and 3 BHK apartments.

Meanwhile, the company on March 26 also entered into a partnership to develop a residential project in Pune that spread over 43 acres.

10:20am Rupee approaches 60 a dollar
The rupee is trading at 8-month high of 60.07 against dollar, up 23 paise today following strength in equity markets.

If it breaches 60-mark, then it will be for the first time since July 30, 2013.

The domestic currency gained 2.9 percent or 179 paise in current month so far while it appreciated 5.2 percent or 332 paise from low of 63.32 a dollar on January 27.

It gained 12.8 percent or 880 paise from its all-time low of 68.80 on August 28, 2013.

10:10am Market Expert
Nifty has already rallied 2 percent this week perhaps on the hopes of a NDA government coming to power. Market expert Sandip Sabharwal advises investors who have already entered the market to ride the rally, but says those who have not entered yet should wait out and enter post elections.

''I do not see the sustainable level of the market being above 7,000 prior to the elections, so there is a 5-7 percent play which you want to play now,'' he tells existing market players.

10:00am Equity benchmarks continued upmove on first trading session of April series supported by PSU banks, metals, technology and healthcare stocks.

The Sensex rose 49.03 points to 22263.40 and the Nifty climbed 21 points to 6662.75. About 1233 shares have advanced, 534 shares declined, and 82 shares are unchanged.

Petrochemical major Reliance Industries advanced 1 percent while technology majors Infosys and TCS too gained one percent each.

Top lender State Bank of India rallied nearly 3 percent, in addition to 4 percent upmove in previous session after Goldman Sachs upgraded the PSU bank to buy from neutral rating and revised target price to Rs 2,080 from Rs 1,440 apiece.

Axis Bank rose over 1 percent while rivals ICICI Bank is flat and HDFC Bank declined 0.7 percent.

Drug major Sun Pharma advanced 0.6 percent as media reports suggest that the company will buy Stan C Mumbai tower for Rs 280 crore.

Dr Reddy's Labs and Cipla climbed over a percent.

However, housing finance company HDFC is under pressure, falling 2 percent. Shares of ITC, HUL and L&T slipped 0.6-0.9 percent.

9:50 am Buzzing: Shares of Godrej Properties jumped 3 percent intraday. The realty firm said it has entered into a partnership with SSPDL Green Acres LLP to develop a residential project in Chennai. The project will be developed through a profit-sharing model.

It has also entered into a joint venture with two local firms on Wednesday to develop a premium housing project in Pune.

GPL is developing housing, commercial and township projects spread across 94 million square feet in 12 cities.

9:40 am FII view: Chris Wood, CLSA says MSCI India and Indonesia have risen by 5 percent and 19.5 percent in dollar terms so far in 2014 and that is a reminder that, in emerging markets, sometimes politics can be the only thing that matters in the short to medium-term.

Ridham Desai, Morgan Stanley feels banks and technology are the two biggest sectors in India with over 45 percent of index weight. "They have historically moved in opposite directions, as they have done in recent months. The market currently favours financials over tech stocks whereas our sector model portfolio has the opposite position," he adds.

9:30 am Warning: If the Reserve Bank (RBI) hikes interest rates any further in the next three to six months, the number of stressed corporates in BSE 500 will rise in the range of 14 -15 percent, a report by India Ratings suggests.

Based on the corporates' performance till 9MFY14, the report suggests that about 15 percent of the balance sheet debt of BSE 500 companies is either approaching stress or is already under financial stress. Another 25-50 basis points hike in interest rates may push this number to 16 percent of the balance sheet debt, it adds.

The market has once again opened at fresh high to kick start April Series. The Sensex is up 84.49 points at 22298.86, and the Nifty is up 39.65 points at 6681.40.

SBI, Tata Steel, Dr Reddy's Labs, Tata Power and Wipro are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the top losers in the Sensex are GAIL, ITC, BHEL and Maruti Suzuki.

About 387 shares have advanced, 86 shares declined, and 21 shares are unchanged.

The rupee opened higher by 14 paise at 60.17 per dollar on Friday as against previous day's closing value of 60.31 a dollar.

Pramit Brahmbhatt of Alpari India expects Indian local equity market is expected to open weak as Asian markets are in the red.

According to him, the rupee is expected to depreciate and trade within the 59.50-61/dollar levels."However, foreign inflows may support rupee and nullify the month-end dollar demand from oil importers," he adds.

The euro nurses broad losses early this morning, while a rally in dollar-bloc commodity currencies drove the New Zealand dollar to its highest against the greenback in over two years.

Global markets, meanwhile, are in the red zone with US markets having closed marginally lower following mixed economic reports. Japan's Nikkei slipped after the latest economic data dampened hopes of further monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan.

Crude prices are mixed with Nymex on course for its biggest weekly gain in nearly two months. And from the precious metals space, gold has recovered slightly after sharp overnight declines that saw prices dip below 1300 per ounce, but remains near 6-week lows and is on track for a second straight weekly decline.