Nifty ends below 6800; Tata Power up 4%, Dr Reddy falls 3%

03:40 pm Market closing
The market ended with marginal gains as the Nifty slipped below 6800. The Nifty was flat to end at 6796.40 while the Sensex was up 12.99 points  at 22715.33. About 1476 shares advanced, 1221 shares declined, and 189 shares were unchanged.

Tata Power ended up 4 percent followed by NTPC, SBI, Tata Motors and BHEL. Laggards in the Sensex were Dr Reddy's Labs, Sun Pharma, Infosys, Hero Motocorp and ICICI Bank.

03:30 Interview
Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises, said the money raised after selling 11 percent stake in Vodafone, will be used for business expansion.

He said the company will be looking at creating long-term value for its shareholders. Piramal Enterprises has over Rs 10,000 crore cash in books. The company has seen a 19 percent annual return on Vodafone investment, said Piramal, adding that it is now looking at opportunities to buy stake in financial services space.

Piramal Enterprises has sold back its 11 percent stake in Vodafone India to parent company Vodafone Plc for Rs 8900 crore. The company had acquired the stake for Rs 5,864 crore in two tranches in FY12.

03:20 pm Outlook
Brokerage house Credit Suisse said the ongoing rally lacked fundamental justification, but the euphoria could continue till the election results are out mid-May. ''It may extend till August if the NDA gets more than 230 seats. The rally in cyclicals is already starting to show signs of catch-up panic,'' the brokerage said in a note to clients.

''Performance though has been skewed towards sectors expected to benefit from a turn in the investment cycle, which we disagree with. All this change has been re-rating: e.g., MSCI India Industrials is up 31 percent despite a decline in 12 month forward EPS,'' the note further said.

03:10 pm Fund raising
Ratnakar Bank raised Rs 328 crore from a group of investors including UK's CDC Group and Asia Capital and Advisors by selling an undisclosed minority stake.

Existing investors, including International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, and Indian private equity fund Gaja Capital also made fresh investments, the bank said, without disclosing how big the stake was.

The funds would be used to expand Ratnakar's branch network in semi-urban and rural areas, the bank said in a statement.

02:59pm Financial Tech and MCX in focus
CNBC-TV18 reports quoting sources that Financial Technologies has received non-binding bids from possible bidders for MCX stake.

It is learnt that the company has received bid from 8-10 domestic and international companies. International bidders include Deutsche Borse, CME and Warbug Pincus while domestic bidders are BSE and Kotak, sources say.

Sources further say JM Financial is advisor for Financial Technologies stake sale.

Kotak ACE told CNBC-TV18 that it is not interested in buying stake in MCX while the channel hasn't reached out to other potential bidders.

Financial Technologies gained 4 percent and MCX climbed 6 percent.

02:50pm Gainers and Losers
Tata Motors surged nearly 3 percent after brokerage house Citi has maintained a buy rating on the stock and also revised its target price to Rs 486 as against Rs 421 earlier.

Top lender State Bank of India gained over 2 percent as media report suggests that the bank is planning to raise USD 1 billion via bond issue.

Tata Power topped the buying list, rising nearly 4 percent followed by NTPC with 2 percent. State-run power equipment maker BHEL climbed nearly 3 percent.

Shares of L&T, Axis Bank, HUL, Wipro, Maruti Suzuki, Sesa Sterlite and Coal India gained 1-1.9 percent.

However, healthcare stocks like Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's Labs dropped 2 percent each. ITC, Infosys, TCS and M&M declined over 0.5 percent.

02:40pm FII View
JP Morgan's Adrian Mowat is putting his money on Indian equities sustaining their uptrend. Mowat has been bullish on emerging markets in general since the beginning of this calendar, and sees no reason to change that view for now.

Mowat expects a 20 percent rise in the Nifty from current levels, and sees good value in state-owned banks and automobile shares. He is also recommending investors to buy shares of select real estate, two-wheeler and construction companies.

02:30pm Suven Life in news
Shares of Suven Life Sciences advanced 3 percent on getting two product patents for new chemical entities in Canada and Hong Kong. These patents are valid through 2023 and 2029, respectively.

Both products will be used for the treatment of disorders associated with neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer's disease, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), huntington's disease, parkinson and schizophrenia.

With these new patents, Suven has a total of fifteen granted patents from Canada and fourteen product patents from Hong Kong.

02:20pm Piramal Enterprises in focus
Piramal Enterprises has sold back its 11 percent stake in Vodafone India to parent company Vodafone Plc for Rs 8900 crore. The company had acquired the stake for Rs 5,864 crore in two tranches in FY12.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises, said the money will be used for business expansion.

He said the company will be looking at creating long-term value for its shareholders. Piramal Enterprises has over Rs 10,000 crore cash in books.

The company has seen a 19 percent annual return on Vodafone investment, said Piramal, adding that they are now looking at opportunities to buy stake in financial services space

Vodafone Plc has recently got clearances from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) to increase its stake to 100 percent in Indian arm Vodafone India, post the approval of 100 percent FDI in telecom in July 2013.

02:10pm Rupee at 60.13/dollar
The rupee is likely to stay around the 60/USD level in near-term, says Manoj Rane, MD and Head Fixed Income & Treasury - India, BNP Paribas.

According to Rane, given the momentum of the foreign flows currently, the currency should have appreciated below 59/USD. The very fact that reserves have moved up significantly suggests the Reserve Bank has used rupee fall as an opportunity to shore up reserves.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18 about his expectation on rupee level until election outcome on May 16, Rane says rupee appreciation will depend on quantum of capital flows. But in case FIIs pump in huge cash, the rupee may possibly breach 60/USD and approach 59/USD, he adds.

02:00pm The market maintained positive momentum amid volatility while the broader markets beat benchmark indices with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gaining 0.9 percent each.

The Sensex rose 48.11 points to 22750.45 and the Nifty advances 11.95 points to 6808.15. About 1474 shares have advanced, 1079 shares declined, and 198 shares are unchanged.

Adani group stocks saw huge buying interest. Adani Enterprises surged nearly 23 percent while Adani Power gained 5 percent and Adani Ports climbed 9 percent.

2:00 pm World market: Equities rose as markets took heart from minutes of the Federal Reserve's March meeting, which suggested US policymakers would be more cautious about raising interest rates than some had expected.

European investors also looked optimistically to Greece's return to the bond markets later on Thursday for further evidence that Europe's economic recovery is gathering pace, dampening the impact of gloomy Chinese exports data.

The MSCI All-Country World index rose 0.2 percent while the similar MSCI World Index, which only tracks stocks from developed economies, progressed by 0.3 percent.

In Europe the MSCI Europe climbed 0.6 percent while the FTS Eurofirst 300 index of top European shares advanced 0.3 percent.

1:50 pm Will the rally last? Brokerage house Credit Suisse April said the ongoing rally lacked fundamental justification, but the euphoria could continue till the election results are out mid-May.

''It may extend till August if the NDA gets more than 230 seats. The rally in cyclicals is already starting to show signs of catch-up panic,'' the brokerage said in a note to clients.

''Performance though has been skewed towards sectors expected to benefit from a turn in the investment cycle, which we disagree with. All this change has been re-rating: e.g., MSCI India Industrials is up 31 percent despite a decline in 12 month forward EPS,'' the note further said.

1:40 pm Buzzing: Shares of Suven Life Sciences advanced as much as 4.77 percent intraday on getting two product patents for new chemical entities in Canada and Hong Kong. These patents are valid through 2023 and 2029, respectively.

Both products will be used for the treatment of disorders associated with neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer's disease, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), huntington's disease, parkinson and schizophrenia.

"We are very pleased by the grant of these patents to Suven for our pipeline of molecules in CNS arena that are being developed for cognitive disorders," says Venkat Jasti, CEO.

The company in its filing says the granted claims of the patents include the class of selective 5-HT compounds discovered by Suven and are being developed as therapeutic agents.

1:30 pm Rupee outlook: The rupee is likely to stay around the 60/USD level in near-term, says Manoj Rane, MD and Head Fixed Income & Treasury - India, BNP Paribas. INR is currently trading at 60.23 (12:10 hrs).

According to Rane, given the momentum of the foreign flows currently, the currency should have appreciated below 59/USD. The very fact that reserves have moved up significantly suggests the Reserve Bank has used rupee fall as an opportunity to shore up reserves.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18 about his expectation on rupee level until election outcome on May 16, Rane says rupee appreciation will depend on quantum of capital flows. But in case FIIs pump in huge cash, the rupee may possibly breach 60/USD and approach 59/USD, he adds.

1:20 pm Market outlook: Jyotivardhan Jaipuria Head of Research BofA Merrill Lynch expects a 10 percent rally in market from current levels, but also a drop of 10 percent if India gets a hung Parliament. ''We will see a re-rating in the Indian market if a stable government is formed,'' he told CNBC-TV18.

Jaipuria says the market is seeing a mix of hot money and long-term investors. He advises buying auto and bank stocks ahead of earnings. However, he does not expect any big turnaround in FY15 earnings.

Banks and auto stocks support the market while pharma and IT stocks drag. The Sensex is up 34.84 points at 22737.18, and the Nifty is up 12.75 points at 6808.95. About 1443 shares have advanced, 1029 shares declined, and 176 shares are unchanged.

M&M, ONGC, Dr Reddy's Labs, Sun Pharma and Tata Steel are among losers in the Sensex. Tata Motors, SBI, NHEL, NTPC and Wipro are gainers.

Japanese stocks ended flat in lacklustre trade on Thursday after disappointing China trade data erased early gains made when minutes from the US Federal Reserve's monetary meeting eased worries over the timing of rate hikes. Also hurting the market was Toyota Motor Corp, which dropped 2.4 percent and was the second most-traded stock by turnover on concerns that its latest global recall of vehicles will hit earnings.

The Nikkei ended flat at 14,300.12 after trading back and forth into positive and negative territory. Earlier, it rose as high as 14,513.14.

Gold extended gains to a third session, scaling fresh two-week highs, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting showed that officials were not keen on increasing interest rates anytime soon.

Gold prices came under pressure last month after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank would probably end its massive bond-buying programme this fall and could start raising interest rates around six months later.

Low interest rates, which cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion above other assets, had been an important factor driving gold higher in recent years.

Minutes from the Fed's March 18-19 meeting released on Wednesday showed policymakers were unanimous in wanting to ditch the thresholds they had used to telegraph a policy tightening and did not reveal any discussion of keeping rates near zero for a considerable time.

12:59pm BoAML View
Jyotivardhan Jaipuria, Head of Research, Bank of America Merrill Lynch expects a 10 percent rally in market from current levels, but also a drop of 10 percent if India gets a hung Parliament. ''We will see a re-rating in the Indian market if a stable government is formed,'' he told CNBC-TV18.

Jaipuria says the market is seeing a mix of hot money and long-term investors. He advises buying auto and bank stocks ahead of earnings. However, he does not expect any big turnaround in FY15 earnings.

12:50pm Suven Life up 3%
Suven Life Sciences has announced today that the grant of one product patent from Hong Kong and one product patent from Canada corresponding to the new chemical entities (NCEs) for the treatment of disorders associated with Neurodegenerative diseases. These Patents are valid through 2023 and 2029 respectively.

The granted claims of the patents include the class of selective 5-HT compounds discovered by Suven and are being developed as therapeutic agents and are useful in the treatment of cognitive impairment associated with eurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease,

With these new patents, Suven has a total of fifteen (15) granted patents from Canada and fourteen (14) product patents from Hong Kong.

12:40pm Interview
Vikas Rathee, Group COO of Prime Focus said the company has raised Rs 45 crore via private placement of convertible debentures. He says the fund raising was done with an intent to retire debt and sustain growth.

Prime Focus will also use the fund raised for pushing its cloud-enabled media ERP solution CLEAR, in the global markets. It had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the California-based DAX for a base consideration of USD 9.1 million (around Rs 56 crore) recently.

DAX is a cloud production workflow and media asset management application.

12:30pm Piramal Enterprises up 6%
Investors are buying shares of Ajay Piramal-led Piramal Enterprises as the company announced that it has agreed to sell equity stake in Vodafone India .

"The company has agreed to divest its entire equity stake, comprising 45,425,328 shares (around 11 percent), in Vodafone India to Prime Metals, an indirect subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc," the company said in its filing.

Vodafone Group Plc holds 64.38 percent stake in Vodafone India.

Piramal will sell this stake for a total consideration of Rs 8,900 crore, valuing the shares of Vodafone India at Rs 1,960 per share.

12:20pm Nikkei ends flat
Japanese stocks ended flat in lacklustre trade today after disappointing China trade data erased early gains made when minutes from the US Federal Reserve's monetary meeting eased worries over the timing of rate hikes.

Also hurting the market was Toyota Motor Corp , which dropped 2.4 percent and was the second most-traded stock by turnover on concerns that its latest global recall of vehicles will hit earnings.

The Nikkei ended flat at 14,300.12 after trading back and forth into positive and negative territory. Earlier, it rose as high as 14,513.14, reports Reuters.

12:10pm FII View
Dhiren Sarin, director of Technical Strategy, Barclays believes the Nifty still has steam on the upside and may touch 7000 in near-term. However, he advises investors to remain cautious on Nifty at around 7000 level and recommends booking profits once it breaches the psychological mark.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks gained marginal strength in noon trade with the Nifty reclaiming the 6800 level supported by index heavyweight Reliance Industries that gained 1 percent.

The Sensex rose 70.29 points to 22772.63 and the Nifty advanced 16.85 points to 6813.05. About 1399 shares have advanced, 914 shares declined, and 181 shares are unchanged.

Tata Motors' stock has touched a record high of Rs 434, up over a 3 percent. Brokerage house Citi has maintained a buy rating on the stock and also revised its target price to Rs 486 as against Rs 421 earlier.

Citi raised FY15 expected earnings by 10 percent and FY16 expected earnings by 27 percent as the company is positioned to become fourth global luxury car maker.

Top lender State Bank of India gained 2.5 percent as media report suggests that the bank is planning to raise USD 1 billion via bond issue.

Shares of HDFC, HDFC Bank, L&T, Wipro, NTPC, Axis Bank, Maruti, Sesa Sterlite, GAIL, Bharti Airtel and Tata Power advanced 0.6-1 percent.

However, healthcare stocks like Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs and Cipla fell around 1-1.5 percent on profit taking.

ITC, M&M, Infosys, TCS, ONGC, Hero Motocorp, Bajaj Auto, Tata Steel and Coal India declined 0.4-1.5 percent.

12:00 pm Commodity check: Gold extended gains to a third session, scaling fresh two-week highs, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting showed that officials were not keen on increasing interest rates anytime soon.

Gold prices came under pressure last month after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the US central bank would probably end its massive bond-buying programme this fall and could start raising interest rates around six months later.

Low interest rates, which cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion above other assets, had been an important factor driving gold higher in recent years.

Minutes from the Fed's March 18-19 meeting released on Wednesday showed policymakers were unanimous in wanting to ditch the thresholds they had used to telegraph a policy tightening and did not reveal any discussion of keeping rates near zero for a considerable time.

11:50 am Poll: India's consumer inflation rate is forecast to have edged up slightly in March due to higher food prices, and factory output in February is expected to have risen at its fastest annual pace in five months, a Reuters poll shows.

The data comes as voting gets underway in India's general election. Opinion polls show the ruling Congress party is set to lose office, with poor economic growth and persistent high inflation important factors in voter discontent.

The Reuters poll found consumer price and wholesale price measures of inflation are expected to rise, but not by enough to prompt a policy response from the Reserve Bank of India.

Industrial output was forecast to have expanded 0.9 percent in February from a year earlier, driven mainly by core industries responding to improved consumer demand.

11:40 am Big rise: Investors are buying shares of Ajay Piramal-led Piramal Enterprises as the company announced that it has agreed to sell equity stake in Vodafone India.

"The company has agreed to divest its entire equity stake, comprising 45,425,328 shares (around 11 percent), in Vodafone India to Prime Metals, an indirect subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc," the company said in its filing.

Vodafone Group Plc holds 64.38 percent stake in Vodafone India.

Piramal will sell this stake for a total consideration of Rs 8,900 crore, valuing the shares of Vodafone India at Rs 1,960 per share.

Piramal said it had acquired these shares at an average price of Rs 1,290 per share for a total consideration of Rs 5,864 crore in two tranches during FY12.

11:30 am Market outlook: Despite Indian equities' recent heady run up, Arvind Sanger, managing partner at Geosphere Capital Management does not feel the market valuations are stretched, and sees higher levels for the Nifty.

According to Sanger, the market rally is more of an emerging market phenomenon rather than on elections. The entire EM basket has rallied since mid-March. ''We expect more upside for emerging market equities,'' he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

He says any sell-off in Indian market is likely to be shallow. However, he said that he would get nervous if the Nifty crosses 7000 before the election outcome. ''The market could drop 10-15 percent if a Modi-led government does not come to power,'' he says. 

11:20 am In focus: Shares of Torrent Pharma hit record high at Rs 607.70, up 7 percent intraday as Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved its acquisition of Elder Pharma's formulations business in India and Nepal. The fair trade regulator said Torrent Pharma's proposed Rs 2,000 crore acquisition does not raise any competition concerns. Elder Pharma jumped 12 percent in intraday trade.

The deal will help generic medicines maker Torrent enter new categories as well as expand operations in segments such as women's healthcare and pain management.

Among other things, CCI observed that in most of the therapeutic categories, the combined market share of the both the companies "is not significant enough to raise any competition concern". 

The market is consolidating after a strong rally in yesterday's trade. The Sensex is up 31.60 points at 22733.94 and the Nifty is up 4.35 points at 6800.55. About 1255 shares have advanced, 842 shares declined, and 144 shares are unchanged.

Tata Motors, BHEL, SBI and NTPC are up 2 percent each. Maruti Suzuki is also a gainer in the Sensex. Among the laggards are ONGC. Among the laggrads are Dr Reddy's Labs, Cipla, M&M and Tata Steel.

The market is consolidating after a strong rally in yesterday's trade. The Sensex is up 31.60 points at 22733.94, and the Nifty is up 4.35 points at 6800.55. About 1255 shares have advanced, 842 shares declined, and 144 shares are unchanged.

In currencies, the euro trades higher against the dollar as traders cut positions after the Fed's minutes. The yen remained firm due to overall weakness in the dollar.

Asia markets trade mixed post disappointing trade data from China. Chinese exports slumped 6.6 percent in March versud estimates of a 4 percent gain while imports fell 11.3 percent.

Crude prices slump over quarter percent post the china data and on profit booking following a rally in the previous two sessions. Gold, meanwhile, extends gains to a third day, trading above USD 1300 per ounce.

10:59am Elections - Third Phase
Voting began in one of the biggest phases of the current Lok Sabha election in 91 Lok Sabha seats across India including Delhi on Thursday. People are also simultaneously voting in the Assembly election in Odisha.

10:50am Market Expert
Dipan Mehta, member, BSE & NSE believes that currently all the fundamental, technical and liquidity factors are in sync, which will propel market to higher levels.

According to him it is difficult to give levels for the Nifty because there is a sort of frenzy building up but market is sure to rally upwards.

Investors at present do not want to be left out of the rally, so there is an increased participation from them. However, he cautions that there could be some correction along the way till the election outcome on May 16.

He advises retail investors to approach the market gradually and buy into declines. They should look for stocks that have not rallied but will benefit from the overall improvement in the economy says Mehta.

10:40am Gold update
Gold extended gains to a third session today, scaling fresh two-week highs, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting showed that officials were not keen on increasing interest rates anytime soon.

Spot gold rose to USD 1,316.81 an ounce - its highest since March 25 - before settling to trade up 0.3 percent at USD 1,315.04 by 0319 GMT.

It had gained 1.2 percent in the previous two sessions, also helped by rising geopolitical tensions in Ukraine that boosted its safe-haven appeal.

10:30am Tata Motors surges 2.6%
Citi has maintained buy rating on the stock and revised target price to Rs 486 from Rs 421 apiece.

The brokerage house has raised FY15 expected earnings by 10 percent and FY16 expected earnings by 27 percent as the company is positioned to become fourth global luxury car maker.

10:20am FII View
JP Morgan's Adrian Mowat has been bullish on emerging markets in general since the beginning of this calendar, and sees no reason to change that view for now.

Mowat expects a 20 percent rise in the Nifty from current levels, and sees good value in state-owned banks and automobile shares. He is also recommending investors to buy shares of select real estate, two-wheeler and construction companies.

10:10am Piramal Enterprises in focus, up 3%
Ajay Piramal-led Piramal Enterprises is going to sell 11 percent equity shareholding in telecom company Vodafone India for Rs 8,900 crore, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting DowJonesWire.

The report says Piramal Enterprises will sell this stake to British telecom major Vodafone Plc that owns 64.38 percent stake in Vodafone India.

Piramal Enterprises had bought 11 percent stake in Vodafone India for Rs 5,900 crore while its market capitalisation is at Rs 9,500 crore.

10:00am Equity benchmarks consolidate today after a 360-point rally in previous session. The Sensex rises 10.02 points to 22712.36 while the Nifty falls 0.95 points to 6795.25.

Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1037 to 763 on the BSE.

India's largest lender State Bank of India, top commercial vehicle maker Tata Motors and state-owned power equipment manufacturer BHEL gained 2 percent each.

Software services provider Wipro bounces back, rising 1.4 percent. Shares of Reliance Industries, Axis Bank, TCS, Bharti Airtel, HUL, NTPC and GAIL gain 0.4-0.8 percent.

However, ITC, ONGC, Infosys, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Hero Motocorp, Tata Steel, Dr Reddy's Labs, Sun Pharma and Cipla fall 0.3-1.5 percent.

10:00 am Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy: Sun Pharmaceutical Industries plans to begin phasing out sales of generic drugs branded as Ranbaxy Laboratories products in the United States, after completing a USD 3.2 billion takeover of its loss-making rival by the year end, reports Reuters quoting sources.

Ranbaxy drugs sold in the United States will be gradually rebranded as Sun Pharma treatments as part of a strategy to turn around the company being bought from Japan's Daiichi Sankyo. The brand is likely to continue to be present in other markets, the sources said.

The plan to phase out the brand from the United States will be part of a slew of changes at Ranbaxy, including an intense lobbying push with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift bans on imports from Ranbaxy's India plants over production quality concerns, the sources said.

9:50 am FII view: Jitendra Sriram, HSBC says the market is up 7 percent year-to-date on hopes of a favourable election outcome and domestic cyclicals are rebounding markedly.

He further says the brokerage believes a sharp recovery is unlikely. ''However, domestic cyclicals, including energy, utilities and industrials could see rotation benefits,'' he adds.

Jitendra Sriram says the brokerage house is underweight on India within Asia. According to him, the Sensex target of 21,750 for CY14-end implies 4 percent downside from current levels.

9:40 am Buzzing: Shares of Man Industries, the pipe manufacturing company, rallied as much as 16.8 percent as the company said it has built up order book of approximately Rs 1,200 crore.

This order book includes the recently received orders worth approximately Rs 700 crore from domestic and international customers for supply of large diameter pipes for oil and gas as well as water sector projects.

9:30 am Polling day: Big day in elections 2014 as the third phase of the 9-phased Lok Sabha election begins. 91 constituencies in 11 states and 3 union territories will vote. This includes constituencies in key states like up, Maharashtra, Kerala and Odisha. Also, the Aam Aadmi Party faces their big test in Delhi and Haryana. Elections will be held simultaneously in Naxal-affected areas of Odisha.

The market continues to hold its yesterday's gains. The Nifty opened at 6803,  up 6.85 points and Sensex is up 50.97 points at 22753.31. About 367 shares have advanced, 109 shares declined, and 23 shares are unchanged.

Tata Motors, Reliance, Sun Pharma are gainers in the Sensex. Hero Motocorp, Wipro, ITC, Maruti and Tata Steel are laggards.

The Indian rupee opened marginally higher by 9 paise at 60.04 per dollar versus 60.13 Wednesday. The dollar drifted at three-week lows against a basket of major currencies, having fallen for a fourth session after minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting disappointed dollar bulls.

As a result, the dollar index has just about relinquished all of its gains made since the head of the US Central Bank on march 19 suggested that interest rates may rise as soon as early next year.

Tirthankar Patnaik of Religare Capital Markets said, "Rupee will continue strengthen on equity and debt flows. The currency should go lock step with equity markets and equity markets will react to high voter turnout construed as positive for change.The near-term range is seen at 59.5-60.5/dollar, while the medium-term range is at 58-62/dollar.

Wall Street rallied as US Federal Reserve calms rate worries, Nasdaq turned positive for the year. Europe too in ended in the green. Asia tracked Wall Street gains with Japan up more than a percent. In other asset classes, the dollar drifted at three-week lows.

The Fed minutes show that the members of the FOMC agreed unanimously in March to a 6.5 percent unemployment target for raising interest rates was outdated and should be removed. Overall, the minutes portray a committee set on keeping interest rates low for the foreseeable future, despite some market rumblings after the meeting.

From precious metals space, gold prices pare their losses to rise above 1310 dollars on FOMC minutes.

In commodities, NYMEX crude prices edged down after gaining in the previous session due to an unexpected spike in gasoline demand and tensions over Ukraine.