Nifty ends at record closing high on expiry day; banks lead

Equity benchmarks saw record closing highs Wednesday, on expiry day for April series derivative contracts. The Nifty climbed 25.45 points to close at 6840.80 and the Sensex advanced 118.17 points to 22876.54 after hitting intraday highs of 6,861.60 and 22912.52, respectively.

Experts remain bullish on the Indian equity market in anticipation of stable government at the Centre after Lok Sabha elections.

Gautam Chhaochharia, Head of India Research of UBS believes that the market hasn't factored a very strong election outcome yet . Result of the ongoing Lok Sabha election will be declared on May 16.

Opinion polls suggest that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to get 250 plus seats, he says.

For the April series, the Sensex and Nifty climbed 3 percent, in addition to a 6 percent rally in last series on strong inflow of foreign money and hopes of stable government at centre.

The market will be shut on Thursday for Lok Sabha elections in Mumbai. Sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections for 117 seats across 12 states will be held on April 24.

Banks and capital goods stocks took the market higher. Most experts ask investors to bet on these sectors as both will see strong gains after market-friendly election outcome.

Chhaochharia advises investors to add cyclicals and banks on positive poll outcome. He sees gradual recovery for cyclicals in two-three year timeframe.

BSE Bank and Capital Goods indices gained 1.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Engineering and construction major L&T was up over 2 percent while top lenders State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank gained 0.8-1.5 percent.

Cigarette major ITC was up 0.8 percent while software services exporter Infosys and housing finance company HDFC rose 0.5 percent each.

However, shares of Tata Motors, TCS, Reliance Industries, Wipro, NTPC, Hero Motocorp, HUL and Sesa Sterlite were down 0.25-1.25 percent.

On the earnings front, YES Bank's Q4FY14 net profit grew 18.8 percent year-on-year to Rs 430 crore on higher non-interest income. Its net interest margin increased to 3 percent from 2.9 percent and asset quality improved on sequential basis. The stock was up 1.7 percent.

Mastek fell nearly 3 percent as its January-March quarter consolidated net profit dropped 38.2 percent sequentially to Rs 11.3 crore on lower revenue and weak operational performance.

Indiabulls Housing Finance's net profit increased 21.8 percent year-on-year to Rs 451.4 crore on the back of strong other income of Rs 246.3 crore (up 162 percent Y-o-Y). The stock lost over 3 percent.

In the broader space, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers surged 6.6 percent after Deepak Fertilisers and its wholly subsidiary SCM Soilfert have made open offer to company's public shareholders to acquire up to 3.08 crore equity shares, constituting 26 percent of the voting share capital. The offer price is at Rs 61.75 per share. Deepak Fertilisers gained over 4 percent.

Ballarpur Industries spiked 7 percent as the company said it would plan USD 250 million worth Singapore IPO for international business.

03:50 pm Rupee outlook
Aaron Smith, MD, Pecora Capital says the rupee may strengthen for a while post the elections but is likely to weaken from a medium to long-term perspective.

Smith expects the US dollar index to appreciate 3-5 percent from its current range of 79 over the course of this year which will again be a bearish indicator for the Indian currency.

Meanwhile, Smith has a bearish view on gold in short-term and expects the yellow metal to go down to USD 1,160/oz by the end of this year. He considers the fall in gold prices as an excellent opportunity to accumulate the metal.

03:40 pm Market closing
Both the Nifty and Sensex end at fresh record closing highs once again. It turned out to be a strong April F&O series as the Nifty ends at record closing high of 6841, up 25.45 points. The Sensex was up 118.17 points to close at 22876.54. About 1429 shares have advanced, 1315 shares declined, and 177 shares are unchanged.

Banks and capital goods lend strong support to the indices with L&T, GAIL, BHEL, Tata Steel and M&M. Realty, oil and gas and some IT stocks were under pressure. NTPC, Wipro, Tata Motors and Sesa Sterlite were losers in the Sensex.

03:30 pm Strategy
Manpreet Gill, senior investment strategist, Standard Chartered says asset-allocators who have been underweight on EMs are now re-assessing their view, which is leading to fund inflows in these markets. ''One big component of that has also been the Fed's effort at playing down expectations of rate hike. We are seeing some of that really driving some of the recent inflows,'' he added.

However, the sustainability of fund inflows would depend on fundamentals of these economies, he said.

03:20 pm Fund raising
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) today said it has raised USD 550 million loan for part-funding expansion of its petrochemical plant and new gasification unit from Japanese banks.

"In continuation of the fund raising programme initiated in 2012-13, RIL has tied up Export Credit Agency (ECA) facility of up to USD 550 million co-financed by JBIC (Japan International Bank for Cooperation) and a group of otherJapanese banks backed by NEXI," the company said in a statement.

The 12-year loan will part finance the proposed expansion of RIL's petrochemical plants and setting up of new gasification unit and refinery off-gas cracker over the next 2-3 years.

03:10 pm Coal firms to renew FSAs
An inter-ministerial panel has decided that coal companies, including CIL, should take prior action to renew the fuel supply pacts in time to make sure that there are no interruptions in fuel supply to power plants, reports PTI.

The Standing Linkage Committee (SLC) "decided that coal companies should take advance action to renew the FSAs (Fuel Supply Agreements) in time to ensure that there were no disruptions in supplies," an official source said.

The decision was taken at the meeting of SLC under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary, coal.

"Any procedural issue outstanding should be settled in the meanwhile and FSA renewed. CIL (Coal India Ltd) and all coal companies will take appropriate action in this regard," the source added.

02:59pm Mastek falls over 3%
Software services provider Mastek's fourth quarter consolidated net profit fell 38.2 percent sequentially to Rs 11.3 crore on lower revenue and weak operational performance.

Total income slipped 5.1 percent to Rs 230 crore while operating profit declined 48.4 percent to Rs 18.1 crore and margin plunged 700 basis points to 7.8 percent during the same period.

02:50pm Interview
After having posted better-than-expected Q4 sales numbers, Venkat K Narayana, executive director & chief financial officer, Prestige Estates, says the company is likely to garner strong rental portfolio income in FY15.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Narayana says Q1FY15 will see two new malls becoming operational and that will aid rental portfolio. Leasing too is likely to strengthen, says Narayana.

On the road ahead, he says the company has a lot of projects in the pipeline and it is going to have some aggressive launches in the upcoming days.

02:40pm YES Bank's performance in Q4
Private sector lender YES Bank beat street expectations by reporting fourth quarter (January-March) net profit at Rs 430 crore, up 18.8 percent compared to same quarter last year, driven by non-interest income. Analysts had expected bottomline at Rs 404 crore for the quarter.

Net interest income grew 12.8 percent (in-line) to Rs 719.6 crore on account of a cautious and steady growth in advances during the quarter while other income (non-interest income) climbed 17.4 percent to Rs 445.52 crore year-on-year.

For the year ended March 2014, profit after tax of the bank increased by 24.4 percent to Rs 1,617.8 crore and net interest income grew 22.4 percent to Rs 2,716.3 crore compared to last year. Non-interest income showed a robust growth of 36.9 percent to Rs 1,721.6 crore in FY14.

02:20pm Europe update
European shares edged down after three days of gains as data showing China's economy was still stuttering offset some broadly reassuring European purchasing manager index (PMI) numbers.

Having raced higher on Tuesday on a wave of takeover activity, European stocks started the day down 0.2 percent as investors locked in some of the gains and turned their attention to the region's broader economic outlook.

Data compiler Markit's monthly PMI figures, seen as good indicators of future growth, showed that while France's economy was still a drag, Germany was continuing to power the euro zone's recovery, reports Reuters.

02:10pm Rupee at 1-month low
The Indian rupee weakened to a one-month low and breached the 61 per dollar level . Jayesh Mehta, MD and country treasurer, Bank of America says rupee movement in the near term will depend largely on equity flows. He says USD-INR at current levels is drawing a lot of customer interest.

He says though it doesn't look like it at the moment, but if the poll outcome is not in sync with what the equity market is expecting, then it may be very bad for the rupee and it may head to 65 plus per dollar.

He sees bond yields crossing the 9-percent level again in mid-May. He was surprised when the 10-year yields recently hit 9.10 percent.

02:00pm Equity benchmarks are steady in last hour of trade today with the Sensex holding 22800 level. The index rose 82.50 points to 22840.87 and the Nifty advanced 20.50 points to 6835.85. About 1354 shares have advanced, 1282 shares declined, and 202 shares are unchanged.

Engineering and construction major L&T climbed nearly 3 percent while HDFC Bank extended gains to 1 percent. Top private sector lender ICICI Bank and its rival Axis Bank gained around 1 percent.

Shares of Sun Pharma, M&M, Bharti Airtel, Tata Steel, BHEL and GAIL rallied 1-2 percent whereas Tata Motors, TCS, ONGC, Wipro, Hero Motocorp, NTPC, HUL and Sesa Sterlite fell 0.4-1 percent.

The market will be shut on Thursday for Lok Sabha elections in Mumbai.

1:55 pm Results: Private sector lender YES Bank beat street expectations by reporting fourth quarter (January-March) net profit at Rs 430 crore, up 18.8 percent compared to same quarter last year, driven by non-interest income. Analysts had expected bottomline at Rs 404 crore for the quarter.

Net interest income grew 12.8 percent (in-line) to Rs 719.6 crore on account of a cautious and steady growth in advances during the quarter.

1:40 pm Rupee outlook: Jayesh Mehta, MD and country treasurer, Bank of America says rupee movement in the near term will depend largely on equity flows. He says USD-INR at current levels is drawing a lot of customer interest.

He sees bond yields crossing the 9-percent level again in mid-May. He was surprised when the 10-year yields recently hit 9.10 percent.

"If the flow on equity continues the way the equity markets are behaving today and if it continues for some more time, I think 61.20-61.25/USD looks stoppish. It doesn't look going beyond that," he said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

1:20 pm Buzzing: Shares of Rallis India jumped over 7 percent intraday on Wednesday, riding on its strong quarterly performance owing to increase in volumes.

Its March quarter consolidated net profit increased 71.4 percent to Rs 19.3 crore from Rs 11.26 crore in the same period last year. The Tata group firm's revenues grew 16.3 percent to Rs 331.46 crore on a quarterly basis. The company board has recommended a final dividend of Rs 1.40 per share (total Rs 2.40 per share).

The margin improvement also reflected the gains from operating efficiencies, better cash management, tighter working capital control and lower interest costs, the company said.

The market is moving ahead firmly on April F&O series expiry day. The Sensex is up 113.99 points at 22872.36, and the Nifty is up 29.35 points at 6844.70. About 1375 shares have advanced, 1091 shares declined, and 182 shares are unchanged.

Mangalore Chemicals gains after Deepak Fertiliser and others make an open offer at Rs 61.75 per share for upto Rs 197 crore. Zuari Agro Chemicals also gains as the company holds 16.43 percent stake in Mangalore Chemicals.

The rupee is trading near five week low tracking losses in Asian currencies. Possible month-end dollar purchases by oil importers also weigh. Government bond prices fall as participants cut positions ahead of RBI's gilt auction on Friday.

Gold is steady but near its lowest in more than two months on Wednesday, with stronger equities denting the metal's safe-haven appeal and outflows from bullion funds showing weak investor appetite.

The metal is also weighed down by US data that showed home prices rose in February and existing home sales were a bit stronger than expected. A solid economic recovery would hurt gold's appeal as an alternative investment.

Asia shares held firm after a Chinese manufacturing survey met expectations, while on Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted a sixth straight session of gains.China's yuan hit a 16-month low against the dollar on Wednesday as companies bought dollars to hedge long yuan positions, amid intensified market anticipation that the yuan's recent weakness will last longer than previously expected.

Shanghai prices were at a premium of about USD 1 an ounce to spot prices on Wednesday, flipping from a discount overnight.

12:59pm Ultratech Cement to announce Q4 nos today
Analysts on an average expect profit after tax of the cement company at Rs 610 crore, down 16 percent compared to same quarter last year on weak operational performance and higher depreciation cost (post capacity addition).

Sales during the same period increased 5.8 percent to Rs 5,700 crore in the quarter ended March 2014 from Rs 5,389.2 crore in same quarter last year owing to stronger volume and cement prices.

Cement volume is expected to be 11.6 million tonne, up 3 percent compared to corresponding quarter and 16 percent compared to previous quarter while realisation is estimated to grow by 3 percent year-on-year and 3 percent on sequential basis.

12:50pm Mangalore Chemicals in News
Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation (DFPCL) says the company itself and its wholly subsidiary SCM Soilfert have made this open offer to the public shareholders of Mangalore Chemicals to acquire up to 3,08,13,939 equity shares, constituting 26 percent of the voting share capital.

The offer price is at Rs 61.75 per share which is near to Tuesday's closing price. Deepak Fertilisers will spend little over Rs 190 crore for the 26 percent stake in MCF.

12:40pm Rupee breaches 61 a dollar
The Indian rupee weakened to a one-month low and breached the 61 per dollar level. Jayesh Mehta, MD and country treasurer, Bank of America says rupee movement in the near term will depend largely on equity flows.

He sees bond yields crossing the 9-percent level again in mid-May. He was surprised when the 10-year yields recently hit 9.10 percent.

12:30pm Mining in Goa
Mining in top iron ore-exporting state of Goa is likely to restart in January next year once all companies have obtained environment and forest clearances from the federal government, a state government source said on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court lifted a 19-month old ban on mining in Goa on Monday, although it capped annual output in the state at 20 million tonnes. More supply from Goa, which exports nearly all its output, is likely to add to an expected surplus in the world market and put downward pressure on prices, reports Reuters.

12:25pm Cairn India earnings today
London-listed Vedanta Resources' subsidiary Cairn India will announce its fourth quarter (January-March) earnings today. According to CNBC-TV18 poll estimates, net profit of the oil & gas producer is likely to increase 3.3 percent sequentially to Rs 2,980 crore during the quarter.

Analysts expect the company to report foreign exchange loss of Rs 280 crore in March quarter as against loss of Rs 129 crore in previous quarter. Hence, the adjusted net profit may be at Rs 3,260 crore versus Rs 3,013 crore quarter-on-quarter.

Revenue is expected to be flat at Rs 5,010 crore during the quarter as against Rs 5,000 crore in previous quarter. Operating profit may increase marginally to Rs 3,715 crore from Rs 3,692 crore during the same period.

12:20pm Nikkei gains
Japanese stocks rose, spurred by Wall Street gains on solid earnings and merger activity, but buying was tempered ahead of the looming local reporting season.

The Nikkei rose 1.1 percent to 14,546.27, erasing its losses on the previous day, but it remained below Monday's two-week high of 14,649.50, reports Reuters.

12:10pm FII View
Mahesh Nandurkar, CLSA says a look into the financial and stock performances of Gujarat state PSUs suggest better days ahead for the larger central Government PSUs should Modi were to be the next prime minister.

''Turnaround stories from Gujarat like GSFC raise hopes for the likes of MTNL and PSU banks. While potentially lower oil subsidies will be a positive for oil marketing companies it will also mean greater private sector competition,'' he adds.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks maintained positive momentum in noon trade with the Sensex rising over 100 points supported by banks, capital goods, oil & gas and healthcare stocks.

The Sensex climbed 124.44 points to 22882.81 while the Nifty rose 31.30 points to 6846.65 on expiry day. The broader markets too gained 0.6 percent each. Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1361 to 956 on the BSE.

Shares of Larsen & Toubro, BHEL and Sun Pharma topped the buying list, rising more than 2 percent followed by Infosys, ONGC, Axis Bank, M&M, Bharti Airtel and GAIL with 1-1.8 percent.

Petrochemical major Reliance Industries as well as top lenders State Bank of India and ICICI Bank gained 0.7 percent each. However, shares of HDFC, ITC, Tata Motors, NTPC, Sesa Sterlite and HUL fell 0.2-0.9 percent.

11:50 am Results poll: London-listed Vedanta Resources' subsidiary Cairn India will announce its fourth quarter (January-March) earnings today. According to CNBC-TV18 poll estimates, net profit of the oil & gas producer is likely to increase 3.3 percent sequentially to Rs 2,980 crore during the quarter.

Analysts expect the company to report foreign exchange loss of Rs 280 crore in March quarter as against loss of Rs 129 crore in previous quarter. Hence, the adjusted net profit may be at Rs 3,260 crore versus Rs 3,013 crore quarter-on-quarter.

Revenue is expected to be flat at Rs 5,010 crore during the quarter as against Rs 5,000 crore in previous quarter. Operating profit may increase marginally to Rs 3,715 crore from Rs 3,692 crore during the same period.

According to poll, Cairn India is expected to report 3 percent Q-o-Q volume growth in Q4FY14. Rajasthan crude realisation is expected to decline to USD 94 a barrel, a 13 percent discount to Brent crude.

11:40 am Rupee outlook: Ray Farris, director, Credit Suisse says that the Reserve Bank of India will allow Indian currency to depreciate to as low as 62 against the greenback as it hasn't been too happy with the recent appreciation.

Farris further adds that the recent dollar strength is not a compelling one.

"A lot of the other Asian currencies have softened a bit over the past several trading sessions and none of it is particularly large other than the Indonesian rupiah. So I think of that as quite simply the market probably after a period of currency strength across Asia taking some profits and backing off going into the kind of May period," he says.

11:30 am FII view: Gautam Chhaochharia, Head of India Research of UBS remains constructive on the Indian equity market. But given that the market has already run-up, significant gains are unlikely for the market post exit polls, he tells CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

Chhaochharia believes that the market hasn't factored a very strong election outcome yet. Result of the ongoing Lok Sabha election will be declared on May 16. Opinion polls suggest that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to get 250 plus seats, he says.

He advises investors to add cyclicals and banks on positive poll outcome. He sees gradual recovery for cyclicals in two-three year timeframe.

He further added that most foreign investors are overweight on India at this point of time and major inflows into India may be seen from global funds.

11:20 am Buzzing: Investors continued to buy shares of drug maker Lupin on Wednesday after the company has entered into a strategic joint venture agreement with Toyama-based Japanese pharmaceuticals company, Yoshindo Inc to create a new entity, YL Biologics (YLB). The stock gained 1 percent intraday, in addition to 2.7 percent upmove in previous session.

It says YLB will be jointly managed by both partners and will be responsible for conducting clinical development of certain Biosimilars including regulatory filings and obtaining marketing authorizations in Japan.

"The new entity YLB will in-license Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) from Lupin and also partner with other companies across the globe for the Japanese market which already has a clear cut regulatory regime in place for the development and commercialisation of Biologicals," it adds.

The market is gaining steadily as the Sensex is up 111.01 points at 22869.38, and the Nifty is up 28.40 points at 6843.75. About 1327 shares have advanced, 733 shares declined, and 142 shares are unchanged.

HDFC, NTPC, Hindalco, Tata Motors and Sesa Sterlite are among the laggards. Sun Pharma, BHEL, Axis Bank, L&T and ONGC are gainers in the Sensex.

The rupee hit a 1-month low breaching 61 per dollar tracking losses in other Asian currencies while month-end dollar purchases by oil importers weighs as well. Government bond prices declined as participants began to cut positions in preparation for the fresh supply that will come in through the Reserve Bank of India's gilt auction on Friday.

The euro and yen traded higher against the dollar strengthening post the release of the flash PMI data.

Asian markets trade mixed with the Japanese markets giving up gains following release of the HSBC flash PMI for China. The HSBC flash PMI showed a slight improvement in April coming in at 2-month high of 48.3, however, it is still in contraction mode.

Gold continued to trade at 2.5 month lows with Brent trading steady at USD 109 per barrel.

10:55am Lupin in News, up 1%
Lupin says it has entered into a strategic joint venture agreement with Toyama-based  Japanese  pharmaceuticals company, Yoshindo Inc. to create a new entity, YL Biologics  (YLB). YLB will be jointly managed by both partners and will be responsible for conducting clinical development of certain Biosimilars including regulatory filings and obtaining marketing authorizations in Japan.

The new entity YLB will in-license Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) from Lupin and also partner with other companies across the  globe for the Japanese market which already  has a clear cut regulatory regime in place for the development and commercialization of Biologicals. Lupin's Etanercept biosimilar, developed by its Biotechnology Research Group in Pune will be the first product to be licensed for clinical development to YLB.

10:45am YES Bank to declare Q4 earnings today
According to CNBC-TV18 poll estimates, analysts expect the bank to report subdued growth in bottomline and net interest income compared to growth in previous quarter. Net profit is expected to rise 12 percent year-on-year to Rs 404 crore and net interest income (the difference between interest earned and interest expended) is likely to increase 12 percent to Rs 712 crore in the quarter gone by.

In previous quarter (Q3FY14), net interest income had grown 14 percent and profit after tax 21 percent (supported by a write back of investment depreciation of Rs 5 crore) as against Q2 growth of 28 percent and 21 percent, respectively. In Q1FY14, both jumped 40 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

10:35am Rupee Update
The rupee breached the 61-level by falling 30 paise to trade at over one-month low of 61.06 against the US dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market due to increased demand for the American currency from importers.

Forex dealers said increased demand for the US currency from importers continued to put pressure on the rupee but a higher opening in the domestic stock market and the dollar's weakness against other currencies overseas limited the fall, reports PTI.

10:25am Mangalore Chemical in focus
Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation (DFPCL) says the company itself and its wholly subsidiary SCM Soilfert have made this open offer to the public shareholders of Mangalore Chemicals to acquire up to 3,08,13,939 equity shares, constituting 26 percent of the voting share capital.

The offer price is at Rs 61.75 per share which is near to Tuesday's closing price. Deepak Fertilisers will spend little over Rs 190 crore for the 26 percent stake in MCF.

DFPCL says the company will propose to place a purchase order with JM Financial Services (manager to the open offer) to acquire up to 20 lakh shares of MCF, representing up to 1.7 percent of the voting share capital, at a price not exceeding Rs 63 per share.

10:10am Market Expert
The Indian equity market is factoring in a NDA win. It believes that the BJP and its allies will manage to win 230-odd seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, says Anish Damania, Head-Institutional Equities, IDFC Securities. Obviously then, if NDA wins less than 230 seats there will be a correction but there will be a further leg up if it manages to get more than 250 seats, he says.

10:00am Equity benchmarks gained momentum with Sensex gradually approaching 23000 level supported by oil & gas, capital goods, banks and technology stocks.

The Sensex rose 111.68 points to 22870.05 and the Nifty advanced 26.85 points to 6842.20. About 1170 shares have advanced, 636 shares declined, and 89 shares are unchanged.

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro and state-run power equipment maker BHEL climbed 1.7 percent each. IT majors TCS and Infosys advanced 0.5-1 percent.

Top lenders State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank rose 0.3-1 percent while oil & gas companies like Reliance Industries and ONGC soared 0.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Telecom operator Bharti Airtel and drug maker Sun Pharma jumped around 1.5 percent.

However, shares of HDFC, Tata Motors, NTPC, Wipro, Sesa Sterlite, Hindalco Industries and Bajaj Auto fell 0.2-0.4 percent.

9:55 am Interview: Promoter Technip has decided to divest majority of its stake in Seamec because it wants to focus on bigger business, CJ Rodricks, MD, Seamec says.

French EPC major in the oil sector, Technip holds 75 percent stake in the company and will divest it to HAL Offshore for up to Rs 246.62 crore.

HAL Offshore will be the new promoter now and is looking to acquire 55-75 percent stake. An open offer to the minority shareholders of Seamec is at a price of Rs 97 a share, a discount of about 3 percent to Tuesday's closing price of the company.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18 about this development, Rodricks says that he expects the new owner to focus on increased productivity.

9:45 am FII view: Mahesh Nandurkar, CLSA says a look into the financial and stock performances of Gujarat state PSUs suggest better days ahead for the larger central Government PSUs should Modi were to be the next prime minister.

''Turnaround stories from Gujarat like GSFC raise hopes for the likes of MTNL and PSU banks. While potentially lower oil subsidies will be a positive for oil marketing companies it will also mean greater private sector competition,'' he adds.

9:35 am Open offer:  Deepak Fertilisers and others have made an open offer for Mangalore Chemicals at Rs 61.75 per share. The open offer for acquisition is for 3.08 crore shares i.e. 26 percent stake in the company. Mangalore Chemicals open offer is for consideration of up to Rs 197 crore.

UB Group holds 22 percent stake in Mangalore Chemicals. Deepak Fertilisers holds 24.46 percent stake in Mangalore Chemicals. Zuari Agro holds 16.43 percent stake in Mangalore Chemicals.

9:20 am Market Check: The Sensex hits fresh record high of 22,870 while the Nifty hits fresh record high by crossing 6850 levels. Rupee trading at one-month low, breaches 61 per dollar. 

The market opened on a flat note. The Sensex is up 21.76 points at 22780.13, and the Nifty is up 7.90 points at 6823.25 on April F&O series expiry day.

About 374 shares have advanced, 102 shares declined, and 23 shares are unchanged.

M&M, Wipro, GAIL, L&T and BHEL are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are ICICI Bank, Hero MotoCorp, NTPC, HUL and HDFC Bank. YES Bank is up 2 percent ahead of announcing its Q4FY14 earnings.

The Indian rupee opened lower by 11 paise at 60.87 per dollar versus 60.76 Tuesday.

Major currencies trade on familiar ground after an uninspired session that kept the dollar, euro and yen locked in narrow ranges.

Pramit Brahmbhatt of Veracity India said that, "Rupee is expected to trade weak due to uncertainty over election outcome and again the month-end dollar demand will help dollar to trade strong. Also profit booking in equities will also keep rupee under pressure."

The range for the day is seen between 60.40-61.40/dollar," he added.

Additionally, global cues are positive as the US markets closed higher with the S&P 500 extending its longest winning run of the year. Asia is positive in morning trade.

US crude futures held steady near USD 102 per barrel in early Asian trade after steep losses in the previous session on expectations that oil inventories in the world's top consumer rose at a much slower pace than expected.

Precious metal gold trades near its lowest in more than two months as stronger equities dented the metal's safe-haven appeal and bullion funds showed weak investor appetite.