Sensex, Nifty end flat; Oil & Gas slips 3%, IT gains 2%

03:55 pm Market outlook
Investors can't wait for events to play out, otherwise there will be heavy price to pay, says Nirav Sheth of Edelweiss Financial Services. Had investors waited for May 16, or election outcome day, to play out, they wouldn't have managed to make as much money, he explains.

Currently, the main issues plaguing the market are Iraq and monsoon, both are transient factors, he adds. He says maximum of the oil infrastructure is in the Southern part of Iraq, while the war is happening in the Northern region.

According to Sheth, investors have to find comfortable sectors and invest. He is overweight on the banking sector – private as well as PSU banks – and NBFCs. In the midcap space, he likes media stocks, stationary, etc. However, he is not convinced about the IT space, though valuations are cheap.

03:45 pm Air traffic data
India's domestic air traffic between January and May was almost three percent higher than the same period last year as IndiGo led the market share flying almost 32 percent of passengers last month.

All Indian carriers flew 60.22 lakh passengers in May compared to 57.10 lakh in April, while the January-May figure stood at 267.22 lakh as against 260 lakh in the same period last year recording a 2.78 percent growth, latest official air traffic data showed.

IndiGo continued to dominate the scene in terms of market share cornering 31.7 percent in May, followed by Jet Airways-JetLite combine with 21 percent, Air India with 18.6 percent, SpiceJet 17.9 percent and GoAir 9.8 percent. Data for seat factor showed full-service Air India leaving Jet Airways behind and catching up with no-frill carriers like IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet.

03:35 pm Market closing
The market ended listless trading on a flat note. The Sensex was down 44.45 points at 25201.80. The Nifty ended at 7540.70, down 17.50 points. About 1403 shares advanced, 1593 shares declined and 87 shares were unchanged.

Oil stocks bled with the index falling 3 percent while auto and IT stocks were firm. TCS, M&M, Infosys, Wipro and Tata Motors are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the gainers are ONGC, Maruti Suzuki, Reliance, Coal India and GAIL.

03:20 Raining IT deals
It's a huge bonanza for IT companies and Infosys may be set to get the best benefit. The US government is set to dole out contracts worth USD 1.4 billion dollars and Infosys may be a frontrunner to get a USD 400 million deal.

The first deal coming out of the US might be from the Treasury office for data warehousing and infrastructure management services worth around USD 400 million. The deal may go to Infosys , it is one of the shortlisted players, definitely a frontrunner among Indian IT players. There is Accenture as well, but most likely Infosys will bag it. The deal will be closed by September 2014.

The other is from the US Work and Pension Office. IT players such as Congizant and IGATE are in the running for the USD 500 million deal. However, TCS might have an edge here as it is fairly strong in the sector.

03:10 pm DoT
The Department of Telecom is expected to finalise a National Broadband Policy within 100 days that would treat high-speed Internet access a basic right like education and health.

"A new broadband policy is being prepared and will be finalised within 100 days," an official source said. Under the new policy the government has plans to include broadband among basic necessities like education and health and work towards new legislation of 'Right to Broadband', sources said.

They said it is expected to look at ways of increasing broadband penetration as well as convergence of various technologies and platforms like cable TV, optical fibre,
wireless connection through spectrum, VSAT and satellite .

02:50pm Mahindra Holidays buys hotel
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India says it has purchased 100 percent equity share capital of Competent Hotels (CHPL), which owns a resort comprising of 60 rooms in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Consequent to this, CHPL has become wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

02:40pm Sequent Scientific up 5% on fund raising plan approval
The board at its meeting held on June 18 has approved fund raising of upto Rs 400 crore through issue of GDRs/ ADRs/ FCCBs / QIP/ such other equity linked instruments etc and increase in the limit of investments by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in the equity share capital of the company upto 49% of the paid up capital, says the company in its filing.

The company also received approval to increase in authorised capital from Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore.

02:30pm Maruti commissions solar power plant
Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India says it has commissioned it's 1MW mono-crystalline photovoltaic solar power plant at its Manesar facility this month.

Built with an investment of Rs 10.3 crore, the 1MW photovoltaic solar power plant will help the company offset CO2 emissions to the tune of over 1200 tonnes annually, it says in its filing.

02:20pm FII View
India is in the midst of a multi-year bull market, and investors should buy despite the recent run-up, says Jim Walker, MD, Asianomics. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Walker says India is a 5-year buy and hold story.

He sees the market gaining another 10-20 percent by the end of this calendar. The gains will be even higher next year as government implements various reforms and the benefits of those measures start making an impact.

Walker expects the Budget to focus on reducing the fiscal deficit.

02:10pm SEBI changes IPO and OFS rules
Capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) announced a slew of reforms related to IPO and Offer-for-Sale in order to boost primary markets. In its first board meeting since the new government took over, the board of Sebi proposed that all listed PSUs must have at least 25 percent public shareholding in three years.

Currently there are over 36 public sector companies where the government holds over 75 percent. Some of these companies include Coal India, NHPC and NTPC.

Sebi chairman UK Sinha said minimum dilution to public in IPO to be 25 percent or Rs 400 crore.

02:00pm Equity benchmarks are flat after recouping losses in afternoon trade. The Sensex declined 21.59 points to 25224.66 and the Nifty fell 9.10 points to 7549.10. About 1364 shares have advanced, 1462 shares declined, and 102 shares are unchanged.

State-run oil major ONGC trimmed losses to 4 percent from 7 percent and its rival Reliance Industries declined 1.7 percent. Banks recovered too with the top lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India falling around 0.6 percent. Maruti Suzuki, Gail and Coal India slipped over a percent.

However, heavyweights like Infosys, ITC and HDFC extended gains, rising 1.65 percent, 0.9 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Commercial vehicle maker Tata Motors and utility vehicle major M&M gained 1.7 percent each. Capital goods majors like L&T and BHEL climbed 0.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The Indian rupee continued to hover around the 60 level, up 41 paise to 59.98 a dollar compared to previous close.

2:00 pm FII view: India is in the midst of a multi-year bull market, and investors should buy despite the recent run-up, says Jim Walker, MD, Asianomics.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Walker says India is a 5-year buy and hold story. He sees the market gaining another 10-20 percent by the end of this calendar. The gains will be even higher next year as government implements various reforms and the benefits of those measures start making an impact.

Walker is advising investors to focus on cyclical tocks like banking and capital goods. His view is that money and credit numbers indicate that inflation has already begun to moderate. Walker expects the Budget to focus on reducing the fiscal deficit.

1:50 pm Drug recall: Dr Reddy's Laboratories is recalling 13,560 bottles of the high blood pressure drug metoprolol succinate in the United States after it failed a dissolution test, the US Food and Drug Administration said.

Metoprolol succinate extended release is a cheaper generic form of AstraZeneca Plc's Toprol XL. Wockhardt Ltd also recalled 109,744 bottles of the same drug last month citing the same reason.

The recall was voluntarily started by Dr Reddy's on May 23, 2014, and posted on the FDA website on Thursday.

A Dr Reddy's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recall.

1:40 pm View on crude: While it is some saving grace that the Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rebels in Iraq have not managed to run over the southern part of the country, the market is worrying about what would happen if the situation worsens, says Vandana Hari, Director, Platts.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Hari says that the worse that could happen is if the capacity of 2.5 billion barrels per day gets removed from the market by insurgent actions.

The worst-case scenario, Hari says is if the military action starts seeping into the neighbouring countries, all of which are oil producers.

''A diplomatic and lasting solution is direly needed right now. Because how long can they keep the ISIS militants out of the country, before they come back again,''  she asks.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank fell more than 3 percent . Foreign institutional investors need to get approval for further buying in shares of the bank as their holding reached trigger limit.

"The foreign share holding in Kotak Mahindra Bank by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) under portfolio investment scheme (PIS) has reached the trigger limit. Hence, further purchases of equity shares of this company would be allowed only after obtaining prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India," says the RBI in its release on Wednesday.

Current foreign shareholding limit to buy in shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank is 37 percent that was increased by RBI in September 2013 from 35 percent earlier.

1:20 pm SEBI Chairman UK Sinha says:

  • 36 listed PSU companies have less than 25 percent public shareholding
  • 3-year leeway for PSUs to meet minimum public shareholding norms
  • Government can sell Hind Zinc stake via offer for sale
  • Created new category for shareholding by ESOP trust
  • Preferential issue pricing to take stock split, bonus into account
  • SEBI Chairman Research Analysts Need To Be Registered With SEBI
  • All rules in market should be neutral for promoters
  • Board okays KYC info sharing with other financial regulators
  • Minimum dilution to public in IPO to be 25 percent or Rs 400 crore

1:15 pm SEBI new IPO norms: After a board meeting, SEBI has proposed revision in IPO norms. 

Here is what the market regulator says:

  • All public companies to have 25 percent holding in three years
  • Non-promoters can sell shares via offer for sale
  • Approves expanding the framework of offer for sale
  • 10 percent reservation for retail investors in offer for sale
  • Minimum public shareholding in PSUs should be uniform
  • Approves bonus share issued in last 1 year to be offered for sale
  • Plan to raise anchor investors limit in IPOs to 60 percent from 30 percent
  • Extends OFS to top 200 companies by market capital from 100 now
  • 10 percent of OFS to be reserved for retail investors
  • ESOP regulations to be revamped
  • Approves new regulations for research analysts
  • Companies may offer discount to  retail investors through OFS route 

The market is in red. The Nifty is down 44.95 points at 7513.25 and the Sensex is down 149.27 points at 25096.98. About 1149 shares have advanced, 1602 shares declined, and 103 shares are unchanged.

ONGC is the top loser on the Nifty dragging the Oil & Gas index lower on lack of clarity on gas pricing. The rupee is off highs tracking uptick in crude oil prices, weakness in local domestic equities and dollar purchases by private banks.

Brent crude spikes to a nine-month high above USD 114 a barrel on concerns about potential supply disruptions.

Oil prices were poised for a third day of gains following a rise of more than 4 percent last week after Islamic militants seized much of northern Iraq as Baghdad's forces there collapsed. Oil prices found support after the US Federal Reserve gave a positive assessment of the country's economy and committed to retaining accommodative monetary policy.

Asian markets are mixed as the Fed indicates that the economy is rebounding and that interest rates will stay low for some time.

01:00pm Market Update
The market recouped some losses amid consolidation. The Sensex lost 91.52 points to 25154.73 and the Nifty fell 30.20 points to 7528.00. About 1149 shares have advanced, 1539 shares declined, and 112 shares are unchanged.

12:55pm Interview
Sintex Industries, which is primarily into manufacturing plastic products (water tanks) and textile, is setting up a spinning unit with 0.3 million spindles at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore in Gujarat and later plans to ramp it up to 1 million spindles with a total capex of over Rs 5,000 crore over the next five years.

''Textile is more a finished product, whereas spinning (yarn) is an industrial product. The business model dynamics are totally different,'' Sunil Kanojia, Group CEO of Sintex told CNBC-TV18.

He said the company's got into the business after it spotted a positive trend for India in this segment in the global market. Kanojia said India is becoming more competitive than China in this space.

The company expects to commission the first phase of 0.3 million spindles in Q4FY15 with full commencement in October 2015.

12:45pm Dr Reddy's Labs in focus
Dr Reddy's Laboratories is recalling 13,560 bottles of the high blood pressure drug metoprolol succinate in the United States after it failed a dissolution test, the US Food and Drug Administration said.

Metoprolol succinate extended release is a cheaper generic form of AstraZeneca Plc's Toprol XL. Wockhardt also recalled 109,744 bottles of the same drug last month citing the same reason, reports Reuters.

12:40pm Just Dial up 3%
Brokerages are bullish on the stock, impressed by its growth and expansion plans. Both HSBC and Barclays have overweight rating on the stock with target price of Rs 1900 and Rs 2000 respectively.

Analysts believe its growth driver is Search Plus feature, launched in December last year, which will start contributing to revenues only from FY16e onwards. Just Dial has 17 Search Plus offerings spread across four platforms ordering (grocery, food), scheduling (doctor's appointments, courier pickups), travel ticketing and purchasing (branded goods through reverse auction).

12:30pm Rupee Expert
The US Fed move on rates and views on economy lifted sentiment of the street and will lead to continuity in flows in forex market, says Bhanu Vohra, Head of forex, Citi India.
 
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen announced on Wednesday that Fed will scale back its bond-buying program to USD 35 billion a month from USD 45 billion but kept rates unchanged saying the economy is on the mend.

Vohra sees rupee touching 58.50-60 per USD in the short term. "We will put our money on a strong rupee," he told CNBC-TV18. He, however, cautions against volatility in forex market if monsoon plays the spoilsport. Announcements in the upcoming Union Budget will also have an impact. "Any big negative in Budget can spook forex market," Vohra added.

12:20pm Kotak Mahindra Bank in focus again
Shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank fell more than 3 percent as foreign institutional investors need to get approval for further buying in shares of the bank after their holding reached trigger limit.

"The foreign share holding in Kotak Mahindra Bank by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) under portfolio investment scheme (PIS) has reached the trigger limit. Hence, further purchases of equity shares of this company would be allowed only after obtaining prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India," says the RBI in its release on Wednesday.

The current foreign shareholding limit to buy in shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank is 37 percent that was increased by RBI in September 2013 from 35 percent earlier.

12:10pm Market Expert
Investors can't wait for events to play out, otherwise there will be heavy price to pay, says Nirav Sheth of Edelweiss Financial Services. Had investors waited for May 16, or election outcome day, to play out, they wouldn't have managed to make as much money, he explains.

Currently, the main issues plaguing the market are Iraq and monsoon, both are transient factors, he adds. He says maximum of the oil infrastructure is in the Southern part of Iraq, while the war is happening in the Northern region.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks lost ground again with the Sensex falling 167.62 points to 25078.63 and the Nifty declining 46.30 points to 7511.90 weighed down by banks, oil & gas and metals stocks.

About 1124 shares have advanced, 1464 shares declined, and 111 shares are unchanged.

ONGC crashed more than 6 percent as reports suggest that oil ministry is considering higher gas price as per the Rangarajan formula only for incremental production over and above the current levels. Oil India lost too, down 4 percent and Reliance Industries declined 2.5 percent.

Shares of HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Maruti Suzuki, Coal India, Axis Bank, GAIL, Tata Steel and Hindalco Industries slipped 1-2 percent.

However, Infosys, TCS, ITC, Tata Motors, Wipro, M&M and Dr Reddy's Labs bucked the trend, gaining 0.5-1.5 percent.

11:50 am Slippery oil stocks: Oil explorers slumped on worries higher gas pricing might be allowed only for incremental output, which dealers say can limit upside for such companies for at least the next two years.

"The petroleum ministry has proposed that higher gas price as per the Rangarajan formula could be allowed only for incremental production over and above the current levels, as an alternative to applying the formula unconditionally from July 1," a media report said.

11:40 am Buzzing: Shares of Just Dial jumped over 4 percent intraday. Brokerages are bullish on the stock, impressed by its growth and expansion plans. Both HSBC and Barclays have overweight rating on the stock with target price of Rs 1900 and Rs 2000 respectively.

Analysts believe its growth driver is Search Plus feature, launched in December last year, which will start contributing to revenues only from FY16 onwards. Just Dial has 17 Search Plus offerings spread across four platforms ordering (grocery, food), scheduling (doctor's appointments, courier pickups), travel ticketing and purchasing (branded goods through reverse auction).

Ramkumar Krishna Machari, chief financial officer of the company believes that it will continue to grow in range of 25-30 percent with a better growth in FY15 than last fiscal.

11:30 am View on Citi: The US Fed move on rates and views on economy lifted sentiment of the street and will lead to continuity in flows in forex market, says Bhanu Vohra, Head of forex, Citi India.

Federal Reserve Chair woman Janet Yellen announced that Fed will scale back its bond-buying program to USD 35 billion a month from USD 45 billion but kept rates unchanged saying the economy is on the mend.

Vohra sees rupee touching 58.50-60 per USD in the short term. "We will put our money on a strong rupee," he told CNBC-TV18. He, however, cautions against volatility in forex market if monsoon plays the spoilsport. Announcements in the upcoming Union Budget will also have an impact. "Any big negative in Budget can spook forex market," Vohra added.

11:20 am FII view: India is in the midst of a multi-year bull market, and investors should buy despite the recent run-up, says Jim Walker, MD, Asianomics. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Walker says India is a 5-year buy and hold story. He sees the market gaining another 10-20 percent by the end of this calendar. The gains will be even higher next year as government implements various reforms and the benefits of those measures start making an impact.

Walker is advising investors to focus on cyclical tocks like banking and capital goods. His view is that money and credit numbers indicate that inflation has already begun to moderate. Walker expects the Budget to focus on reducing the fiscal deficit.  

It is absolutely flat trading as the Sensex is down 15.20 points at 25231.05. The Nifty is down 10.20 points at 7548.00. About 1157 shares have advanced, 1172 shares declined, and 97 shares are unchanged.

BHEL, Infosys, Wipro, HUL and Tata Motors are top gainers in the Sensex. The major laggards are ONGC, Maruti, Coal India, Reliance and Sesa Sterlite.

The rupee is higher helped by the weaker dollar globally and on dollar sales by foreign and private banks. Gilts softened as US bond yields fell with the stability in the rupee today.

Brent crude continue to remain on the boil with Brent futures rising 0.7 percent to USD 114.26 a barrel, the highest settlement since September 6 2013. Currently crude is trading above USD 114/bbl. Gold holds onto its modest overnight gains

Most Asian currencies gain against the dollar as it weakened broadly after the Fed Reserve signaled it was in no hurry to hike interest rates.

Asian markets rose with Japanese equities hitting a three-month high as investors were reassured by the Fed Reserve's commitment to low interest rates.

11:00am Railway stocks in focus again
Railway stocks like Kalindee Rail and Kernex Microsystem gained 2-4 percent after commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman told CNBC-TV18 that the government is talking about FDI in railways. The government is keen to get money in railways, she said, adding reforms in railways are a very big business.

10:50am Hanung Toys locked at 5% upper circuit
Hefty buying continued in shares of Hanung Toys and Textiles on getting debt recast package approved from the CDR cell. The stock is locked at 5 percent upper circuit for the second consecutive session today.

"Corporate Debt Restructuring Cell has approved the corporate debt restructuring package of the company in its meeting held on May 23, 2014 as informed by them vide their letter dt June 16, 2014," said the company in its filing.

10:40am Market Expert
Despite the run up in the Sensex and Nifty before and after elections and the recent volatility seen in the market, Manish Gunwani, senior fund manager, ICICI Prudential AMC continues to have a positive outlook on the market.

He says real time data such as auto sales and IIP indicate economic revival and growth can help resolve issues pertaining to fiscal deficit.

He feels the market is attractive at 16x forward and says recovery play includes PSU banks. He feels the tilt still continues to be towards cyclicals.

10:30am Interview
Ramkumar Krishna Machari, chief financial officer,  Just Dial is confident of growing at 25-30 percent this year adding that FY15 will be better than FY14.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Machari says that while it is too early to talk about the expected revenues from Search Plus, a new service to make restaurant booking and buy merchandise, its monetization will begin in FY16.

The company launched the service in December 2013 that will enable Just Dial's users to undertake several day-to-day tasks conveniently on a single platform .

10:20am Engineers India bags order
Shares of Engineers India (EIL) rallied 2.9 percent after the company won its largest ever consultancy contract for a 20 million tonne oil refinery in Nigeria.

The state-owned firm won a USD 139 million contract from Nigerian company Dangote Group to provide services for a refinery and polypropylene plant.

"Engineers India has formally entered into a contract with Dangote Oil Refining Company of Nigeria to render project management consultancy (PMC) and engineering procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for implementing a grassroot 400,000 barrels per day refinery and 600,000 tons polypropylene plant in Lekki Free Trade Zone near Lagos," the company said.

10:10am Crude Expert
While talking about the impact of ongoing Iraq crisis on global crude prices, Fadel Gheit, managing director - Oil & Gas Research at Oppenheimer & Co says crude prices are elevated and may continue to remain so going ahead. According to him, crude price is inflated by at least USD 30/barrel on risk premium.

He expects crude price to touch an all-time high if Iraq oil supplies get hit. ''Iraq is only the latest factor to take crude prices higher and markets have already assigned a risk premium to crude oil,'' he added.

10:00am The market entered into consolidation mode after seeing biggest up and down in last two sessions on Iraq crisis. It seems to have priced in the Federal Reserve event, wherein Fed cut monthly bond purchases by USD 10 billion to USD 35 billion and kept Fed funds rate unchanged.

The Sensex rose 50.06 points to 25296.31 and the Nifty advanced 12.75 points to 7570.95. About 1193 shares have advanced, 744 shares declined, and 76 shares are unchanged.

The Indian rupee gained past 60 per dollar, up 40 paise to 59.99 compared to previous day's close. Citi India says the short-term target for rupee is 58.50-60/dollar.

Infosys rallied 1.5 percent followed by Tata Motors, Hindustan Unilever, Bharti Airtel, Tata Power and BHEL with over a percent. However, ONGC, United Spirits and Kotak Mahindra Bank topped the selling list, losing 2-3 percent.

10:00 am View on Fed move: Michael Kurtz, chief-Asia Equity Strategist, Nomura says the Fed chief has dodged a bullet as she didn't offer any particular commentary to lead the market to believe that Fed is even remotely inclined to hike the pace of tightening.

On the other news hogging all limelight-crude- Kurtz says it is just one of the news that seem to be have a steep effect on the markets, but ends up not rising enough to the risk levels. ''Brent crude is nowhere near a level that we would indicate as a market dampener. Yet,'' he adds.

9:50 am Market check: The market has gone flat. The Sensex is up 14.17 points at 25260.42 and the Nifty is down 3.35 points at 7554.85. About 1200 shares advanced, 650 shares declined and 76 shares are unchanged.

Infosys, M&M, TCS, Bharti and Wipro are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the major losers are ONGC, Coal India, Maruti, Hindalco and Tata Steel.

9:40 am Buzzing: Shares of Engineers India (EIL) rallied as much as 5.9 percent intraday on Thursday after the company won its largest ever consultancy contract for a 20 million tonne oil refinery in Nigeria.

The state-owned firm won a USD 139 million contract from Nigerian company Dangote Group to provide services for a refinery and polypropylene plant.

"Engineers India has formally entered into a contract with Dangote Oil Refining Company of Nigeria to render project management consultancy (PMC) and engineering procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for implementing a grassroot 400,000 barrels per day refinery and 600,000 tons polypropylene plant in Lekki Free Trade Zone near Lagos," the company said.

 9:30 am FII view: Adrian Mowat, JP Morgan says the brokerage house is confident that the emerging market (EM) equity bull market will continue into 2H2014. ''The drivers now shift to accelerating economic growth and the prospect of strong EPS growth in 2015,'' he adds.

In India, he says preferred sectors for the growth revival are quality financials, commercial vehicles, materials and energy. ''Fundamentally, we remain constructive on IT services and healthcare. Sectors we're underweight on telecom, industrials, utilities, consumer discretionary and state-owned enterprises (SoE) banks,'' he adds.

9:20 am FOMC met outcome:  The Federal Reserve expressed confidence the US economic recovery was on track and hinted at a slightly more aggressive pace of interest rate increases starting next year.

As widely expected, the Fed pushed ahead with plans to wind down one of its main stimulus programs, reducing its monthly asset purchases from USD 45 billion to USD 35 billion beginning in July. Fed Chair Janet Yellen provided a long list of reasons for short-run confidence - from resilient household spending to an improving jobs market. Though officials slashed their growth forecast for 2014 from 2.9 percent to a range of between 2.1 percent and 2.3 percent, Yellen said that was the result of "transitory" factors like a severe winter and that a rebound was underway.

Equity benchmarks rebounded in early trade on Thursday with the Sensex rising 142.71 points to 25388.9 and the Nifty gaining 37.65 points to 7595.85. About 872 shares have advanced, 200 shares declined, and 28 shares are unchanged.

NTPC, Larsen & Toubro, M&M, Tata Power, BHEL, Ambuja Cements, BPCL and ACC rallied 1.5-1.8 percent while ONGC fell 2.5 percent.

The Indian rupee gained 45 paise to 59.93 a dollar compared to previous day's closing value of 60.39 a dollar.

Mohan Shenoy of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, ''FOMC tapered its bond buying programme by another USD 10 billion in-line with market expectations. Rise in Brent crude oil prices beyond USD 114/barrel triggered by crisis in Iraq is negative for both rupee & bond market.''

''RBI intervention is however moderating the weakness in rupee. Depreciating rupee is perceived as bond bearish. Dollar-rupee is expected to trade today in a range of 60.25-60.50/dollar, while 8.83 percent GOI 2023 is expected in a range of 8.66-8.72 percent today," he added.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 hit a fresh record as the Federal Reserve exuded optimism about the economy but gave no signal that it is turning hawkish just yet. Fed chair Janet Yellen downplayed the inflation threat, saying it is evolving in line with the committee's expectations.

Federal Reserve reduced monthly bond purchases by another USD 10 billion to USD 35 billion and kept Fed funds rate unchanged.

In other asset classes, Brent Crude climbed above USD 114 dollars per barrel as tensions in Iraq continue to remain high.

In the currency space, the FOMC's continued dovish stance weighed on the dollar index which slipped about 0.3 percent yesterday.