Nifty ends below 7500; ITC tanks 6%, ONGC gains 5%, BHEL up

03:55 pm Market opinion
UR Bhat, MD, Dalton Capital Advisors is not betting on a pre-Budget rally. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he says the global cues like the situation in Ukraine and Iraq will influence the market in the near term. Hence, he feels that it is a good strategy to lighten up some positions before the budget.

According to him, the Nifty could hit 8000 level if subsidy issue is addressed by the Modi- government in the Budget. On the flipside, he doesn't' see the market correcting more than 5 percent from current levels.

On sectors, Bhat is not too gung-ho on the IT sector. He said that performance of this export-oriented sector has deteriorated since election, so there is no great case to be overweight on IT. However, he sees value in midcap technology stocks at the current levels.

03:45 pm Car recall
Honda Motor Co and other Japanese automakers recalled more cars with potentially explosive air bags supplied by Takata Corp, bringing the total recall so far to around 10.5 million vehicles over the past five years.

The series of recalls cover both passenger-side and driver-side air bags, which the world's second-biggest automotive safety parts maker manufactured in 2000-02. The total ranks it among the five biggest recalls in the industry's history.

And the total is likely to grow further after Takata said it was willing to support car makers including Honda, Toyota Motor Corp , Chrysler and Ford Motor Co in replacing certain air bag inflators it made in 2000-07 for vehicles in some high humidity regions in the United States.

03:35 pm Market closing
The market ended in red even though it recovered marginally in the last 30 minutes after a sharp sell-off. The Nifty closed below 7500, down 18.10 points at 7493.35 while the Sensex was down 74.19 points at 25031.32.

ONGC gained 5 percent while BHEL was up 3 percent. Hero, Sesa Sterlite and Tata Steel were other gainers in the Sensex.

Among the losers are ITC (falls 6 percent), Infosys, HUL, Wipro and Tata Motors.

03:20 pm Gold expert
Priti Gupta, Director, Anand Rathi Commodities maintains a bearish outlook on gold as long as it is below USD 1340 per ounce.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, she said investment buyers need to be cautious because the uptick seen in gold prices is primarily because of geo-political tensions in Iraq and dovish outlook presented by Fed's Janet Yellen, so the uptrend could be for the short-term. According to her, good level for investment in gold would be around Rs 25,000-26,000 per 10 grams. She expects the yellow meatl to slip to this level in the coming months. The upside for gold is capped at around Rs 28000-29000 per 10 gm, she added.

03:10 pm Market check
The market makes a bit of recovery.  The Sensex is down 98.58 points at 25006.93 and the Nifty down 26.80 points at 7484.65. About 1444 shares have advanced, 1459 shares declined, and 114 shares are unchanged.

ONGC is up 4 percent while Hero and BHEL gain 2 percent each.

03:05 pm Interview: ICRA recently downgraded the FY15 tractor volume growth down to 4-6 percent against 18 percent growth in FY14 on the back of weak monsoons.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Subrata Ray, senior VP, Co-head Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA, said that apart from weak monsoons, the build up of cyclical correction may lead to some moderation in the growth in the current year.

Kaushik Banerjee, President - Strategy & Corporate Affairs, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance, which has an asset book size of 9 percent in the tractor segment, said due to unseasonal hailstorms in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in March, and delay in monsoons, there is a strong possibility that the agricultural output would be significantly below than last year. He feels keeping that in mind ''a 4-6 percent growth rate vis--vis 20 percent last year is probably a reality,'' adding that may impact the asset quality.

02:55pm Market Update
Benchmark indices extended fall in last hour of trade with the Sensex losing 194.44 points to 24911.07 and the Nifty declining 64.95 points to 7446.50. About 1377 shares have advanced, 1496 shares declined, and 124 shares are unchanged. ITC dropped 7 percent.

02:50pm Essar Oil on buyers' radar
Essar Oil is locked at 5 percent upper circuit after the board of directors has approved delisting proposal received from promoter Essar Energy Holdings (EEHL).

"The company, on June 20, had received a letter from EEHL to voluntarily delist the equity shares of the company currently listed on the BSE and NSE by purchasing the 13,71,23,373 ( representing 27.53 percent ) shares held by the public shareholders," says the company in its filing.

Public shareholders do not include Imperial Consultants & Services, Essar Power Hazira Holdings and the Bank of New York Mellon. Promoters EEHL, Imperial Consultants & Services and Essar Power Hazira Holdings hold 24.9 percent stake in the company.

Essar Oil further said, "The board of directors will seek the consent of the shareholders of the company for the delisting proposal by way of postal ballot and e-voting."

02:40pm Mercator in news
Mercator says its wholly owned Indian subsidiary Mercator Petroleum (MPL) has issued and allotted farther 1,49,00,000 equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at par on preferential basis to the company and its overseas subsidiary viz. Mercator Energy (MEPL), Singapore.

Consequently, company's shareholding in MPL now stands at 51 percent and 49 percent is held by MEPL.

02:30pm Deepak Nitrite up 4%
Deepak Nitrite says the board of directors has approved the sale of parcel of land admeasuring 12,141 square meters in Pune, subject to receipt of all requisite approvals and permissions, based on the valuation report of renowned Independent professional firm.

The proposal to sell the said land is with a view to monetise the value of its unutilised assets and improve shareholders value by freeing up capital to facilitate growth.

02:20pm Interview
Irfan Razack, CMD, Prestige Estates, said the company is targeting Rs 550 crore of rental income per annum by FY17 and expects Rs 5,000 crore of pre-sales in FY15.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has put a 'buy' on Prestige Estates with a target price of Rs 280. The brokerage believes the company's EPS to double from 9 in FY14 to 18 in FY17 and its new projects to hit revenue recognition threshold.

BoAML expects Prestige Estates to have a double digit pre-sales booking growth over 2-3 years and sees the toplline to double from Rs 2600 crore in FY14 to Rs 5000 crore in FY17E.

02:10pm Market Expert
According to Rahul Arora, CEO of Nirmal Bang Institutional Equities, only the Budget would be a big trigger for market movement and so expects the Nifty to be rangebound within 200-points until then.

"There will probably be a bit of trading activity till the Budget but I don't expect a decisive move between now and mid-July or whenever the Budget is. The Nifty would best be rangebound within these 200 points; the budget of course being the big trigger from hereon," he explains.

02:00pm Equity benchmarks continued to see selling pressure in afternoon trade. The Sensex lost 137.87 points to 24967.64 and the Nifty fell 43.80 points to 7467.65. About 1338 shares have advanced, 1465 shares declined, and 120 shares are unchanged.

ITC kept its top position in the selling list, falling more than 5 percent on reports that union health minister Harsh Vardhan has called for sharp tax hikes on tobacco products.

Infosys, the second larget IT services exporter in India, dropped 2.5 percent followed by Reliance Industries, TCS, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC and Larsen & Toubro with 0.3-1 percent.

However, ONGC, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hero Motocorp, Sesa Sterlite, Bharti Airtel, Tata Steel, BHEL and Bajaj Auto continued to support the market, rising 1-2 percent. Major banks like ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank gained 0.5-0.9 percent.
 
Most active shares are Ceat, ITC, SBI, Reliance Capital, Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank.

1:50 pm Commodity expert: Priti Gupta, Director, Anand Rathi Commodities maintains a bearish outlook on gold as long as it is below USD 1340 per ounce. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, she said investment buyers need to be cautious because the uptick seen in gold priceS is primarily because of geo-political tensions in Iraq and dovish outlook presented by Fed's Janet Yellen, so the uptrend could be for the short-term.

According to her, good level for investment in gold would be around Rs 25,000-26,000 per 10 grams. She expects the yellow meatl to slip to this level in the coming months. The upside for gold is capped at around Rs 28000-29000 per10 gm, she added.

1:40 Realty growth plans: Irfan Razack, CMD, Prestige Estates, said the company is targ pmeting Rs 550 crore of rental income p.a by FY17 and expects Rs 5,000 crore of pre-sales in FY15.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has put a 'buy' on Prestige Estates with a target price of Rs 280. The brokerage believes the company's EPS to double from 9 in FY14 to 18 in FY17 and its new projects to hit revenue recognition threshold.

Speaking to Ekta Batra and Anuj Singhal of CNBC-TV18, Razack said the current quarter had been pretty robust and he ''believes the company will come out with very surprising numbers for the first quarter. We are pretty excited that things have panned out well''.

Razack said the Bangalore market has been pretty robust right through due to sensible pricing, adding that Prestige Falcon City in Bangalore has seen good pre-launch. The company is waiting for final okay on Prestige Temple Bells on Mysore Road, which it expects to launch next quarter.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of Gammon Infrastructure Projects are locked at 5 percent upper circuit on getting a board approval for QIP worth Rs 500 crore.

"The board of directors of the company at its meeting held on June 20 has approved qualified institutional placement issue of equity shares or equity linked instrument upto Rs 500 crore," says the company in its filing.

The issue is subject to the approval of shareholders. Funds raised via qualified institutional placement (QIP) will mainly be used for completion of some current projects, says KK Mohanty, MD, Gammon Infrastructure.

1:20 pm Interview: Pinning hope on Modi-led new government at the Centre, Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Construction Company ( HCC ) told CNBC-TV18 that it needs to clear infrastructure backlog.

NHAI alone owes Rs 35000 crore to infra companies, he reminded. Although the company's Lavasa project had got clearance, it was stuck for a long time due to jurisdiction issues. Stressing on the urgent need to boost investment in the country, Gulabchand said addition of jobs and improvement in job skills are two key parameters for creating an investment climate.

The market is in the red with Nifty trading below 7,500 and Sensex below 25,000 mark. The Sensex is down 160.27 points or 0.68 percent at 24945.24 and the Nifty is down 51.45 points or 0.68 percent at 7460.00.

About 1232 shares have advanced, 1439 shares declined, and 129 shares are unchanged.

ITC is the top loser on the Nifty as Union Health Minister has called for a sharp tax hike on tobacco products. Dragged by ITC and HUL, FMCG indices falls over 3 percent while auto, metals remain strong in the green.

Meanwhile, sugar companies rally as the food ministry hikes import duty to 40 percent from 15 percent currently and extends sugar export incentives till September. The ministry also ups ethanol blending with petrol to 10 percent.

The rupee erases initial gains on importers' dollar buys. RBI's move to allow foreign portfolio investors in currency futures and exchange traded options though support the rupee. Asian markets trade higher as investors cheered upbeat China PMI data. China June PMI index expanded for the first time in six months.

12:55pm Market Expert
UR Bhat, MD, Dalton Capital Advisors is not betting on a pre-Budget rally. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he says the global cues like the situation in Ukraine and Iraq will influence the market in the near term. Hence, he feels that it is a good strategy to lighten up some positions before the budget.

According to him, the Nifty could hit 8000 level if subsidy issue is addressed by the Modi- government in the Budget. On the flipside, he doesn't' see the market correcting more than 5 percent from current levels.

Meanwhile, he expects crude oil prices to escalate from current levels and USD 115/barrel is a very important level to watch for, he said.

12:50pm CLSA on Bharti
Brokerage house CLSA reiterates its high-conviction buy on Bharti Airtel.

"Bharti Airtel is leading India's mobile-subscriber ramp-up some 40-70 percent ahead of its key competitors including Vodafone and Idea Cellular. While Reliance Jio's 4G foray is now only in 2015 and phase wise likely due to challenges in providing affordable devices and offering voice plus data. We believe Bharti is the best play in India mobile and offers an EBITDA CAGR of 12 percent with upside potential and trades at under 6x FY16CL EV/Ebitda," CLSA explains.

12:40pm Interview
Funds raised via qualified institutional placement (QIP) will mainly be used for completion of some current projects said KK Mohanty, M-D, Gammon Infrastructure. The company's board has approved QIP worth Rs 500 crore.

According to him, with the new government coming into power the dwindling interest in the infrastructure sector seems to have revived, so he expects a positive response for the QIP.

Meanwhile, the company is exploring all options to reduce debt, he Mohanty.

12:30pm Kotak Mahindra Bank falls 3%
Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank saw selling pressure on Monday after the MSCI says it will delete the stock from its Global Standard Index with effect from July 8.

12:20pm Sugar sops
In a move to bail out the ailing sugar industry, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan allowed an import duty hike from 15 percent to 40 percent. While taking the decision at a second high-level meeting on Monday, the food minister also extended sugar export incentives till September 2014. In addition, ethanol blending with petrol too has been raised to 10 percent.

12:10pm Market Expert
The recently announced railway fare hike was on the cards for a long time. But the execution of the same is the BJP government's one if the first few steps to pump up the economy, says Vikas Khemani of Edelweiss Financial Services.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Khemani says that though the anti-populist move by the government is a positive, it will not be a trigger for significant market rally.

''A rally will be seen just before the Budget. And this will be widespread one,'' he adds.

On his expectation from the Union Budget 2014-15, Khemani says all eyes will be on what the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announces on taxes.

Khemani further adds that the market has been nervous on the quagmire unfolding in Iraq, but foreign institutional investors (FIIs) are looking at India from a long-term perspective and are likely to pump in unprecedented amount of capital in India.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks extended losses in noon trade with the Sensex falling 122.16 points to 24983.35 and the Nifty slipping 38.95 points to 7472.50 weighed down by IT and FMCG stocks.

About 1304 shares have advanced, 1227 shares declined, and 119 shares are unchanged.

ITC plunged 5 percent as report suggested that union health minister may increase tax on cigarettes. FMCG major Hindustan Unilever slipped 1.8 percent while technology stocks like Infosys, TCS and Wipro declined 2.2 percent, 0.65 percent and 0.85 percent, respectively.

Index heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC and HDFC Bank slipped 0.3-0.5 percent. However, shares of ICICI Bank, ONGC, State Bank of India, Sesa Sterlite, Hero Motocorp, Tata Steel and Bajaj Auto climbed 0.9-1.8 percent.

12:00 pm Market master: In an interview to CNBC-TV18 Rakshit Ranjan, VP, Ambit Capital spoke about his outlook on the FMCG sector. Ranjan prefers betting on discretionary consumer stocks than staples. On specific stocks, he recommends selling Colgate given the high competitive intensity in oral care sector.

Sharing views on cigarette major ITC, he says that till now, the company has been able to pass on hike in excise duty via price increases, but it would feel the heat if excise duty on cigarettes is hiked.

Ambit Capital is underweight on the sector.

11:50 am Big fall: Shares of biggest cigarette manufacturer ITC fall 5 percent on a media report that the government may raise taxes on cigarettes aggressively in the upcoming budget in July, dealers say.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has sought an increase in tax on cigarettes of all lengths by Rs 2 to 3.5 per stick, newspaper Economic Times said in a report on Friday.

"Although the previous government had raised tax on cigarettes by about 19 percent in February 2013, the increase was too little to lower consumption," the report quoted the minister as saying.

11:40 am Sugary sweet: The government has hiked sugar import duty to 40 percent from 15 percent, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting Cogencis. Food minster says that sugar export incentives are extended till September. The government will also increase ethanol blending with petrol to 10 percent.

All sugar stocks are rallying. Bajaj Hindusthan, Balrampur Chini, Dhampur Sugar and EID Parry are up 7-8 percent each.

11:30 am Market outlook: UR Bhat, MD, Dalton Capital Advisors is not betting on a pre-budget rally. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he says the global cues like the situation in Ukraine and Iraq will influence the market in the near term. Hence, he feels that it is a good strategy to lighten up some positions before the budget.

According to him, the Nifty could hit 8000 level if subsidy issue is addressed by the Modi-government in the Budget. On the flipside, he doesn't' see the market correcting more than 5 percent from current levels. On sectors, Bhat is not too gung-ho on the IT sector. He said that performance of this export-oriented sector has deteriorated since election, so there is no great case to be overweight on IT. However, he sees value in midcap technology stocks at the current levels.

11:20 am Buzzing: Shares of Emami rallied over 3 percent intraday as it forays into feminine hygiene space. The FMCG company entered into an agreement with Mumbai-based Royal Hygiene Care to acquire 'She Comfort' brand of sanitary napkin.

''The acquisition of She Comfort brand is a part of our inorganic growth strategy and is being funded through internal accruals'', said NH Bhansali, CEO-Finance, Strategy & Business Development.

Sanitary Napkin with a current market size of over Rs 2100 crore is a growing category with low penetration and is growing at 19 percent Meanwhile, Credit Suisse maintains outperform rating on the stock with a target price of Rs 580 per share.

The market is slipping as the Sensex is down 69.79 points at 25035.72 and the Nifty is down 26.85 points at 7484.60. About 1213 shares have advanced, 1104 shares declined, and 113 shares are unchanged.

ITC, Infosys, Wipro, HUL and TCS are weak in the Sensex. Among the gainers are Hero MotoCorp, Sesa Sterlite, Hindalco, M&M and Tata Steel are major gainers.

Rupee is higher tracking Asian currencies. RBI's move to allow foreign portfolio investors in currency futures and exchange traded options helps the rise. Bonds trade slightly lower amid low volumes as most market participants avoid fresh positions in absence of any cues.

Commodities saw action in the metal space on Friday with copper the flagship metal in the London metals exchange ending at the highest price in two weeks. Brent softened to close off nine-month highs. However, it is currently above USD 115 per barrel. Gold is above USD 1300 per ounce.

Most Asian currencies are trading with a positive bias today. The yen trades weak against the dollar as well

Globally, Argentina is in focus as well as the country is at the risk of a default. The country owes bond holders around USD 2.3 billion with USD 900 million who agreed to discounts after the 2001 crisis when Argentina defaulted on USD 100 billion debt and USD 1.33 billion to those who didn't agree to discounts.

10:50am FII View
Rakesh Arora, Macquarie says apart from profit booking, developments in Iraq continue to bother markets as crude prices continue their upward march.

''July is where all the action appears to be at the moment, with the earnings season likely to keep the markets interested along with anticipation of key announcements by the government in the Budget. Buying on weakness is recommended,'' he adds.

10:40am Jubilant Foodworks in focus
Brokerage house CLSA has retained its buy recommendation on Jubilant Foodworks, the franchisee for Domino's Pizza and Dunkin Donuts in India, with a revised price target of Rs 1500.

According to CLSA, Jubilant will be a key beneficiary of a likely pick-up in economic activity, which in turn should support discretionary income and improve consumer sentiment.

''We expect a steady recovery in its same-store-sales growth (SSG) over the next three years, which should also aid margin expansion. All else the same, every 1 percent change in SSG leads to a 5 percent rise in earnings,'' said the CLSA note to clients.

10:30am Market Update
The Sensex fell 106.55 points to 24998.96 and the Nifty lost 34.65 points to 7476.80. About 1094 shares have advanced, 1086 shares declined, and 101 shares are unchanged.

10:20am Essar Oil in News
Shares of Essar Oil are locked at 5 percent upper circuit on Monday after the board of directors has approved delisting proposal received from promoter Essar Energy Holdings (EEHL).

"The company, on June 20, had received a letter from EEHL to voluntarily delist the equity shares of the company currently listed on the BSE and NSE by purchasing the 13,71,23,373 ( representing 27.53 percent ) shares held by the public shareholders," says the company in its filing.

Public shareholders do not include Imperial Consultants & Services, Essar Power Hazira Holdings and the Bank of New York Mellon. Promoters EEHL, Imperial Consultants & Services and Essar Power Hazira Holdings hold 24.9 percent stake in the company.

10:10am UR Bhat, MD, Dalton Capital Advisors is not betting on a pre-budget rally. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he says the global cues like the situation in Ukraine and Iraq will influence the market in the near term. Hence, he feels that it is a good strategy to lighten up some positions before the budget.

According to him, the Nifty could hit 8000 level if subsidy issue is addressed by the Mod- government in the budget. On the flipside, he doesn't' see the market correcting more than 5 percent from current levels.

10:00am Equity benchmarks fell marginally with the Sensex losing 59.90 points to 25045.61 and the Nifty declining 23.70 points to 7487.75. About 1134 shares have advanced, 813 shares declined, and 94 shares are unchanged.

ITC topped the selling list, falling nearly 3 percent followed by Infosys, Cipla, TCS, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, UltraTech Cement and HCL Technologies with 0.5-2 percent.

However, Hero Motocorp, ONGC, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Lupin and NMDC gained 0.7-2 percent.

In the midcap space, Essar Ports, Ramco Cements, Redington India, Essar Oil and Tata Global Beverage rallied 5-7 percent whereas Amtek India, IIFL Holdings, Edelweiss Financial, KSK Energy Ventures and VST lost 2.4-4.4 percent.

10:00 am Budget hopes: Rakesh Arora, Macquarie says apart from profit booking, developments in Iraq continue to bother markets as crude prices continue their upward march.

''July is where all the action appears to be at the moment, with the earnings season likely to keep the markets interested along with anticipation of key announcements by the government in the Budget. Buying on weakness is recommended,'' he adds.

 9:50 am Buzzing: Shares of AstraZeneca surged 12 percent intraday on Monday as it finally got shareholder's nod for the much awaited delisting after it was deferred twice in the past.

The company, had earlier, deferred the delisting plan due to the big deal which was expected in the parent company Astrazeneca. Pfizer was looking to buy out the whole company because of which the whole delisting plan got deferred.

The parent holds 75 percent stake but the interesting part is that 15 percent stake is held by six large institutions and they will take a call which way the delisting goes.

In May 2013, Astrazeneca had done an offer-for-sale (OFS) to bring the stake down from 90 percent to 75 percent. In that OFS, majority of the shares were bought by six large FIIs. So, FIIs will be the key to the whole delisting pricing and to the success of the delisting.

The floor price for the OFS is at Rs 490 per share.

9:40 am Houseview: Brokerage house Bank of America Merrill Lynch has raised its earnings per share and price targets for rating agency CARE, saying the company will be one of the early beneficiaries of a recovery in the domestic economy.

Merrill now has a price target of Rs 1250 for the stock, against Rs 1065 earlier. The brokerage has raised EPS estimates for the stock by 3-6 percent for FY15 and FY16.

''CARE would benefit from revival in bank loan demand, corporate bond pick-up and SME business. We still value the stock around 20-30 percent discount to its listed peers to factor in the risk due to its pure rating play nature,'' said the CLSA note to clients.

9:30 am Is the rail fare hike just? The decision to hike rail fares shows that despite fears of a bad monsoon and the impact that it could have on food prices, the NDA government is ready to bite the bullet on politically-sensitive decisions, said a note by brokerage house JP Morgan.

"There is bound to be a one-time price level impact on, for example, the prices of cement, steel, coal, oil which rely heavily on the railways for transportation. To what extent this cascades into manufacturing prices rising, more generally, will depend on pricing power in different sectors and their ability to pass on these input price increases. To a lesser extent, there will also be a one-time impact on transportation services in the CPI – but while the price level impact is expected to increase the year-on-year inflation rate for the next 12 months – the RBI will be expected to look through one-off, price level changes that will eventually reduce subsidies and the fiscal burden.''

The market has opened in green. The Sensex is up 50.01 points at 25155.52 and the Nifty is up 2.80 points at 7514.25. About 508 shares have advanced, 134 shares declined, and 23 shares are unchanged.

Cipla, ONGC, Tata Power, HDFC and Bajaj Auto are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are ITC, GAIL, Reliance, Infosys and HDFC Bank.

The Indian rupee opened with marginal gains of 8 paise at 60.10 per dollar on Monday as against Friday's closing value of 60.18 a dollar. The euro dipped ever so slightly in the wake of dovish comments from the European Central Bank but investors struggled for conviction ahead of a report on China's manufacturing sector.

The US markets ended higher on Friday with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting record highs. European markets closed mixed while Asian markets are trading with positive bias. Japan's Nikkei is currently sitting near six-month highs.

In other asset classes, Brent Crude rose to USD 115 per barrel even as tensions in Iraq continue. And precious metal gold eased slightly on profit taking, but the yellow metal is near-April highs on geopolitical tensions and a softer dollar.