Sensex, Nifty close flat; auto & banks zoom, metals melt

03:30 Market closing
The market ended the choppy session on a flat note. The Nifty ended a bit lower than 7900, up15.80 points at 7891.10 and the Sensex was up 45.82 points at 26360.11. About 1673 shares advanced, 1344 shares declined and 97 shares are unchanged.

Autos and banks kept the uptrend intact. Bajaj Auto, SBI, M&M, Sun Pharma and HDFC Bank were top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers were NTPC, Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel, Dr Reddy's Labs and Hindalco.

03:00pm Blue Star, Voltas on buyers' radar
The June quarter was a strong one for the air conditioner industry despite adverse macro-economic conditions, says Pradeep Bakshi, Chief Operating Officer, Voltas. Demand has been quite strong in July and August as well, he told CNBC-TV18. Bakshi says Voltas's growth in the AC segment has been higher than the industry rate, which was around 8 percent last year.

Speaking on the same, B Thiagarajan, ED, Blue Star says the air conditioners market is set for an explosive growth over the next five years. He sees a compounded annual growth rate of around 30 percent in this period. The second and third quarters of this year could see softness in sales because of seasonality, but Blue Star has set an internal target of 20 percent growth for the full year.

02:45pm Jubilant Foodworks in focus
CLSA maintains buy rating on the stock with a target price of Rs 1,500 apiece.

Notwithstanding the near-term concerns, the brokerage believes that the Indian food services is a structural growth story. Jubilant should be a key beneficiary of a gradual improvement in consumer sentiments driving up discretionary consumption, it adds.

02:25pm Interview
Titan is banking on studded jewellery to gain marketshare going forward as it gives better margin than plain gold. In an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18, S Subramanian, CFO of Titan said growth in studded jewellery segment has been quite encouraging in the last couple of quarters. Last year, this segment contributed about 28 percent to the overall business of the company.

He informed that the company has gained immensely from Golden Harvest  - the 11+1 scheme - which will pave way for a bumper Q2. Although the scheme has to be closed down, Titan is planning to come out with another scheme which is more compliant with the New Companies Act by next quarter.

02:00pm Equity benchmarks continued to trade higher with marginal gains amid volatility, supported by banks and auto stocks. The Sensex rose 69.79 points to 26384.08 and the Nifty climbed 17.30 points to 7892.60.

About 1534 shares have advanced, 1323 shares declined, and 107 shares are unchanged.

Bank Nifty advanced over a percent as top lenders like Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Kotak Mahindra Bank, State Bank of India, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank gained 1-3 percent.

Bajaj Auto topped the buying list in the Sensex, up 3 percent followed by Sun Pharma with 1.8 percent. However, NTPC, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hindalco Industries, Sesa Sterlite and United Spirits lost 1-2 percent.

Ferrous stocks like SAIL and Tata Steel declined after the cabinet hiked royalty rates on iron ore to 15 percent from 10 percent earlier. MOIL too was under pressure as manganese royalty rates upped to 5 percent from 4.2 percent earlier.

Zee Entertainment is all set to replace United Spirits on all NSE indices with effect from the September 19.

Global markets subdued today with the Asian equities closing in the red as China economy fears deepened after Chinese HSBC PMI fell to 3-month low of 50.3. Even Eurozone data disappointed with the manufacturing PMI sliding to 13-month low.

1:30 pm Market outlook: Ajay Srivastava, CEO, Dimensions Consulting believes the market will only go higher from its current levels of 7800-7900. According to him, improving macros, sanguine liquidity and strong fundamentals can only push Nifty higher from its current levels.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Srivastava says that big capitalised companies are likely to give good returns in the next six months. However, lending will get hostile with these companies finding it difficult to fund themselves and everything related to them coming under scrutiny increasing the cost of borrowing. Talking specifically about stocks, Srivastava says L&T will benefit with government's decision to upgrade defence sector along with the possibility of a change in the management of the company. Srivastava expects the company to receive a defence project in the next 12-18 months which will lead to an upmove in the stock. He sets a target price of Rs 2500 per share for the stock.

He goes gung-ho over pharma sector and sees long-term rally for large cap pharma stocks. According to him, the market has seen only one-tenth of the pharma boom that is expected from the industry over the next 10 years and so, one must not get out of the pharma bandwagon.

It is a choppy day at Dalal Street with the Nifty limping around. The Sensex is down 16.46 points at26297.83 and the Nifty down 7.30 points or 0.09% at 7868.00. About 1493 shares have advanced, 1269 shares declined, and 101 shares are unchanged.
 
Asian markets trade under pressure after China manufacturing PMI dropped to a 3-month low. European markets, however, opened with a slight positive bias as investors await positive cues from the Jackson Hole meet.

Zee Entertainment is off session highs but has taken it's weekly winnings to 9 percent. The stock is all set to replace United Spirits on all NSE indices with effect from September 19. USL, however, slumped almost 2 percent.

Tata Steel, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hindalco, NTPC and Sesa Sterlite are major laggards in the Sensex. Among the gainers are Bajaj Auto, SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and M&M.

01:00pm Finance Minister's speech
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government was working to tighten up risk management in the banking sector.

Jaitley, in a speech, said that some recent incidents in the banking sector had been "disturbing" and expressed the hope that they would not be repeated.

He did not name any banks, but his comments followed the opening of an investigation into whether the head of state-controlled Syndicate Bank accepted bribes to roll over a loan to a steel company, reports Reuters.

12:45pm Arvind at record high
Arvind saw buying interest again, up as much as 2.5 percent to hit a record high of Rs 258.20 on the Bombay Stock Exchange after signing franchise agreement by its subsidiary with the US company.

"Arvind Lifestyle Brands has entered into a franchise agreement with The Children's Place, the largest pure play children's specialty apparel retailer in North America," said the company in its filing.

The subsidiary of Arvind is expected to open 50 stores over time beginning in the fall of 2015.

"Indian kidswear market presents huge opportunity and we are confident of gaining dominant market share of the Indian kidswear market with the launch of The Children's Place," said J Suresh, MD and CEO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands.

12:25pm Market Expert
R Sreesankar, Head - Institutional Equities, Prabhudas Lilladher expects the Nifty to trade in range of 7100 at the lower end and 8200 at the higher end for the next three months.

"This view was firmed up on the basis of expectations that the economy will start to deliver or rather the business confidence will be back and that will start resulting in economy being able to deliver. These numbers being reflected in a lot of sectors and companies probably from end of Q3 to Q4. When we speak to a large number of corporates, what we understand is that business confidence is back. Also in terms of large number of BOT companies the road toll projects etc, the traffic is up that again brings back the confidence level," he elaborates.

12:00pm The market remained marginally in green with the Sensex gaining 46.68 points at 26360.97 and the Nifty rising 12.95 points to 7888.25 while the broader markets outperformed benchmarks. Bank Nifty climbed over a percent.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices jumped 0.7 percent each. Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1581 to 1011 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Shares of State Bank of India, Axis Bank and Bajaj Auto rallied over 1.5 percent followed by ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Larsen and Toubro, ITC, Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki and Cipla with 0.5-1 percent.

However, HDFC, Infosys, Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Dr Reddy's Labs, Sun Pharma, NTPC, Bharti Airtel, Hero Motocorp and Hindalco Industries declined 0.5-1.4 percent.

Among midcaps, Pine Animation, SKF India, Shipping Corporation, Monsanto India and Eros International surged 5-15 percent whereas Bhushan Steel, Amara Raja Batteries, Whirlpool, India Cements and DB Realty lost 2.5-5 percent.

11:30 am Buzzing: Metal stocks are reeling under heavy selling pressure as the government has decided to increase royalty rates on minerals.  Ferrous stocks like SAIL and Tata Steel slumped 2-3 percent intraday on Thursday after the cabinet hiked royalty rates on iron ore to 15 percent from 10 percent earlier.

MOIL fell around 1 percent as manganese royalty rates are increased to 5 percent from 4.2 percent earlier.

Steel companies are also weak on concerns of weak demand after slower growth in China as its factory sector slowed to a three-month low in August. The HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 50.3 from July's 18-month high of 51.7.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited government move will significantly swell the annual revenue of states. "Cabinet in-principle approved revision of mineral royalty. There are 55 such items but this excludes coal, lignite and sand for stowing," Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after the Cabinet meeting.  

A day of resting is over for the bulls it seems. The market has once again picked up pace with the Nifty hovering around 7900. The 50-share index is up 33.25 points at 7908.55 and the Sensex is up 109.42 points at 26423.71.About 1608 shares have advanced, 729 shares declined, and 91 shares are unchanged.

Bajaj Auto, SBI, Axis Bank, M&M and GAIL are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Dr Reddy's Labs, Hero MotoCorp, Sesa Sterlite and HDFC.

Equity investors seemed reassured that the vast majority of the Fed's voting committee wanted to keep a pledge that rates would stay near zero for a considerable time after it stops buying assets, which is expected in October.

But the minutes also revealed a more active debate about whether an earlier hike in rates might be needed.

10:55am Zee Entertainment, United Spirits in News
The National Stock Exchange has decided to include Zee Entertainment into its CNX Nifty Index and exclude United Spirits with effect from September 19.

Earlier the exchange had added Zee Telefilms (now Zee Entertainment) in May 24, 2000 and then removed on March 27, 2009 while United Spirits was included in the index on March 28, 2014.

Meanwhile, Aurobindo Pharma and Motherson Sumi Systems will replace Mphasis and Zee Entertainment in CNX Nifty Junior and Mphasis and United Spirits in CNX 100 Index with effect from September 19.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises was quoting at Rs 292.75, up 1.58 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange while Aurobindo Pharma gained 1.65 percent (which touched a record high of Rs 817.40) at Rs 808.05 and Motherson Sumi Systems rose 1.38 percent to Rs 363.70.

However, United Spirits fell 1.5 percent to Rs 2,418.75 and MphasiS declined 0.21 percent to Rs 444.35.

10:40am Market Update
The Sensex rose 120.84 points to 26435.13 and the Nifty added 33.80 points to 7909.10.

About 1554 shares have advanced, 655 shares declined, and 81 shares are unchanged.

10:25am FII View
Neelkanth Mishra, Credit Suisse says the strong visual correlation between Sensex and crude over the past 25 years often creates a buzz. "The positive correlation surprises many, but it shouldn't," he adds.

"Crude reflects global growth and the recent decline is due to demand weakness in US, EU & China which affects sentiment in equities too. Half of Sensex sales have global linkages and the markets' reliance on capital flows is higher than oil price impact on the economy," says Mishra.

10:00am Equity benchmarks gained marginal strength with the Sensex rising 65.33 points to 26379.62 and the Nifty advancing 17 points to 7892.30 supported by banks, auto and oil & gas stocks.

The broader markets continued to outperform benchmarks; the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices rose 0.9 percent each. About 1326 shares have advanced, 559 shares declined, and 64 shares are unchanged.

Shares of State Bank of India, ONGC, Axis Bank, Bajaj Auto and GAIL were prominent gainers followed by TCS, L&T, HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, and Mahindra and Mahindra with 0.4-0.7 percent.

However, Sesa Sterlite and Tata Steel fell more than a percent after Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved royalty revision of 23 major minerals. Shares of Infosys, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hero Motocorp, Bharti Airtel and Cipla declined 0.4-1 percent.

9:45 am Gold check
Gold extended losses to a fifth session on Thursday to trade near a two-week low after the US dollar strengthened on indications from the US Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates sooner than expected.

A surprisingly strong jobs market recovery could lead the Fed to raise interest rates earlier than it had been anticipating, according to the minutes from the central bank's July 29-30 meeting, though most officials wanted further evidence before changing their view.

Higher interest rates would dull the appeal of non-interest bearing assets such as gold.

Ultra-calm trading conditions in gold are becoming self-perpetuating as a persistent lack of volatility frustrates investors seeking a return, pushing them further away from a market that analysts say could be becalmed for years.

The market has opened on flat note as investors release minutes of the latest FOMC meeting. The Sensex is up 10.15 points at 26324.44 and the Nifty is down 1.15 points at 7874.15.
About 648 shares have advanced, 247 shares declined, and 41 shares are unchanged.

Investors hope that the minutes will shed further light on the Federal Reserve's exit strategy from its asset-purchasing programme and ultra-low benchmark interest rate. Some hawkish Fed members, like Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser, have already started beating the drums of an early interest rate increase.

The focus of Wall Street though is on the annual symposium on monetary policy in Jackson Hole. Fed chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak on labour markets and could offer a defense of her views that there is considerable slack in labour markets. ECB president Mario Draghi is also one of the key speakers at the event.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors, TCS, Tata Power, ITC and M&M are top gainers while Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel, Cipla, Hero MotoCorp and Bharti Airtel are among the laggards in the Sensex.

The Indian rupee opened marginally lower at 60.69 per dollar as against previous day's closing value of 60.61 a dollar. The dollar was trading at 11-month highs against a basket of major currencies after minutes of the Federal Reserve's July meeting sounded slightly hawkish.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, "Large FII flows into government securities has resulted in rally across both bond and rupee markets. However, the tone of the FOMC policy minutes was more hawkish than market expectations leading to dollar strengthening against major currencies."

"In-line with global trends, dollar is expected to strengthen against rupee today. We expect rupee to trade in a range of 60.50-60.90/dollar," he added.

In Asia, equities are mostly higher this morning. China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.42 percent or 9.47 points at 2,230.74. Hong kong's Hang Seng declined 0.57 percent or 144.24 points at 25,015.52.