Sensex, Nifty close flat; IT & pharma tank, banks gain

03:30pm Market Closing
The market closed marginally lower amid consolidation with the Sensex falling 25.18 points to 26246.79 and the Nifty losing 9.70 points to 7842.70.

Shares of Infosys, Dr Reddy's Labs, Sun Pharma, Wipro, Cipla and Tech Mahindra topped the selling list, down 2.5-5 percent while Tata Steel, Larsen and Toubro, ONGC, NTPC, BHEL, DLF, IndusInd Bank and BPCL surged 2-5 percent.

In the midcap space, BF Utilities, Jindal Saw, GSFC, Page Industries and Punj Lloyd climbed 5-10 percent whereas Natco Pharma, CARE, JK Lakshmi Cement, Hexaware Tech and Trinity Trade fell 5-7 percent.

02:55pm Interview
Maxwell Industries has been in the limelight on the news that the company, which is engaged in manufacturing and marketing of innerware, has decided to sell their non-operative unit in Navi Mumbai. The stock succumbed to some profit booking today post a stellar rally on Tuesday.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, R Venkatraman, CFO & COO, Maxwell Industries, said the deal is for Rs 9 crore and the company is in the process of liquidating all its non-core businesses. He said the company will now be focusing more on the garmenting business and brand-building.

From this fund, the debt will get released, said Venkatraman adding that the company does not have any long-term debt on books, except the working capital borrowing. He expects to book profit of Rs 7 crore from the deal.

02:25pm Stake sale
India plans to raise around Rs 5,000 (USD 813.4 million) this fiscal year by selling stakes in companies including ITC, Larsen & Toubro and Axis Bank, a senior official with knowledge of policymakers' discussions said.

The sales could be made through an exchange traded fund that could be launched before the end of March, the official told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The ETF would be made up of the government's stakeholdings in up to ten companies, including stakes in companies held through an offshoot of the Unit Trust of India known as SUUTI.

The government holds 11.27 percent in ITC, 8.18 percent in L&T and 11.66 percent in Axis Bank through SUUTI.

SUUTI, which stands for Specified Undertaking of The Unit Trust of India, said in a statement that it has invited bids from asset management companies to help it set up the ETF.

02:00pm Market Check
The market remained marginally under pressure amid volatility. The Sensex fell 51.11 points to 26220.86 and the Nifty declined 15.95 points to 7836.45.

The broader markets declined too with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices losing 0.2-0.4 percent. Declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of 1505 to 1233 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

India looks extremely favourable moving into FY15, says Adrian Mowat of JPMorgan. He expects India to outperform even in FY16, saying India is likely to get disproportionate flows this year and next.

The rupee traded marginally higher as sentiment improved after positive growth forecast from the IMF. However, weakness in equities limited the upmove.

Oil marketing stocks like BPCL, HPCL and IOC surged 3-5% on hopes that diesel profitability will rise as Brent crude prices are almost 20 percent lower from their 2014 highs. Analysts say that every rise of 50 paise per litre in the diesel margin for the full year will improve FY15 earnings per share for OMCs between 19 to 43 percent.

Infosys, Tata Steel, Force Motors, SBI, Larsen and Toubro, Tech Mahindra and Apollo Tyres were most active shares on exchanges.

01:55pm Rupee Outlook
Nizam Idris, Managing Director, Head of Strategy- Fixed Income & Currencies at Macquarie Bank feels some capital outflows could pressure rupee in near-term, in turn strengthening USD in short-term.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, he says that rupee may be seen in the range of 61-62/USD in medium-term.

However, given that fundamentals of India better placed than Russia and Brazil, Idris is confident of rupee outperforming against other emerging market currencies.

01:30pm Coal India divestment
Coal India divestment process should begin immediately after the Diwali festival on October 23, Manoj Joshi, joint secretary of financial markets in the Finance Ministry, said.

India's federal government wants to sell a 10 percent stake in the state-owned company this fiscal year ending March 31 as part of many divestments aimed at bolstering its stressed finances, reports Reuters.

01:00pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks remained directionless as technology and healthcare stocks were under pressure while capital goods, oil & gas, FMCG, power and banks supported the market.

The Sensex declined 11.48 points to 26260.49 and the Nifty fell 4.80 points to 7847.60. About 1241 shares have advanced while 1377 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Hans Goetti, Head of Investment - Asia, Banque Internationale Luxembourg SA doesn't see the recent softness as an indication that equities are at the start of a bear market. In fact, he recommends market participants to buy the asset class on dips. He sees India as a re-rating candidate in the medium-term.

Speaking about the steep decline seen in global Brent price, which recent hit a 27-month low and is now below USD 91/barrel, he said demand for crude is down on the back of weak macroeconomic trends.

Shares of TCS, Infosys, Sun Pharma, Wipro, Dr Reddy's Labs and Cipla topped the selling list, down 2-4 percent while L&T, ONGC, Tata Steel and BHEL gained more than 2 percent.

Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, SBI, Axis Bank, ITC, Tata Motors and HUL advanced around a percent.

In the midcap space, Punj Lloyd, Jindal Saw, BF Utilities, Rashtriya Chemical and Rallis India climbed 4-6 percent whereas Natco Pharma, Hexaware Tech, Trinity Trade, Va Tech Wabag and Bhushan Steel lost 4-5 percent.

12:55pm Tech contract from US government
The US government may release the largest tech contract till date, worth around USD 1.2 billion, sources told CNBC-TV18. The deal would be for unified database of government infra contracts and processes, sources said, adding that the deal is currently in initial stages of formation and formal bids are expected by December.

According to sources, the deal is likely to be divided between 4 and 5 players. Tech majors like TCS , Wipro , HCL Tech , Infosys  and Cognizant are likely to bid for the contract. However, the IT players did not comment on speculation.

12:30pm Market Expert
The current market fall is likely to fall anything between 3 to 5 percent and may find a floor at those levels, says C Jayaram, joint managing director, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Jayaram says the market has run up a lot post the general elections and is cooling off now. But for any rally now, the market will need some robust global or economic triggers.

On sectoral plays, Jayaram says information technology (IT) still continues to be an attractive place despite the run up seen.

''The US market is doing well and it is slated to do even better and that will increase the demand for IT companies. Also I don't expect the rupee to strengthen a lot from the current levels. So while the valuations are stretched, we like this space,'' he adds.

12:00pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks fell in noon trade with the Sensex losing 67.46 points to 26204.51 and the Nifty declining 19.15 points to 7833.25 weighed down by technology and healthcare stocks. About 1230 shares have advanced, 1251 shares declined, and 111 shares are unchanged.

Infosys slipped over 4 percent and Tech Mahindra plunged over 5 percent after Citi downgraded Infosys to neutral and Tech Mahindra to sell. Mindtree dropped 3 percent as Citi downgraded the stock to sell. Wipro and TCS fell nearly 3 percent.

Dr Reddy's Labs and Sun Pharma plunged 3 percent each after the US Congress begun investigation into price hikes of 10 select generic drugs. Cipla declined 2.63 percent.

However, BHEL, BPCL, IndusInd Bank, Larsen and Toubro, DLF, ONGC, NTPC, and Tata Steel gained 1-3 percent.

Brent crude futures fell below USD 91 a barrel to their lowest since June 2012, holding to a months-long tumble in prices as lower economic growth forecasts raised new concerns about global oil demand amid rising US inventory levels.

11:55am Brent crude in focus
Brent crude futures fell below USD 91 a barrel to their lowest since June 2012, holding to a months-long tumble in prices as lower economic growth forecasts raised new concerns about global oil demand amid rising US inventory levels.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for the third time this year, warning of weaker growth in core eurozone countries, Japan and big emerging markets like Brazil.

While the IMF kept the growth outlook for China, the world's No.2 oil consumer, unchanged at 7.4 percent for this year, it saw the risk of a hard landing in the medium term due to concerns over excess industrial capacity and credit issues, reports Reuters.

11:30am FII View
Ridham Desai, Morgan Stanley says for the past three months or so, quality has made a strong comeback underscoring a patient and rational market, something the brokerage house thinks that augurs well for those bullish on equities.

''In our view, the market remains in the midst of a big macro trade, which means sector positions should be wider. Our stock-picking approach remains to buy cyclicals and as usual, we would avoid beta,'' he adds.

11:00am Market Check
The market continued to see volatility due to lack of triggers. The next trigger for the market is second quarter (July-September) earnings season that will be kicked off by Infosys on Friday.

The Sensex rose 16.73 points to 26288.70 and the Nifty advanced 6.10 points to 7858.50. About 1200 shares have advanced, 1034 shares declined, and 80 shares are unchanged.
 
Larsen and Toubro rallied 2 percent after its subsidiary L&T Tech Services said it will acquire Dell's engineering services business. Competition Commission of India has approved the proposed deal.

SBI climbed over a percent after CLSA said the lender is its top pick in the PSU banking space. It has a target price of Rs 3160 on the stock given bank's strong deposit franchise and focus to improve core performance.

Fertiliser stocks like RCF and Chambal Fertilizers rose 2-4 percent after CNBC Awaaz's report suggested that the government has notified new urea investment policy, saying plants will continue to receive subsidy for 8 years post commencement of production.

However, pharma stocks remained under pressure after the US Congress begun investigation into price hikes of 10 select generic drugs involving players like Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs and Cadila Healthcare.

10:55am KEC in Focus
Investors lapped up shares of KEC International on Wednesday after the infrastructure EPC major received new orders worth Rs 1,029 crore in its transmission and distribution, cables, and renewable businesses. The stock gained over 2 percent.

In transmission and distribution segment, the company has secured orders worth Rs 746 crore from Power Grid in India, Zesco in Zambia and SAE Towers in America.

"In cable business, the company received orders for the supply of power and telecom cables. The total value of these orders is Rs 273 crore," said the company in its filing to BSE, adding it has secured order worth Rs 10 crore in solar space.

10:30am SBI on buyers' radar
Shares of State Bank of India gained over a percent as brokerage house CLSA said India's largest lender is its top pick among PSU banks given its strong deposit franchise, well capitalised balance sheet and focus on profitability.

The brokerage maintains buy on the stock with a target price of Rs 3,160 based on 1.5x September-16 consolidated adjusted price-to-book.

CLSA said interactions with SBI indicated that it will focus on low-risk segments like large corporate and retail segment for loan growth. "While this can put some pressure on net interest margins (NIMs), recent cut in deposit rates can help to manage the impact. Fee growth can improve as cross-sell targets are knitted into staff's appraisals; this will add to the benefits from cost controls," it added.

According to the report, asset quality pressures can continue in the near-term, but SBI will benefit from improving economy and tighter underwriting standards.

10:00am Market Check
The market remained rangebound at around 7850 on the Nifty after seeing big fall in previous session. The index declined 8.05 points to 7844.35 while the Sensex was down 10.41 points to 26261.56. Technology and healthcare stocks were under pressure while capital goods, FMCG, power and banks stocks gained.

About 994 shares have advanced, 905 shares declined, and 84 shares are unchanged.

Adrian Mowat, Chief Asian & Emerging Equity Strategist, JPMorgan says India looks extremely favourable moving in FY15, and believes it would be an outperformer in FY16.

According to him, the new government has done a lot of good things at an executive level and the house is particularly excited about the proposal of managing food inflation.

However, one would be keenly watching for government's decision on energy prices like coal, gas which would impact power generation. The house is also eagerly awaiting announcement of diesel deregulation, he said.

Tech Mahindra topped the selling list, falling 4.4 percent followed by Infosys, Dr Reddy's Labs, Cipla, Wipro and TCS with 2-3 percent loss. However, L&T, BHEL, SBI, ONGC, ITC and NTPC gained more than a percent.

09:35am Market Expert
The Indian equity market is going through a cyclical recovery, so one should brace for near-term correction, says Pankaj Murarka, Axis Asset Management. However, the outlook for India remains constructive in the medium-term hence any dip should be seen as an opportunity to buy, he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

The market would see some pullback due to global cues, but valuations are reasonable, he added.

On sectors, Murarka is betting on cyclicals. Among financials, he is positive on private banks. The fund house has also started buying public sector lenders in anticipation that economy recovery will help banks to improve their stressed balance sheets.

He is also bullish on automobile and capital goods sector.

09:15am Market Check
Equity benchmarks opened marginally lower on Wednesday following weak global cues. The Sensex slipped 13.61 points to 26258.36 and the Nifty fell 4.75 points to 7847.65.

About 437 shares have advanced, 315 shares declined, and 28 shares are unchanged.

Shares of Sesa Sterlite, Infosys, Hindalco Industries, Sun Pharma, Gail India, NMDC and Jindal Steel were down 0.8-1.6 percent while NTPC, ONGC, Bharti Airtel, M&M, HUL and Tata Power gained 0.5-1 percent.

The Indian rupee opened flat at 61.46 per dollar on Wednesday as against previous day's closing value of 61.43 a dollar.

Dollar bulls are being forced to temper their enthusiasm post weak German data and IMF cutting its global growth forecast - dollar index eases to 85.664 off its 4-year highs.

NS Venkatesh of IDBI Bank says the rupee will continue to take the cues from the equity market flows. He expects the rupee to trade in the range of 61.4-61.6/dollar.

On the global front, Asian markets were trading weak following negative US cues. In the US, stocks fell sharply, extending losses into a second session, as investors fretted slowing economic growth in Europe and the potential impact on coming third-quarter earnings from US corporations.

And in Europe, shares closed lower with sentiment curbed by weak economic data from Germany and a downturn on Wall Street.