Nifty ends below 8500, Sensex sheds 339 points; Infosys drags

It was a weak start to the week on Monday as the equity benchmarks fell more than a percent weighed down by banks, technology, capital goods, metals and auto stocks. The selling pressure extended in afternoon trade after a quiet start to the week.

The 30-share BSE Sensex shed 338.70 points to 28119.40 while the 50-share NSE Nifty closed way below the 8500-mark, down 100.05 points. The broader markets dropped too; the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices slipped 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Experts believe it was the case of a healthy correction. One should not be worried during such falls, rather he/she should buy quality stocks on such dip, say experts who are gung-ho about the bull market continuing as the government stays the course on reforms and the macro economic environment improves.

Atul Suri of Rare Enterprises said it is a buy on dips market but it is better to follow the longer trends in the market. He believes the Nifty will rally nearly 22 percent over the next six-nine months and will touch 10,460 by mid 2015.
Neelkanth Mishra, Credit Suisse believes the market is likely to continue to pay more for growth, and the Indian market is not expensive yet. ''It is likely to see the strongest earnings growth, with among the least severe downward revisions,'' he says.

Among stocks, Infosys was the biggest loser, down 4.84 percent as 3.3 crore shares were traded in multiple blocks in early trade today in the price range of Rs 1,988 to Rs 2014. Reports indicated that the four founders offloaded stake worth USD 1.1 billion in the company for personal, philanthropic reasons.

Sesa Sterlite was another top loser, falling 3.6 percent after brokerage house Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its earnings estimates for the metal and mining major and also the price target, citing falling crude and iron ore prices. The brokerage lowered earnings estimates for FY15-FY16 by 10-33 percent, and price target to Rs 268 from Rs 283 earlier.

Other prominent losers were TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Industries, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, State Bank of India, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hindalco Industries, BHEL and Tata Steel, down 1-3 percent.

However, ONGC gained 0.6 percent as media report suggested that oil ministry will cut subsidy burden of the state-run oil explorer and adjust its cess payment.

Cigarette major ITC gained for the third consecutive session today, up 1.6 percent on top of a 8 percent rally last week. Coal India topped the buying list on the Sensex, up 2.3 percent. Sun Pharma, Bharti Airtel and Cipla gained 0.6-0.9 percent.

In the broader space, Jet Airways climbed 10 percent on hopes of getting more market share after curbs on rival SpiceJet. Sources told CNBC-TV18 that Directorate General of Civil Aviation withdrew 186 slots of SpiceJet and asked the company to limit advance bookings to only a month.

SpiceJet shed 4.4 percent (on top of a 14 percent fall in previous session) ahead of board meeting for fund infusion plan. The company issued clarifications over the weekend indicating its international flying rights are not in jeopardy, its payables to suppliers is significantly less than the Rs 1,600 crore and the DGCA has asked for a payment plan to be shared with them by December 15.

Insurance companies such as Bajaj Finserv gained 7 percent as the coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said the insurance bill is likely to be passed in this session.

Arvind, Alembic, BEML, NCC, Bombay Dyeing, Ashok Leyland, Rural Electrification Corporation, Idea Cellular, Dish TV, JK Tyre and Crompton Greaves were top midcap losers, down 3.5-4.5 percent. However, Pipavav Defence, JBF Industries, Suzlon and Sintex gained 3-8 percent.

About 1141 shares advanced and 1803 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

On the global front, Asian markets closed mixed with the Shanghai rising to a fresh 3-year high, up 2.81 percent. The trade surplus for November was at record high in China but exports disappointed as they slowed to a growth of only 4.7 percent versus estimates of over 8 percent.

Brent crude slipped below USD 68 per barrel mark after Morgan Stanley cut its Brent price targets. The brokerage now expects Brent crude price to remain around USD 70 a barrel in 2015.

03:30pm Market Closing
Profit booking continued for another session on Monday with the Sensex losing 338.70 points or 1.19 percent to 28119.40 and the Nifty falling 100.05 points or 1.17 percent to 8438.25.

The broader markets dropped too; the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices slipped 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. About 1141 shares advanced and 1803 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Infosys topped the selling list, down 4.84 percent followed by Sesa Sterlite, M&M, BPCL, Jindal Steel, Hindalco and TCS with 2.5-4 percent loss.

However, Coal India, ITC, Bharti Airtel, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints, UltraTech Cement and ONGC bucked the trend, up 0.7-2.2 percent.

SpiceJet, Arvind, Alembic, BEML, NCC, Bombay Dyeing, Ashok Leyalnd, REC, Idea Cellular, Dish TV, JK Tyre and Crompton Greaves were top midcap losers, down 3-5 percent. However, Jet Airways, Pipavav Defense, JBF Industries, Suzlon and Sintex gained 3-10 percent.

03:15pm GVK in Focus
French bank Societe Generale has decided to suspend its involvement as an adviser in raising finance for the city-headquartered GVK group's Hancock Coal project in Australia.

According to a statement in the official twitter account of the French bank, "delay" in executing the project is the main reason for its opting out.

"In the context of the Alpha Coal project's delay, Societe Generale has decided, in agreement with GVK-Hancock, to suspend its mandate. The bank has therefore no involvement with the project," the Paris-based lender said.

Reacting to the announcement, GVK Hancock today said, "GVK Hancock has been working with Societe Generale on a specific element of the financing arrangements for our projects, but is not currently working on that specific work package and as such does not require their services at this time.

"The key focus for our projects at this point in time is finalising our approvals and addressing litigious challenges to our attained approvals," said Josh Euler, manager,
corporate affairs, GVK Hancock Coal Pty Ltd.

GVK had, in 2011, acquired 79 percent stake in Alpha Coal and Alpha West Coal Project and 100 percent stake in the Kevin's Corner Project, Queensland, from Hancock Coal Pty Ltd, reports PTI.

03:00pm ONGC in News
The Sensex fell 325.43 points or 1.14 percent to 28132.67 and the Nifty dropped 96.35 points or 1.13 percent to 8441.95. About 1052 shares have advanced, 1815 shares declined, and 119 shares are unchanged.

In a big boost to ONGC, the Oil Ministry is reworking the fuel subsidy sharing formula to cut its payout by a quarter through adjustment of statutory oil cess against its share.

According to a new subsidy sharing formula, the payout of upstream oil producers like ONGC is to be reduced to the extent of Rs 4,500 per tonne oil development cess they pay to the government, sources privy to the development said.

The move to lessen the subsidy burden will give a flip to government's plan to sell 5 percent stake in Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to garner about Rs 17,000 crore.

The cess in current fiscal will total Rs 10,500 crore and after accounting for Rs 31,926 crore that upstream firms ONGC and Oil India (OIL) have already paid in fuel subsidy in first half, their payout in remainder of the current fiscal will be no more than Rs 8,000 crore, reports PTI.

02:45pm CAD to be announced today
Current account deficit for Q2FY15 will be announced later in the day today. According to the estimates of economists polled by CNBC-TV18, CAD could widen to around USD 10 billion in Q2 compared to USD 7.8 billion in previous quarter.

This is assuming widening of the trade deficit sequentially to USD 37.3 bilion in Q2FY15 from USD 33.1 billion, along with accounting for trade surplus in services at USD 17.8 billion and assuming remittances and investment came in unchanged Q-o-Q.

02:30pm Sesa Sterlite under pressure
Brokerage house Bank of America Merrill Lynch has cut its earnings estimates for metal and mining major Sesa Sterlite, and also the price target, citing falling crude and iron ore prices.

The brokerage has lowered earnings estimates for FY15-FY16 by 10-33 percent, and price target to Rs 268 from Rs 283 earlier.

''Sesa Sterlite offers leverage to our positive zinc and aluminium view. It should also gain from stronger zinc volume sequentially in second half (vs. first half) and the ramp-up of unproductive power and aluminium assets,'' said the BofA note to clients.

''However, the weaker Cairn earnings outlook and coal cost pressure will dampen group profits, in our view. if oil stays at USD70/bbl, we estimate that there could be a further 11 percent downside to our FY16E EBITDA and 28 percent downside to our FY16e EPS (for Cairn),'' the report said.

02:00pm Market Check
The market remained under pressure with the Sensex falling 281.74 points or 0.99 percent to 28176.36 and the Nifty losing 90.45 points or 1.06 percent to 8447.85, dragged by banks, technology, auto, metals and capital goods stocks.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices fell nearly 0.9 percent. The market breadth was negative with the 1750 shares declining for 1075 shares advancing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Infosys slipped nearly 5 percent as 3.3 crore shares were traded in multiple blocks this morning in the price range of Rs 1,988 to Rs 2014. Reports indicated that the founders offloaded stake worth USD 1.1 billion in the company for personal, philanthropic reasons.

Shares of TCS, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, State Bank of India, Sesa Sterlite, Dr Reddy's Labs, Wipro, Tata Steel, Hindalco Industries and BHEL were down 1-3 percent. However, ITC, ONGC, Sun Pharma and Coal India bucked the trend, up 1-2 percent.

1:55pm Market Update
The market pared some losses led by support from ITC, ONGC, HDFC and Sun Pharma. the Sensex declined 230.61 points to 28227.49 and the Nifty lost 73.25 points to 8465.05.

About 1044 shares have advanced, 1724 shares declined, and 114 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

ONGC gained over a percent after media report suggested that oil ministry will cut subsidy burden of the state-run oil explorer and adjust cess payment.

01:50pm Credit Suisse on India
India's economy will see the fastest USD nominal growth in the world in 2015, Credit Suisse says.

Given growth outlook, equity market is not expensive in both absolute and relative terms, it adds. Indian market is likely to see strongest earnings growth among Asian peers, and even globally, bank says, reports Reuters.

01:20pm Maruti in News
Having run into troubles with institutional investors over its Gujarat plant transfer to parent Suzuki, car maker Maruti now wants to seek approval of minority shareholders after a proposed relaxation comes into effect in the Companies Act.

Maruti Suzuki India had earlier planned to seek shareholders' approval for the transaction in November. The Cabinet, meanwhile, has cleared a slew of amendments this month to various aspects of the new Companies Act.

"Now another new factor which is the proposed amendment to the Companies (Amendment) Bill has come up. So it would not make sense to go for the vote till we know what that bill is and what the future is," MSI Chairman RC Bhargava told PTI.

Once the changes come into effect, after Parliament's nod, it would become easier for companies to get shareholder approvals for related party transactions. Maruti's proposed plant transfer to Suzuki falls under this category of transactions.

01:00pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks plunged one percent in afternoon trade weighed by banking, technology, capital goods, auto and metals stocks. The 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 305.66 points to 28152.44 and the 50-share NSE Nifty dropped 93.55 points to 8444.75.

Declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of 1617 to 1044 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Though the market was seeing profit taking, the market veterans are gung-ho about the bull market continuing as the government stays the course on reforms and the macro economic environment improves. An unexpected bonus for the economy and the market has been the steep fall in crude oil prices.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Atul Suri of Rare Enterprises said it is a buy on dips market but it is better to follow the longer trends in the market. He believes Nifty will rally nearly 22 percent over the next six-nine months and will touch 10,460 by mid 2015.

Infosys kept its top position in the selling list, down 4.5 percent followed by TCS, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Sesa Sterlite, Dr Reddy's Labs, BHEL and Hindalco Industries with 2-3.5 percent loss.

India's largest lenders State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank fell around 1.5 percent.

However, ITC gained for the third day, up over a percent on top of a 8 percent gains in previous week. HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Coal India and Sun Pharma climbed 0.4-1.8 percent.

12:55pm Interview
Sunil Kanojia, Group President, Sintex Industries, feels the company will see the benefits of a falling crude with a lag, and expects it to mainly aid the B2C business.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Kanojia said the company is seeing order opportunities from recently announced CSR schemes and expects pre-fab segment to get orders from Swachh Bharat Mission.

Sintex has gross debt of Rs 4,200 crore and net debt of Rs 4,000 crore. Kanojia expects the company to see 20-25 percent revenue growth in FY15 on consolidated basis.

12:25pm Market falls further
The market fell further in afternoon trade with the Nifty breaking 8500 level. The index declined 47.15 points to 8491.15 while the Sensex slipped 158.33 points to 28299.77.

About 1260 shares have advanced, 1318 shares declined, and 127 shares are unchanged.

Infosys plunged 4.5 percent followed by Dr Reddy's Labs, TCS, Sesa Sterlite and Hindalco Industries with 2 percent loss. Index heavyweights Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, L&T and HDFC Bank were marginally down.

12:15pm Thangamayil Jewellery jumps
Investors bought more shares of Thangamayil Jewellery after State Bank of India mutual fund raised stake in the jewellery maker. The stock shot up 20.86 percent intraday to hit a fresh 52-week high of Rs 223.60 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

SBI Mutual Fund on Friday increased its stake in the company to 4.6 percent by purchasing additional 3.57 lakh shares at Rs Rs 190 apiece through block deals.

As of September 2015, the mutual fund firm held 2.09 percent stake or 2.8 lakh equity shares in the company.

However, N Ramachandran, one of the biggest shareholders, reduced its shareholding in company to 1 percent. he sold 4.5 lakh shares at Rs 190 a share or 3.3 percent stake. As of September, he held 4.27 percent stake or 5.86 lakh shares.

12:00pm Market Check
The market extended losses in noon trade with the Sensex declining 102.22 points to 28355.88 and the Nifty losing 30.45 points to 8507.85. About 1290 shares have advanced, 1280 shares declined, and 120 shares are unchanged.

Infosys, Jet Airways, Sintex Industries, SAIL, SBI, ITC and TCS were most active shares on exchanges.

Infosys slipped 4.7 percent as 3.3 crore shares were traded in multiple blocks this morning in the price range of Rs 1,988 to Rs 2014. Reports indicated that the founders offloaded stake worth USD 1.1 billion in the company for personal, philanthropic reasons.

Jet Airways gained more than 9 percent on hopes of getting more market share after curbs on rival SpiceJet. Sources told CNBC-TV18 that Directorate General of Civil Aviation withdrew 186 slots of SpiceJet and asked the company to limit advance bookings to only a month.

SpiceJet continued its losses from Friday, down 3 percent. The company issued clarifications over the weekend indicating its international flying rights are not in jeopardy, its payables to suppliers is significantly less than the Rs 1,600 crore and the DGCA has asked for a payment plan to be shared with them by December 15.

11:55am Interview
The Anti-Corruption Bureau has filed an FIR against real estate major HDIL in connection with Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project in Mumbai over alleged irregularities.

However, Sarang Wadhawan, vice-chairman and managing director of HDIL says the charges are not serious in nature and there is malafide intent behind it. "We have all the documentation to prove our innocence," he told CNBC-TV18.

Moving on to the mood in the real estate sector, he says that the overall sentiment among investors has improved. Wadhawan says volumes of residential projects is seeing improvement.
The company's current debt on a consolidated basis stands at Rs 3,400 crore.

11:25am Retail participation increasing
The retail participation in the market has definitely gone up over the past 20 years and today there are close to 2 crore retail investors, says , Chitra Ramkrishna, MD & CEO, NSE, adding that it is still a very small proportion of the ''total savours in the market.''

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Ramkrishna said that disinvestment in large navratna PSUs are good pegs around which one can see the retail money coming in, which in turn helps in building a good momentum around retail participation.

11:00am Market Check
Equity benchmarks as well as broader markets remained lacklustre in trade. The 30-share BSE Sensex declined 74.09 points to 28384.01 and the 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 21.25 points to 8517.05.

About 1228 shares have advanced, 1063 shares declined, and 102 shares are unchanged on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Market experts remained bullish on India. Technical analyst Atul Suri says it's a buy on dips market. Samir Arora of Helios Capital welcomed the lower crude prices while Ramesh Damani, Member BSE says it's time to bet on interest rate cyclicals.

Infosys was the loser today. A 3.3 crore equity shares were traded in multiple blocks this morning in the price range of Rs 1988 to Rs 2014. Reports indicated that the founders were to offload stake worth USD 1.1 billion worth of stock in the company. The promoters were selling stake for personal, philanthropy reasons.

SpiceJet continued its losses from Friday, down 6 percent today. The company issued clarifications over the weekend indicating its international flying rights are not in jeopardy. Its payables to suppliers is significantly less than the Rs 1,600 crore and the DGCS has asked for a payment plan to be shared with them by December 15.

Ranbaxy and Sun Pharma gained 1.5-2 percent as US court has ruled in favour of Astrazeneca and Ranbaxy, and the agreement between the two companies on Nexium generic was not anti-competitive.

Insurance companies such as Bajaj Finserv gained 7 percent. The coal and power minister Piyush Goyal has said the insurance bill is likely to be passed in this session.

The 10-year bond extended gains to trade at a record high on lower oil prices. The Indian rupee was weaker in line with Asian currencies reacting to the stronger than anticipated non-farm payrolls from the US.

Asian markets traded choppy. However, Shanghai rose to a fresh 3-year high extending gains into a fifth straight session. The trade surplus for November was at record high in China but exports disappointed as they slowed to a growth of only 4.7 percent versus estimates of over 8 percent.

10:55am Thermax in News
Shares of Thermax hit a record high of Rs 1,131.80 on bagging order in Africa to build and commission a captive power plant.

The energy and environment major won a repeat order from a leading African industrial major, for supplying a captive power project for one of the conglomerate's cement plants, said the company in its filing.

The power plant will be commissioned within a time frame of 15-16 months, it added. The scope of work includes system design, manufacture, supply and supervision of erection and commissioning of the plant.

10:30am Market Expert
Former Goldman Sachs chairman Jim O'Neill is bullish on India's economic cycle, and sees acceleration in growth next year.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, O'Neill says he expects India's GDP growth to be 6 percent by middle of next year. He says financial conditions for India are extremely favourable and that the environment for investment is fantastic.

He further sees the Reserve Bank cutting interest rate in the first quarter of 2015. He adds that strong rupee, capital flow and steady and low inflation can accelerate the pace of interest rate cut.

10:00am Market Check
Equity benchmarks continued to consolidate with the Sensex falling 38.12 points to 28419.98 and the Nifty slipping 14.30 points to 8524. The broader markets outperformed benchmarks with marginal gains. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.3 percent each.

The market breadth was positive. About 1125 shares have advanced while 766 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The 10-year 8.4 percent 2024 bond traded at life high of Rs 103.18, up 0.11 percent compared to Friday's closing value.

Shares of Infosys topped the selling list, falling more than 3 percent after block deals wherein founders may have sold shares worth USD 1.1 billion. Sesa Sterlite fell 1 percent as brokerage house Bank of America Merrill Lynch has cut its earnings estimates for the metal and mining major, and also the price target, citing falling crude and iron ore prices.

Among others, TCS lost 1.7 percent followed by Dr Reddy's Labs, L&T, M&M, HDFC Bank, Hero Motocorp, SBI and Hindalco were down 0.3-1 percent.

However, Coal India gained 2 percent. Media report suggested that the coal mining company asked government to return 2 cancelled Odisha blocks. Shares of ITC, HDFC, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Power advanced 0.5-1 percent.

09:37
It was anything but a normal start of yet another trading day as CNBC-TV18 celebrated its 15th birthday on Monday. To mark the occasion, the NSE bell was rung from our Mumbai newsroom amidst confetti blasts and loud cheers. This is the first time the bell has traveled out of the exchange.

Late risers were up early to join the celebrations bandwagon and to try their hand at the bell which was placed literally in the heart of the newsroom.

Present at the occasion were Chitra Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, National Stock Exchange, and market veterans Ramesh Damani, Atul Suri and Sanjoy Bhattacharya.

''Creating new markets, bringing in information transparency, taking markets to the doorstep of investors…that's what the last 15 years have been all about,'' said Chitra Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, NSE

''India is a land of opportunities and the stock market and CNBC-TV18 have reflected that over the last 15 years,'' said Ramesh Damani, BSE broker.

Here's what team CNBC-TV18 had to say about the 15-year journey:

Senthil Chengalvarayan
What a great way to begin the next 15 years. Thank you Chitra and all of you at the NSE for bringing the Bell to our studios. And thank you to the most incredible team, that keeps this amazing channel ticking day in and day out.

Shereen Bha
I walked into CNBCTV18 for the very first time on the 7th of December 2000. The last 15 years have been the best years of my life and I feel blessed to be celebrating this milestone with the best team in Business

Menaka Doshi
It's been 15 years of working long hours, through floods and terrorist attacks, in bull markets and bear phases, from 9 percent growth to 5 percent growth…and hopefully back to 9 percent again. Today is a memory rush…as all those precious moments return to remind us what an incredible journey this has been. And what an incredible audience we have had.

Latha Venkatesh
Ringing the bell in our newsroom was an ecstatic moment, a memory for life.

09:55am SPML Infra in News
SPML Infra has won new orders worth Rs 267 crore from Karnataka Urban Infrastructure. Development and Finance Corporation for 24X7 water supply system for three cities, Sindhanur, Gadag-Betageri and Haveri with a combined population of 3.7 lakh.

These projects are part of Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded projects to improve urban services in 14 towns in north Karnataka. The project would help improve the quality of life in underdeveloped areas of the State with uninterrupted clean drinking water supply.

SPML has received these performance-based management contracts to design and construct the infrastructure of the distribution networks, provide metered connections and operate and maintain the facilities for 5 years. The stock gained 4 percent.

09:35am FII View
Neelkanth Mishra, Credit Suisse believes the market is likely to continue to pay more for growth, and the Indian market is not expensive yet. ''It is likely to see the strongest earnings growth, with among the least severe downward revisions,'' he says.

He expects the market to prefer companies with strong medium-term earnings growth visibility.

09:15am Market Check
Equity benchmarks opened marginally lower on first day of the week led by Infosys. The Sensex fell 5.64 points to 28452.46 and the Nifty declined 5.30 points to 8533.

About 742 shares have advanced, 316 shares declined, and 65 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

Infosys plunged more than 3 percent after 3.3 crore shares traded in multiple blocks on BSE, NSE in early trade.

TCS, Sesa Sterlite, IndusInd Bank, HCL Technologies, Hero Motocorp and Bajaj Auto were marginally down. However, Jindal Steel, Coal India, UltraTech Cement, ITC, Asian Paints, BHEL, Sun Pharma and Bharti Airtel gained 0.7-1.5 percent.

In the broader space, SpiceJet plunged nearly 9 percent after sources told CNBC-TV18 that Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) withdrew 186 slots of company.

The Indian rupee slipped in the early trade. It has opened lower by 21 paise at 61.98 per dollar versus 61.77 Friday.

Dollar traded at its highest in over five years against a basket of major currencies, having rallied hard late last week on the back of a surprisingly robust US employment report.

Agam Gupta of Standard Chartered said, ''The US jobs data on Friday evening was stronger than expected and this has led to dollar strengthening against other currencies.''

''The USD-INR should trade in a range of 61.80-62.15/dollar today. Any upticks will attract exporter hedging and dips to 61.80-61.85/dollar will attract bids from local government owned banks,'' he added.

On the global front, Asian equities kicked off the week mixed as key data from Japan and China outweighed a strong US jobs report on Friday.

Japan's revised third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) showed the economy shrank more than initially estimated, with growth contracting an annualized 1.9 percent. Meanwhile, October's current account balance showed a surplus of 833 billion yen, better than expectations for a surplus of 366 billion yen. Focus now turns to Chinese trade data due later in the day.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Dow ended at record highs last week after US employers created 321,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since January 2012. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at a six-year low of 5.8 percent.

In commodities, Brent crude slipped to USD 68 as market grappled with oversupply due to the US shale boom and the recent decision by the OPEC not to cut production.