Sensex, Nifty end down; Bharti falls 3%, IT stocks drag

03:30 pm Market close: The market has ended at lower level. The Sensex was down 45.58 points at 27842.32, and the Nifty slipped 17.05 points at 8378.40. About 1587 shares have advanced, 1394 shares declined, and 577 shares were unchanged.

Maruti was the biggest gainer, up 3 percent. Other major gainers were Tata Motors, L&T, Tata Steel and ONGC. Among the losers were Bahrti Airtel, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hindalco, HDFC and Coal India.

03:15 pm Sugar output
The country's sugar production increased by 27.3 per cent to 7.46 million tonnes in the first three months of the current 2014-15 season, but continuous fall in prices is a cause of concern for millers, industry body ISMA said today.

Sugar output stood at 5.86 million tonnes in the October-December period of the 2013-14 season. Sugar season runs from October to September.

Expressing concern over falling ex-mill prices of sugar, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said that the rates are "substantially below the cost of production" and it has become difficult for mills to even pay the cane price to farmers within stipulated period.

03:00 pm Coal India update
Coal India is transporting extra volumes of coal to power plants ahead of a five-day worker union strike that threatens to cut much of its per-day output of 1.6 million tonnes, two company officials told Reuters on Monday.

The company accounts for about 80 percent of India's total output and worker strikes have previously crippled power plants. Coal fuels 60 percent of the country's power production.

The five worker unions of Coal India will go on a strike from Tuesday against the government's plan to allow private companies mine and sell coal, said Jibon Roy, general secretary of the All India Coal Workers Federation.

The unions might again go on strike on January 13, Roy said.

02:45pm IT earnings to kick start soon
A double whammy of seasonal weakness and cross-currency headwinds may have hurt dollar revenues of frontline IT services firms during the December quarter, according to a Deutsche Bank report.

"We expect Infosys to be affected the least and TCS the most by the adverse currency movements. Tech Mahindra continues to gain share and we expect it to deliver USD revenue growth of 3.8 percent quarter on quarter, significantly higher than peers at 0.4-1.2 percent Q-o-Q," Deutsche said, adding that Tech Mahindra and TCS continue to remain its top picks.

According to Deutsche, the cross-currency headwinds faced by tech companies in December were the most severe quarterly movements of the past four years.

"This is likely to negatively affect the dollar revenue growth rates of the top-tier Indian vendors by 130-220bps," the report said. However, staying bullish on Tech Mahindra, Deutsche said it expects the tech major to continue to gain share and deliver sector-leading dollar revenue growth of 3.8 percent Q-o-Q (against 2.8 percent [organic]) during the quarter on the back of strong deal wins in both telecom and enterprise businesses.

"Despite the severe cross-currency headwinds, the weak rupee will cause the operating margins of the vendors to remain in a narrow band on a Q-o-Q basis," the report added.

02:25pm Interview
Debt-laden Unity Infraprojects received an approval for their CDR scheme to aid cash flows. Currently, the company has restructured debt of Rs 3,550 crore.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Madhav Nadkarni, CFO, Unity Infraprojects says the interest rate will now come down by 2 percent, as CDR interest rate is 12 percent versus actual rate of 13.75-14 percent.

The company hopes to realise approximately Rs 500 crore from real estate and BoT by FY20-21, he adds. Furthermore, its indirect costs have come down due to fall in crude oil price.

02:00pm Market Check
The market remained in a consolidation mode in afternoon trade with the Nifty struggling at 8400 level. HDFC group, technology and PSU banks were under pressure whereas auto, FMCG and select metals stocks gained.

The Sensex advanced 22.32 points to 27910.22 and the Nifty rose 6.35 points to 8401.80. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices climbed over 0.3 percent.

About 1587 shares have advanced, 1263 shares declined, and 589 shares are unchanged on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Micheal Kurtz, global head of equity strategy at Nomura is highly optimistic on India in 2015. According to him, much of the good news is yet to play out. "India is the largest overweight in the Asia portfolio and the brokerage is bullish on L&T, Axis Bank and SBI," he says.

Maruti Suzuki was one of the top gainers on the Nifty after CLSA retains the auto major as one of its top picks in 2015 with a target of Rs 4,400 per share. The stock gained 3 percent.

Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Larsen and Toubro, ONGC and Jindal Steel topped the buying list, up 2-3 percent whereas Dr Reddy's Labs, Bharti Airtel, Hindalco Industries, HDFC, BHEL, DLF and HCL Technologies were down 1-2 percent.

In the midcap space, HSIL, Ashok Leyland, Orient Cement, Va Tech Wabag and Symphony surged 6-9 percent while Sulabh Engineer, Tilak Finance, Persistent Systems, PMC Fincorp and Bayer CropScience lost 3-20 percent.

Among smallcaps, Hanung Toys, Lloyd Electric, Indraprastha Gas, Everest Industries and Elantas Beck climbed 11-20 percent.

Global markets were subdued. European markets declined 0.5 percent while the euro fell to a 9-year low versus the dollar as speculation grew about ECB getting closer to launching a bond buying program.

In commodities, crude resumed its downtick, hit a five-and-half-year low of USD 55.73 a  barrel as worries about a surplus of global supplies amid weak demand continued to drag demand.

1:55 pm Q4 earnings preview:  A double whammy of seasonal weakness and cross-currency headwinds may have hurt dollar revenues of frontline IT services firms during the December quarter, according to a Deutsche Bank report.

"We expect Infosys to be affected the least and TCS the most by the adverse currency movements. Tech Mahindra continues to gain share and we expect it to deliver USD revenue growth of 3.8 percent quarter on quarter, significantly higher than peers at 0.4-1.2 percent Q-o-Q," Deutsche said, adding that Tech Mahindra and TCS continue to remain its top picks.

According to Deutsche, the cross-currency headwinds faced by tech companies in December were the most severe quarterly movements of the past four years.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of Cadila Health jumped 5 percent intraday after Credit Suisse has maintained an outperform rating on the stock. The brokerage has also increased its target price to Rs 1900 per share indicating a 17 percent potential upside.

Cadila is Credit Suisse's preferred picks due to strong US pipeline and its next key catalyst is Prevacid approval.

It believes that Cadila's price hike of HydroxyChloroquine (antimalarial drug) after IPCA/Ranbaxy exit will add 15 percent to FY16 EPS. The benefit of higher prices and market share is likely to reflect in December 14 quarter results, it adds. It also expects Cadila to increase market share from 30  percent to 50 percent. At 50 percent volume share, it is hopefult that Hydroxychloro will add Rs10 EPS to FY16 or 15 percent.

It has been very volatile trading day with the market showing some wild swings. The Sensex is down 151.31 points at 27876.35 and the Nifty is down 6.55 points at 8388.90. About 1505 shares have advanced, 1277 shares declined, and 595 shares are unchanged.

Maruti, ONGC, Tata Steel, L&T and Hero are major gainers while Bharti, Dr Reddy's, TCS, BHEL and HDFC fall.

The broader Nifty rose to its highest in nearly a month, gaining for a seventh consecutive session as stocks focused on the domestic market rose on hopes of fresh foreign allocations at the start of the year.

Foreign investors bought Indian shares worth USD 45.3 million on Thursday and Friday, adding to the USD 16.11 billion they infused in 2014, as per regulatory data.

Investors expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to continue with the reforms process while fresh buying is expected ahead of the federal budget and December-quarter results.

The quarterly earnings season kick-starts with Infosys' results on January 9.

12:55pm Market Update
The Sensex rose 52.64 points to 27940.54 and the Nifty advanced 8.80 points to 8404.25 while the broader markets gained half a percent. About 1566 shares have advanced, 1155 shares declined, and 608 shares are unchanged on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

12:40pm Tata Teleservices jumps 6%
NTT DoCoMo Inc said it has asked a London court to ensure Tata Sons finds a buyer for the Japanese carrier's stake in an Indian joint venture for USD 1 billion, after Tata failed to do so by an agreed date.

DoCoMo paid 266.7 billion yen (USD 2.22 billion) for 26.5 percent of Tata Teleservices in 2009. Under the agreement, holding company Tata Sons would sell the stake for at least half of the purchase price should undisclosed performance targets be missed, DoCoMo said in a statement.

DoCoMo requested the sale in July. That gave Tata Sons 90 business days to find a buyer for Rs 7250 crore (USD 1.15 billion) or fair market price, whichever was higher, DoCoMo spokesman Shunsuke Muraki told Reuters.

As a buyer was not found by December 3, DoCoMo filed an arbitration request on January 3 with the London Court of International Arbitration to ensure the stake is sold, Muraki said.

12:25pm Max India in News
Max Bupa Health Insurance (Max Bupa) is set to become one of the first companies in India to benefit from the proposed increased limit for foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance.

Following the Insurance Laws Amendment Ordinance 2014 receiving legislative assent in the 2015 Budget Session of Parliament, Bupa, the international healthcare group, proposes to increase its stake in Max Bupa from 26 percent to 49 percent.

Max Bupa is a joint venture between Max India, which owns 74 percent of Max Bupa, and Bupa, the UK-headquartered global healthcare group, which owns 26 percent.

"This decision underlines Bupa's commitment to the Indian health insurance market and represents a major milestone in the development of Max Bupa," said David Fletcher, Managing Director of International Development Markets at Bupa.

12:00pm Market Check
The market gave up some of its morning gains after a strong start as realty and PSU banks see some profit booking. The broader markets marginally outperformed benchmarks with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices rising 0.5 percent each.

The Sensex rose 50.60 points to 27938.50 and the Nifty advanced 14.85 points to 8410.30. About 1547 shares have advanced, 1044 shares declined, and 610 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

Maruti Suzuki was one of the top gainers on the Nifty after CLSA retains the auto major as one of its top auto picks in 2015 with a target of Rs 4,400 per share. Ashok Leyland gained almost 8 percent, reacting to its sales figures for December. The company reported a 48 percent jump in total sales year-on-year.

Larsen and Toubro traded with almost 2 percent gains after Citi increased the target on the stock to Rs 1,849 from Rs 1,707 per share. Citi says, L&T is its top industrial pick for 2015 followed by BHEL and Voltas.

Shares of Tata Motors, ONGC, Hero Motocorp and Tata Steel climbed over 1.5 percent whereas HDFC, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy's Labs and BHEL declined 0.7-1.5 percent.

Tata Teleservices gaind more than 5 percent. NTT Docomo filed aribitration request to sell its stake in Tata Teleservices in India. Tata Sons says they are committed to honoring obligation to Docomo and have already filed an application with the RBI regarding NTT Docomo's plan to exit Tata Teleservices.

The rupee fell as the dollar index traded at 9-year highs.

Asian markets were mixed amid choppy trade as investors remained cautious in the new year. Weak oil prices continued to weigh on sentiment; Brent crude slipped to five and a half years lows, trading below USD 56 a barrel.

12:00 pm Market check: The Sensex is down 100.34 points at 27927.32, and the Nifty is up 7.65 points at 8403.10. About 1529 shares have advanced, 1050 shares declined, and 605 shares are unchanged.

11:55 am Oil check:  US crude and Brent futures dropped to fresh 5.5-year lows as worries about a surplus of global supplies amid weak demand continued to drag on oil markets.

OPEC's decision in November to maintain output had accelerated oil's losses earlier, while record-high Russian production and the highest Iraqi exports since 1980 added to the concerns about oversupply. The two oil benchmarks, Brent and West Texas Intermediate, have now lost more than half of their value from peaks hit in the middle of last year.

US crude slid as low as USD 51.40 a barrel, its lowest since May 2009, and at 0312 GMT was just a tick above that at USD 51.59 a barrel, still down USD 1.10.

February Brent crude dropped as low as USD 55.36 a barrel, also its lowest since May 2009, before edging back to USD 55.42, still down a dollar.

11:35 am Buzzing: Shares of Ashok Leyland rallied as much as 7.6 percent intraday to hit a life high of Rs 57.45 post strong sales data in December.

The commercial vehicle maker reported a 48 percent rise in sales at 9290 units in December 2014 compared to 6,275 units sold in the same period last year.

The sales medium and heavy commercial vehicles jumped 85 percent in December to 7,210 units as against 3,890 units in the year-ago period, the Hinduja Group company said.

The Chennai-based automaker sold 2,080 units of light commercial vehicles in December 2014, down 13 percent compared to 2,385 units sold in December 2013.

Nomura reiterates positive stance on Ashok Leyland as medium and heavy commercial vehicle industry volumes surprised positively.

11:20 am Market check: The market has regain some losses.  The Sensex is up 101.03 points at 27988.93 and the Nifty is up 24.65 points at 8420.10. About 1612 shares have advanced, 844 shares declined, and 629 shares are unchanged.

The market has gone flat. The Sensex is down 20.66 points at 28007.00 and the Nifty is up 31.20 points at 8426.65. About 1592 shares have advanced, 797 shares declined, and 623 shares are unchanged.

Maruti is up 3 percent while Tata Steel, L&T, Tata Motors and M&M are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Dr Reddy's Labs, Bharti Airtel, HDFC, NTPC and BHEL.

PSU banks are in focus after the two-day event Gyan Sangam over the weekend. A few takeaways were a blueprint with 7 recommendations provided by PSU banks to the government that included setting up a bank bureau and a bank investment company and eventually government to reduce shareholding to below 51 percent.

Globally, Asian markets are mixed on global growth and oil concerns. Oil hits 5.5 year lows with Brent at sub USD 56 a barrel.

10:58am Market Update
The Sensex rose 139.81 points to 28027.71 and the Nifty jumped 35.55 points to 8431. About 1609 shares have advanced, 751 shares declined, and 617 shares are unchanged on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

10:50am Brent crude at fresh 5.5-year low
US crude and Brent futures dropped to fresh 5-1/2-year lows as worries about a surplus of global supplies amid weak demand continued to drag on oil markets.

OPEC's decision in November to maintain output had accelerated oil's losses earlier, while record-high Russian production and the highest Iraqi exports since 1980 added to the concerns about oversupply. The two oil benchmarks, Brent and West Texas Intermediate, have now lost more than half of their value from peaks hit in the middle of last year.

US crude slid as low as USD 51.40 a barrel, its lowest since May 2009, and at 0312 GMT was just a tick above that at USD 51.59 a barrel, still down USD 1.10.

February Brent crude dropped as low as USD 55.36 a barrel, also its lowest since May 2009, before edging back to USD 55.42, still down a dollar, reports Reuters.

10:35am Euro at 9-year low
The euro hit a nearly nine-year low versus the dollar as investors bet on quantitative easing by the European Central Bank while Asian shares were subdued as soft manufacturing surveys soured the mood.

The euro fell to as low as USD 1.18605, its weakest level since March 2006, having fallen below an important support at USD 1.20. The common currency last traded at USD 1.1955, down 0.4 percent from late US trade on Friday.

In an interview with German financial daily Handelsblatt, ECB President Mario Draghi said the risk of the central bank not fulfilling its mandate of preserving price stability was higher now than half a year ago.

Economists forecast that Wednesday's euro zone inflation data will show prices fell 0.1 percent in December for the first time since 2009.

That should fan expectations the ECB could ease its policy as soon as Jan. 22, when it will hold its first policy meeting this year, reports Reuters.

10:20am Market Expert
2015 will be a good year for Indian equities, believes Hiren Ved, director and CIO, Alchemy Capital Management. According to him, there are lot of macro positives like lower oil prices, slide in interest rates and a hope of earnings pick up from next quarter that might continue driving the market.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Ved says market may give double-digit returns this year led by a turnaround in the overall economic growth. He believes companies with good-shaped balance sheets will provide better returns in 2015.

10:00am Market Check
Equity benchmarks continued to trade higher with the Sensex rising 136.94 points to 28024.84 and the Nifty climbing 37.25 points to 8432.70. The broader markets outperformed frontline indices with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gaining 0.8 percent.

The market breadth was positive. About three shares advanced for every share declining on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Ashok Leyland was among the most active stocks on exchanges, rising more than 7 percent after strong sales data in December. The commercial vehicle maker sold 9290 units in the month gone by, up 48 percent compared to same period last year.

Infosys, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, LIC Housing Finance, L&T, Marksans Pharma and Den Networks were other most active shares.

Maruti Suzuki topped the buying list on Sensex, up 2.4 percent followed by L&T with 1.8 percent gains. ICICI Bank, M&M, Wipro, Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite and Tata Power gained 1-1.7 percent while Dr Reddy's Labs fell over 1 percent. HDFC, NTPC, Bharti Airtel, Hindalco and Coal India were marginally in red.

9:55 am Q3 earnings expectations: Brokerage house Morgan Stanley feels that inventory losses because of the steep fall in crude oil prices could distort the aggregate corporate earnings picture for the December quarter.

''In the ongoing quarter, several companies might suffer from inventory losses given the swing in oil and oil related commodity prices and hence headline numbers which get reported in January/February may be misleading,'' says the brokerage in its note to clients.

''The earnings revisions breadth is still in the negative zone but consensus has lifted its 2-year forward earnings CAGR by about half a point (0.5 percentage point) over the past three months. The market may be more focused on guidance for the coming quarters which thus far has remained tepid,'' the note says.

The brokerage expects a repeat of the volatility seen last month, in the current quarter.

9:45 am What to buy in 2015?  Some near term hiccups-especially on the reforms front-notwithstanding, India still stands out as a good investment destination for global investors, feels brokerage house Credit Suisse.

"In a world struggling for growth, India stands out. Even as reform expectations get tempered, particularly as constitutional amendments (e.g., GST) cannot be passed in joint sessions, and repeated promulgation of ordinances shows legislative difficulties, a low base and slower but structural changes help steady growth," says the Credit Suisse note to clients.

"India's better medium-term growth outlook for earnings economy should also support the broader market," says the note.

The brokerage has rated Gujarat Pipavav, Havells, HCL Technologies, HDFC Bank, Kajaria Ceramics, Maruti, Shriram Transport Finance and Sun Pharma as its top picks.

9:30 am Upgrade: Shares of Larsen & Toubro jumped 2 percent intraday after Citi upgraded it to buy from neutral rating. The brokerage has also increased its target price to Rs 1849 per share on strong order inflow doubling from last year's level to USD 75 bn.

It also adds that a domestic rebound is already apparent in strong Q2 inflows, driven by domestic wins (83 percent of wins). ''L&T won Rs 732 bn of orders in first half, up 14 percent year-on-year. It needs R s792bn of orders in second half to meet its over 20 percent guidance,'' it says in note.

Citi also feels that L&T's preparedness to exploit the evolving India defence opportunity; and the stock's 20 percent underperformance versus the BSE Sensex over the past six months will drive it.

The market has opened with gains. The Sensex is up 92.99 points at 27980.89 and the Nifty is up 25.25 points at 8420.70. About 800 shares have advanced, 181 shares declined, and 622 shares are unchanged.

L&T, Tata Power, Tata Steel, Maruti and Sesa are top gainers in the Sensex. Coal India, HDFC Bank, Dr Reddy's Labs, ONGC and GAIL are among thle laggards.