Nifty closes above 8800, Sensex up 165 points; RIL, L&T lead

03:30pm Market Closing: The market closed at more than one-month high today with the Sensex rising 165.06 points to 29044.44. The Nifty ended above 8800 for the first time since March 5, up 53.65 points at 8834 led by Reliance Industries and L&T. About 1702 shares have advanced, 1136 shares declined, and 187 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

03:15pm S&P on India: India's fiscal weakness remains a vulnerable spot in its sovereign credit profile, ratings agency Standard & Poor's said today, warning that a financial or a commodity "shock" may unwind fiscal improvements.

S&P said the government's efforts to rein-in spending indicated the high priority of fiscal prudence, but warned that spending on subsidies and heavy government debt remained concerns.

"Structural fiscal weaknesses continue to be vulnerabilities of Indian sovereign creditworthiness," S&P credit analyst Kim Eng Tan said, reaffirming India's BBB- sovereign credit rating with a "stable" outlook.

"Although India's budgetary performances have strengthened in recent years, its hard-won fiscal improvements could yet unwind because of a financial or commodity shock," Tan added.

Last week, Moody's raised India's outlook to "positive", which brought it a step closer to an upgrade of the credit rating.

02:55pm Market Update: The Sensex rose 157.18 points to 29036.56 and the Nifty gained 50.60 points at 8830.95. About 1702 shares have advanced, 1051 shares declined, and 189 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

Shares of L&T, Reliance Industries, HDFC, ITC, Sun Pharma, Bharti Airtel, HUL, BHEL, Cipla and Coal India gained 1-3 percent while M&M, Tata Motors, GAIL, Sesa Sterlite and Hindalco fell 1-2 percent.

02:45pm Escorts in News: Escorts has entered into a joint venture with Rajot-based Amul Group for manufacturing specialised tractors.

Escorts had joined hands with Amul Industries in 2012 for development and distribution of Steeltrac, a highly successful speciality tractor.

"The Escorts-Amul joint venture is an excellent strategic fit, presenting a unique opportunity to leverage the complementary strengths of our robust product portfolio," said Rajan Nanda, chairman and managing director of the company.

According to him, there has been an exponential growth in the specialised tractors market.

Steeltrac is a specialised tractor, which is complimentary to general purpose tractors which can efficiently facilitate operations like inter-weeding for farmers growing row-crops such as groundnut, cotton and sunflower.

02:30pm Divestment Buzz: Giving a push to its divestment drive, the government is seeking to dilute stake in PSUs like NBCC, Bharat Electronics, MMTC among other companies in this fiscal, sources told CNBC-TV18.

According to sources, the government’s divestment proposals include diluting 5 percent stake in Bharat Electronics, which is likely to raise Rs 1,500 crore. A 15 percent stake sale in Hindustan Copper would fetch Rs 1,000 crore, and a 15 percent sale in ITDC, would raise Rs 163 crore.

Similarly, 15 percent stake sale in MMTC is expected to raise Rs 800 crore, 15 percent in STC will fetch Rs 150 crore. A 10 percent in National Fertiliser is likely to raise Rs 200 crore, 5 percent in RCF (Rs 160 crore), 15 percent in Neyveli Lignite (Rs 2,000 crore), 5 percent in NTPC (Rs 6,000 crore), 10 percent in Engineers India (Rs 800 crore), 10 percent in Indian Oil Corp (Rs 8,200 crore), 10 percent in NMDC (Rs 6,000 crore), 5 percent BHEL (Rs 3,500 crore), 10 percent NALCO (Rs 1,400 crore), 15 percent NBCC (Rs 1,500 crore).

It remains to be seen how many of these companies get the necessary approvals to go ahead with the divestment plan.

02:00pm Market Check
The market remained firm amid consolidation in afternoon trade with the Nifty hovering around 8800 level. The Sensex rose 94.47 points to 28973.85 and the Nifty climbed 29.20 points to 8809.55.

About 1634 shares have advanced, 1078 shares declined, and 189 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

Overall sentiment remained positive as markets across the region gained as weak Chinese trade data intensified expectations for more economic stimulus measures from Beijing. According to analysts, corporate earnings will be the next medium-term trigger for the markets, analysts said.

Bharti Airtel, BHEL, L&T, Coal India and HUL are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are GAIL, M&M, Hindalco, Sesa Sterlite and Tata Motors. Meanwhile, the total market capitalisation of nine of the top-10 Sensex firms advanced by Rs 1,02,729 crore last week, with RIL and TCS stealing the show with maximum rise in valuation.

In the ranking of top-10 firms, TCS continued to retain its numero-uno position followed by RIL, ITC, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Infosys, CIL, Sun Pharma, SBI and HDFC.

01:25pm BHEL in News: Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has successfully commissioned another 600 MW thermal unit in Chhattisgarh. The unit was commissioned at Dainik Bhaskar Power (DBPL)'s upcoming 2x600 MW thermal power project located at Dhabra in Janjgir Champa district of Chhattisgarh, said BHEL in its filing. This was the second unit of this power project, commissioned by BHEL. The first 600 MW unit was successfully commissioned by the company in 2014.

BHEL's scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbines, generators and boilers, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides state-of-the-art controls &
lnstrumentation (C&l) and electrostatic precipitators (ESPs).

It has been a partner in the power development programme of the state of Chhaftisgarh. With a cumulative installed capacity of 11,40O MW, the share of BHEL stood at 68 percent of the total installed capacity in the state.

01:00pm Market Check
The market continued to maintain its uptrend with only Auto index in red. The Sensex is up 91.66 points or at 28971.04 and the Nifty is up 29.20 points at 8809.55. About 1644 shares have advanced, 936 shares declined, and 177 shares are unchanged.

GAIL is still down 3 percent while M&M, Hindalco, Dr Reddy's Labs and Tata Motors are among the laggards. BHEL, Bharti Airtel, L&T, Coal India and Tata Power are top gainers in the Sensex.

Realty stocks are seeing good buying interests after State Bank of India and Housing Development Finance Corporation cut home loan interest rates with effect from today. The country's largest lender has reduced interest rates on home loans for new borrowers by 25 basis points (bps) to 9.9 percent and for women borrowers, the revised rate would be at the base rate of 9.85 percent.

Crude Oil futures rose by 0.53 percent to Rs 3,237 per barrel as speculators created fresh positions amid a better trend in Asia.

The oil for delivery in May also moved up by Rs 14, or 0.42 per cent, to Rs 3,368 per barrel, with a business volume of 312 lots. Traders attributed the rise in crude oil futures to a better trend in Asia, extending last week's gains but the persistent global supply glut will likely cap advances.

Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude added 31 cents to USD 51.95 a barrel, while Brent was up 24 cents at USD 58.11 in late-morning trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

12:45pm Divestment Update: The government will fast track the approval process for divestment in select PSU bluechips, Disinvestment Secretary Aradhana Johri said.

The government has set a divestment target of Rs 69,500 crore for this fiscal in the Budget, and Johri felt this was achievable as every single stock on offer were bluechips.

She does not see another disinvestment in Coal India for at least the next six months.

Falling crude prices is one of the main reasons for the ONGC divestment getting delayed, she said.

Johri said the Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) exchange traded fund will be revamped so as to make it more investor friendly.

12:25pm Market Expert: Dipan Mehta, Member, BSE & NSE in an interview to CNBC-TV18 says if this trend in the midcap and smallcap rally continues then investors and traders would start to find value in the largecaps too.

He expects the market to witness lot of volatility around the earnings season and so would prefer to be in a wait and watch mode till the end of it. Earnings according to him would be a reality check for the market and in case the reported numbers do not meet expectations then stocks are likely to come under pressure.

According to him, the market is currently witnessing fresh liquidity flows from retail investors, high networth individuals (HNIs) and foreign inflows.

12:00pm Market Check
The market gained some strength amid consolidation in noon trade with capital goods, realty and consumer durables holding firm. The Sensex rose 137.06 points to 29016.44 and the Nifty climbed 39.90 points to 8820.25.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. About 1665 shares have advanced, 836 shares declined, and 179 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

BHEL, Bharti Airtel, ITC, Tata Power, HDFC and Tata Steel are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are GAIL, M&M, Hindalco, Dr Reddy's Labs and Tata Motors.

Crude prices remained flat on a big jump in US crude inventories and stoke concerns of a global supply glut.

Meanwhile, consumer price index (CPI) data for the month of March that will be released later today is estimated to possibly harden a little to 5.36 percent versus 5.37 percent. The CPI data could come anywhere between the range of 5.08 to 5.6 percent due to the impact of food inflation that could be seen this time. A group of economists believe that the food inflation might not be high this time because of the unseasonal rains as there isn’t much of an impact and secondly, it could be a lead impact. Hence, it could be more evident in the coming months as opposed to the month of March.

11:25am FII View: Marc Faber, editor and publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom, said emerging markets have become relatively inexpensive versus developed markets. Investors are now realizing how inexpensive these EMs are and hence more money is flowing in, he added.

He believes Asian markets will perform better than the US over the next 10 years. For the Reserve Bank, he said the central bank’s number one priority right now is currency stability.

According to him, India becoming the biggest economy in the next five years is an overly optimistic view. Though, even if India delivers 4-5 percent growth, it will be better than most countries, he adds.

Also, he does not see the US Fed increasing rates this year unless there is a sharp pick-up in the economy.

11:00am Market Check
The market remained rangebound with the Nifty hovering around 8780 level. Banks, technology and auto stocks saw selling pressure while capital goods, FMCG and select oil stocks gained.

The Sensex advanced 2.62 points to 28882 while the Nifty slipped 0.90 point to 8779.45 while the BSE Midcap index gained 0.6 percent and Smallcap jumped 1 percent. More than two shares advanced for every share declining on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Asian markets traded mixed but Chinese shares led gains to touch fresh seven-year highs following a strong close in the US markets. Crude prices remained flat on a big jump in US crude inventories and stoke concerns of a global supply glut.

GAIL India topped the selling liston Sensex, down 3 percent after Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to underperform with a target of Rs 320. The brokerage said there has been a 180 degree turn in the company's fortunes and even with the elimination of subsidy payments, GAIL's PAT can decline Y-o-Y in FY15-16.

Shares of Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Dr Reddy's Labs, NTPC and Hindalco declined 1-1.7 percent while HDFC, L&T, Sun Pharma, Reliance Industries, ITC, HUL, Bharti Airtel, BHEL, ONGC, Tata Steel and Tata Power gained 0.4-1.6 percent.

Loans are set to get cheaper as HDFC and SBI cut home loan rates over the weekend. HDFC reduced home loan rates by 20 basis points to 9.9 percent with effect from today while SBI cut rates for new loans by another 10 basis points to 9.9 percent.

Info Edge gaind 2.5 percent after Zomato raised USD 50 million from its existing investors. Info Edge pumped in Rs 155 crore crore to maintain its shareholding at 50.1 percent in Zomato. Bank of America Merrill Lynch said this fund raising should add Rs 10 to 88 per share to Info Edge sum of the parts.

In important fund action, Shriram EPC gained 13 percent as board approved conversion of funded interest term loan with the conversion of up to Rs 313 crore of CDR lenders into company's equity shares.

10:50am HCL Tech on brokerage radar: Brokerage firm UBS has retained its neutral rating on HCL Technologies, citing strong dollar revenue growth. It has raised its target price for the stock to Rs 1100 from Rs 875. Going ahead, UBS expects HCL to report 13 percent YoY (year-on-year) growth in dollar revenue in FY16. This in turn will make it the fastest growing large-cap India-listed IT company, it adds.

"Stronger than expected revenue growth reported in 2Q FY15 has assuaged growing concerns on tapering revenue growth. The company continues to operate well above its intended margin target of 21-22 percent," UBS said in a report.

With focus shifting to engineering services as the next growth driver, the stock is expected to see good support at current valuation, UBS added.

10:20am Crude Update: Oil prices inched up today following a strong session on Friday, as financial traders increased their bets on higher prices amid a slowdown in US drilling, but analysts warned fundamentals remained weak.

Front-month Brent crude futures were trading at USD 57.89 a barrel, up 2 cents since their last settlement, while US crude was up 14 cents at USD 51.78.

Many money investors are calling a bottom in oil prices, as speculators in US crude oil futures and options raised net long positions by some 52 million barrels in the week to April 7, data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. That was the biggest one-week rise in bullish bets since 2011, according to CFTC data.

Reuters data shows that open interest in WTI strike options for USD 60, USD 70, USD 80, USD 90 per barrel on Nymex has risen steadily since the beginning of the year, showing that many traders are betting on rising prices. Even options volumes for USD 100 a barrel have increased by almost 20 percent this year.

10:00am Market Check
The market remained in a consolidation mode ahead of January-March quarter earnings that will be kicked off with TCS and IndusInd Bank numbers on April 16. The Sensex rose 19.64 points to 28899.02 while the Nifty declined 1.25 points to 8779.10.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices continued to outperform benchmarks, up 0.7-1 percent. More than two shares advanced for every share declining on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The current rally in the market is on expectation of things improving in the second half of the year, says Krishna Kumar Karwa, MD, Emkay Global Financial Services. He, however, does not see much in terms of earnings in the fourth quarter. Sentiment and expectation are the reasons behind the robust FII and domestic flows seen in recent times, he adds.

Karwa believes it is possible to see the market take out new highs before the first half of FY15. But for it to sustain, it has to be supported by earnings growth, he cautions.

Shares of L&T, Sun Pharma, HUL, Bharti Airtel, Tata Steel and BHEL gained 1-1.5 percent while Tata Motors, Infosys, HDFC Bank, TCS, M&M and Dr Reddy's Labs fell 0.5-1 percent.

09:40am L&T in News: "L&T and AREVA have signed a MoU for cooperation to maximise localisation for the EPR nuclear power plant to be built at Jaitapur, Maharashtra. Areva's EPR nuclear reactor is a third generation advanced pressurised water reactor," said L&T in its filing. The MoU with Areva represents a major step forward for L&T in pressurised water reactor technology, it added.

"This partnership will add new dimensions to the capabilities of India's manufacturing sector in the nuclear business," said M V Kotwal, L&T's whole-time director and president - heavy engineering.

The MoU covers the prospect of partnership between L&T and Areva in manufacturing key nuclear island equipment, valves, piping, electrical, instrumentation and engineering work.

Through this partnership, Areva will also transfer technology to utilise the forging capabilities of L&T Special Steels and Heavy Forgings (a joint venture with Nuclear Power Corporation of India).

09:15am Market Check
The market opened higher on first day of truncated week but immediately gave up gains to trade flat. The Sensex rose 5.03 points to 28884.41 while the Nifty fell 6.95 points to 8773.40.

The broader markets continued to outperform benchmarks with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices rising 0.3-0.6 percent. About 704 shares have advanced, 253 shares declined, and 88 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

L&T, BHEL, HDFC, SBI, Cipla, Tata Steel and NMDC gained 0.5-1 percent while GAIL dropped 2 percent. Dr Reddy's Labs, M&M, HDFC Bank, Sesa Sterlite and Coal India declined 0.5-1 percent.

The Indian rupee opened flat at 62.33 per dollar today against Friday's closing value of 62.31 a dollar.

Agam Gupta of Standard Chartered said, "Expect local government-owned banks to buy USD in any dip to 62.10-62.15/dollar. We also expect the USD sellers to take advantage of any upticks to 62.45-62.50/dollar. The USD selling interest will come from exporters and capital inflows."

"The CPI data after market hours will be closely watched as it will be the first significant data point after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) monetary policy last week," he added.

In the US, stocks closed higher on Friday with the Dow topping 18,000 for the first time in April as investors looked ahead to start of earnings season.