Sensex slips 134 points, Nifty holds 8700; IT, FMCG drag

03:30pm Market Closing: The market continued to see selling pressure for the second consecutive session today. The Sensex fell 133.65 points to 28666.04 and the Nifty shed 43.50 points to 8706.70. About 1091 shares have advanced, 1711 shares declined, and 170 shares are unchanged on the BSE. 

Hero Motocorp, Sun Pharma, Cipla, Larsen & Toubro, Dr Reddy's Labs, ACC, UltraTech Cement, Ambuja Cements and PNB were top losers, down 2-4 percent while ONGC, M&M, Bharti Airtel, NTPC, Hindalco, Cairn India and Idea Cellular bucked the trend, up 1-4 percent.

03:15pm TCS Earnings Poll: All eyes will be on IT bellwether TCS when it reports quarterly earnings declaration today evening, in which investors will be keen to ascertain whether a stumble on revenue growth in the past two quarters was an aberration or a sign the firm’s high growth pace may be secularly slowing down due to size.

By being the first major company to report fourth-quarter numbers, TCS will for the first time also don the mantle of being the company that “unofficially kick-starts” the earnings season. For many years now till the last quarter, this job was done by Infosys, the company TCS has raced past by on revenues, valuation and brand metrics in the past few years (the former has said it would announce results on April 24).

For TCS, analysts will be keenly eyeing whether the company will be able to even meet the now-muted expectations on revenue growth and how much of a hit margins take due to forex movements and seasonality impact.

A CNBC-TV18 poll of analysts has forecast the firm’s dollar revenue to grow 0.2 percent to USD 3940 million versus USD 3931 million in the previous quarter, while rupee revenue is seen declining 0.1 percent, from Rs 24,501 crore to Rs 24,456 crore.

Operating profit (earnings before interest and taxes) is seen falling 1.2 percent to Rs 6,540 crore while net profit may fall 0.6 percent to Rs 5,410 crore. The fall in profit may result in TCS’s EBIT margin coming off from 27.04 percent to 26.74 percent.

03:00pm Market Update: The market pared its losses led by banking & financials and oil stocks. The Sensex fell 98.77 points to 28700.92 and the Nifty declined 39.40 points to 8710.80.

About 1017 shares have advanced, 1726 shares declined, and 160 shares are unchanged on the BSE. 

02:45pm MMTC divestment: The government is planning to sell 15 percent stake in state-run trading firm MMTC in the current fiscal which would fetch about Rs 800 crore to the exchequer. "The government plans to divest 15 percent stake in the company. We are ready for it," MMTC Chairman Ved Prakash told reporters.

At the current market price of Rs 52.80 apiece, sale of about 15 crore shares would garner around Rs 800 crore for the exchequer.

The government currently holds 89.93 percent stake in the state-run trading giant and the stake sale would help the company meet Sebi's minimum public shareholding norm. Market regulator Sebi has made it mandatory to have a minimum public holding of 25 percent in all PSUs.

The stake sale proceeds would help the government inch towards the disinvestment target of Rs 41,000 crore fixed for the current fiscal. So far, it has already raised Rs 1,550 crore through 5 percent stake dilution in REC. The government had last sold 9.33 percent stake in MMTC in June 2013 through which it had raised about Rs 570 crore.

02:25pm Earnings: IndusInd Bank matched street expectations on Thursday with the fourth quarter (January-March) net profit rising 25.1 percent year-on-year to Rs 495.3 crore. Asset quality of the bank improved too, during the quarter.

Net interest income was slightly lower than expectations at Rs 925.14 crore in quarter ended March 2015, up 18.4 percent compared to Rs 781.2 crore in the year-ago period. Net interest income is the difference between interest earned and interest expended. According to CNBC-TV18 poll, NII was expected at Rs 941.5 crore for the quarter.

The profit was boosted by strong other income and lower provisions. Other income (non-interest income) jumped 26 percent year-on-year to Rs 658.48 crore crore while operating expenses climbed 25.3 percent to Rs 733.11 crore during January-March quarter. Other income was largely driven by fee income that jumped 29 percent.

Provisions for bad loans dropped 10.9 percent on yearly basis (up 9.6 percent sequentially) to Rs 107.44 crore in the fourth quarter of financial year 2014-15.

The bank reported good improvement in its asset quality performance as gross non-performing assets (NPA) declined to 0.81 percent in March quarter from 1.05 percent in previous quarter and 1.12 percent in the year-ago quarter. Net NPA stood at 0.31 percent during the quarter against 0.32 percent Q-o-Q and 0.33 percent Y-o-Y.

02:00pm Market Check:
The market is completely in bear grip as capital goods and technology stocks shed heavily. The Sensex is down 168.45 points or 0.6 percent at 28631.24 and the Nifty is down 60.60 points or 0.7 percent at 8689.60.About 890 shares have advanced, 1766 shares declined, and 144 shares are unchanged.

Buoyed up by global oil prices hitting 2015 high, Oil & Gas index is in green, up 0.5 percent while rest of the indices are under selling pressure. ONGC, Bharti Airtel, M&M, SBI and HDFC are top gainers in the Sensex. On the losing side are Hero MotoCorp, Sun Pharma, Sesa Sterlite, Cipla and Wipro.

Unilever reported better-than-expected sales for the first quarter on Thursday, showing improvement from the hammering it took last year from weak emerging markets including a slowdown in China. Unilever's full-year sales growth would probably come in at the upper end of its prior stated goal of 2 to 4 percent.

In the first quarter, underlying sales rose 2.8 percent, excluding the impact of currency moves, acquisitions and disposals. The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap, Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream cited an improvement in China and an earlier Easter.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has the potential to grow at nine to ten per cent growth rate, "a new normal" and asserted that high growth was essential to meet the challenges posed by the country's burgeoning young population.

Speaking at the day-long conference 'Deepening the US-India Commercial Partnership: The First Year of the Modi Government', Jaitley said in his keynote address that "India's own normal in terms of its growth rate has to target anything close to a double digit. India growing at five per cent, six per cent or even seven per cent is not an India that is going to face up this challenge (of large young population)."

01:45pm Rate cut likely in June?: Samiran Chakraborty, Head of Research, Standard Chartered Bank believes the WPI and CPI numbers alone won't charm the Reserve Bank to induce rate cuts in its June policy. But if conditions laid down by it show progress sans any untoward incidents and inflation stays in line with expectations, then there is quite a possibility that "in June we will see another 25 basis point of rate cut." He says the apex bank acts on the preconditions set by it in terms of certain domestic, global and weather factors.

He adds that if world stays calm post Fed hike, then yet another rate cut post June won't be impossible.

WPI based inflation fell to a record low of (-) 2.33 percent in March on account of cheaper food and fuel products as well as manufactured items. It was 6 percent in March 2014.

01:30pm BHEL in News: State-run power equipment maker BHEL today said it has fully commissioned 2,400 MW OP Jindal thermal power project in Chhattisgarh.

"The unit has been commissioned at Jindal Power's (JPL) OP Jindal 4X600 thermal power plant located at Tamnar in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh," BHEL said in a statement.

The previous three units were commissioned by BHEL in the last three months.

The scope of work in the contract includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection, testing and commissioning of steam turbines, generators and boilers, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides controls & instrumentation and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs).

01:00pm Market Check
Selling pressure mounts on the market with the Sensex seeing a sharp slide. The 30-share index is down 239.57 points or 0.8 percent at 28560.12 and the Nifty is down 86.35 points or 0.9 percent at 8663.85. About 864 shares have advanced, 1702 shares declined, and 150 shares are unchanged.

Hero MotoCorp slips 4 percent as the US company Erik Buell Racing in which it had invested USD 25 million, will cease its operations. The auto major had invested in Erik Buell Racing, a Delaware corporation, through a wholly owned subsidiary in Delaware, by the name of HMCL. EBR has a wholly owned subsidiary, Erik Buell Racing, a limited liability company organised in Wisconsin.

Sesa Sterlite, Infosys, Cipla and L&T are major losers. On the gaining side are ONGC, Bharti Airtel, Hindalco, M&M and GAIL.

Fear of a weak March quarter earnings seem to have worried investors. Rajat Rajgarhia, MD-Institutional Equities, Motilal Oswal Securities expects disappointing fourth quarter numbers to bring down full year earnings growth for FY15 around 4-5 percent from the earlier expectations of 14-15 percent. According to him, in the last six months there have been headwinds coming in from almost all quarters - with collapse in commodities, cross currency pains, lack of pick up in investment cycle, slowdown in rural consumption etc, so capital goods and cement companies are expected to report a decline in earnings. So the earnings growth for Q4 would be zero, while December was a negative number.

12:45pm Market Update: The market extended losses in afternoon trade, dragged by technology, banks, pharma, FMCG and capital goods stocks. The Sensex lost 250.74 points to 28548.95 and the Nifty dropped 88.15 points to 8662.05. About 873 shares have advanced, 1663 shares declined, and 148 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

12:30pm Earnings growth: Rajat Rajgarhia, MD-Institutional Equities, Motilal Oswal Securities expects disappointing fourth quarter numbers to bring down full year earnings growth for FY15 around 4-5% from the earlier expectations of 14-15 percent.

According to him, in the last six months there have been headwinds coming in from almost all quarters - with collapse in commodities, cross currency pains, lack of pick up in investment cycle, slowdown in rural consumption etc, so capital goods and cement companies are expected to report a decline in earnings. So the earnings growth for Q4 would be zero, while December was a negative number.

However, for FY16 some of these headwinds could stabilise and the base would turn favourable. Growth could be around 14-15% for FY16 but would back ended than front ended, says Rajgarhia.

Going forward, he expects September quarter to report better numbers.

12:00pm Market Check
The market continues to slide with all eyes on TCS March quarter earnings expected to be announced in the evening. The Sensex is down 100.28 points at 28699.41, and the Nifty is down 45.35 points at 8704.85. About 911 shares have advanced, 1516 shares declined, and 142 shares are unchanged.

IT majors Wipro, Infosys and TCS are among laggards losing 1-2 percent each. Sesa Sterlite and Dr Reddy's Labs are other losers in the Sensex.

ONGC is up 3 percent as oil prices touched 2015 highs. Oil prices jumped 5 percent overnight with Nymex rising to USD 56.4 per barrel. Other gainers include Hindalco, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel and Tata Steel.

Sugar stocks are buzzing on buyers' radar hoping for a hike in import duty. Shares of stocks like Bajaj Hindusthan, Balrampur Chini, Mawana Sugars, Sakthi Sugars and Shree Renuka jumped 1-5 percent intraday on Thursday as Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said he would write to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposing a hike in import duty.

The Food Ministry is planning to recommend a hike in import duty on sugar to 40 percent from the current 25 percent to check the sliding price of the sweetener and enable mills to clear mounting cane arrears that has reached almost Rs 20000 crore so far.

In August last year, import duty on both raw and refined sugar was raised to 25 percent from 15 percent to bail out the cash-starved sugar industry.

11:50am US CEOs pay hikes: The median pay of top 100 CEOs in America has risen by 5 percent to USD 14.3 million in 2014, a study has found. Besides this, the base salary ranged from USD 7.1 million for Rupert Murdoch at 21st Century Fox to nil for Richard Fairbank at Capital One, said Equilar 100 CEO Pay Study. The study, which is an analysis of CEO salaries at the 100 largest public US companies as measured by revenue, puts Microsoft's Indian-origin chief Satya Nadella on the top with a pay package of USD 84.3 million (Rs 525 crore) a year.

The list was topped by Oracle's Larry Ellison last year, who has been now pushed by Nadella to the second spot. Microsoft, however, said that Nadella's pay for 2014 totals to USD 22.75 million only after taking into account the annualised value of special and one time equity awards.

11:30am Coal India Production: Eastern Coalfields has topped among the eight subsidiaries of Coal India in terms of production and offtake targets for the year 2014-15.

According to provisional data released by Coal India, Eastern Coalfields (ECL) has achieved a production of 40 million tonnes (MT) or 105 percent of the target of 38 MT set for the fiscal 2015, registering a growth of 11 percent over the previous year.

Two more subsidiaries, Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) and Central Coalfields (CCl), had surpassed their respective production targets for the year.

Production at BCCL was at 34.51 MT or 102 percent of the target, while CCL touched 101 per cent of its targeted production to 55.64 MT. Rest of the subsidiaries failed to meet the target and remained short by 2 to 6 percent except North Eastern Coalfields, which had less than 1 MT production.

The cumulative Coal India production for FY15 was 494.23 MT, a growth of 6.9 percent over the last year, but 97 per cent of its target of 507 MT.

11:00am Market Check
The market has taken a steep fall ahead of March quarter earnings. The Sensex is down 125.68 points at 28674.01 and the Nifty is down 48.05 points at 8702.15.About 817 shares have advanced, 1405 shares declined, and 132 shares are unchanged.

ONGC, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors, Hindalco and M&M are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Wipro, Cipla, Infosys, Sesa Sterlite and TCS.

The rupee edged higher by one paisa at 62.35 against the dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange after the American currency weakened overseas amid a higher opening in the domestic equity market.

Forex dealers said besides selling of the American currency by exporters and banks, weakness in the dollar against other currencies on worse-than-expected US industrial production data, supported the rupee. The US dollar lurched lower against the euro and yen after dropping the previous day on weak US industrial output and New York state manufacturing activity data. The soft indicators fed uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve's interest rate hike.

Most Asian share markets took cues from a global surge in equities, while weak US economic data sent the dollar lower.

10:45am HCC in Focus: HCC Concessions, the infrastructure development arm of the HCC Group, today announced the sale of its stake in Dhule Palesner Tollway to the Sadbhav Group, HCC’s JV partner in the project, for Rs 204 crore. HCC Concessions is also expected to realise an estimated amount of Rs 24 crore from additional claims to be made to the NHAI, towards this project. The deal is subject to receipt of necessary clearances and is expected to close shortly. 10:30am Market Update; The Sensex fell 131.97 points to 28667.72 and the Nifty dropped below 8700, down 51.40 points to 8698.80.

The broader markets also declined. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices fell over half a percent. About 802 shares have advanced, 1302 shares declined, and 127 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

10:20am Goldman on OMCs: With clarity emerging on FY16 subsidy sharing, Goldman Sachs is upbeat on oil marketing companies (OMCs). The finance ministry on Wednesday communicated to the oil ministry that it will fully compensate oil marketing companies for Q4 under-recoveries of FY15.

The finance ministry has agreed to pay Rs 5300 crore for under-recoveries of OMCs, exempting upstream oil companies from sharing the burden.

Goldman Sachs expects another Rs 2,700 crore to come from the government towards direct transfer of LPG subsidy, taking the OMCs' total receipts to Rs 8,000 crore.

According to a CNBC-TV18 report on Wednesday, the government will be paying the entire FY16 LPG subsidy through direct transfer, and upstream oil companies will be exempt from the same. But upstream PSU oil companies will have to share the entire under-recovery associated with kerosene.

This scenario is in line with Goldman Sach's estimates for upstream companies, improving the cashflow visibility for OMCs as it forecasts no subsidy payment in Q4 for OIL/ONGC and the FY16 realization is further based in line with its estimate of USD 50/bbl. "We believe the above scenario would be modestly positive for OMCs as direct transfer of cash by the government would further reduce working capital requirements for OMCs, thus improving earnings and cashflow visibility. Currently OMCs are transferring cash to customer accounts, for which they are reimbursed by the government," the report adds.

10:00am Market Check:
The market looks sluggish just as March quarter corporate earnings kick start in full steam from today. The Sensex is down 18.47 points at 28781.22 and the Nifty is down 16.70 points at 8733.50. About 913 shares have advanced, 910 shares declined, and 114 shares are unchanged.

ONGC, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors, Hindalco and Tata Steel are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Sesa Sterlite, Cipla, Dr Reddy's Labs, L&T and HUL.

TCS is down over 1 percent ahead of its Q4FY15 results expected to be announced in the evening. For TCS, analysts will be keenly eyeing whether the company will be able to even meet the now-muted expectations on revenue growth and how much of a hit margins take due to forex movements and seasonality impact.

A CNBC-TV18 poll of analysts has forecast the firm’s dollar revenue to grow 0.2 percent to USD 3940 million versus USD 3931 million in the previous quarter, while rupee revenue is seen declining 0.1 percent, from Rs 24,501 crore to Rs 24,456 crore.

US crude futures dropped below USD 56 on disappointing US economic data and renewed concerns about global oversupply. Oil prices jumped steeply on Wednesday after US inventories built up more slowly than expected and talks between major oil producers this week triggered speculation of production cuts, although most analysts said these were currently unlikely.

Despite the dip, crude prices have risen around 15 percent since the beginning of April and are back to levels reached in February, which marked the 2015 highs.

09:50am Gammon India in News: Gammon India announced bagging two projects in environment & transportation sector worth around Rs 840 crore. Out of the total, one order is worth Rs 516.73 crore while the other one is for Rs 323.92 crore. The 516.73 crore-contract include construction of diaphragm wall, jetty, piles, interlocking roads, guide walls and MS railing, it said. 

"The Scope of Work includes 4 laning of NH-37A from km. 0.00 (Kaliabor Tiniali Road Junction) to km. 17.300 (Dolabari Road Junction) including Construction of New Brahmaputra Bridge on EPC Basis in the State of Assam under Phase A of SARDP-NE," Gammon India said in a statement to the BSE. 

09:35am Term Deposits: RBI has allowed banks to offer differential interest rates on term deposits. "Banks must have a board approved policy w.r.t. interest rates on deposits," said RBI.

The central bank added that banks must disclose schedule of rates payable on term deposits in advance and can use differential interest rates linked to withdrawal facility.

"Term deposits of Rs 15 lakh and below must have premature withdrawal facility while for deposits above Rs 15 lakh, banks may or may not offer premature withdrawal," said RBI.

09:15am Market Check
The market has opened flat on Thursday as the Sensex rose 3.89 points to 28803.58 while the Nifty fell 3.10 points to 8747.10. About 548 shares have advanced, 240 shares declined, and 86 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

ONGC, Tata Motors, Sun Pharma, Infosys, Bharti Airtel, Cairn India and IndusInd Bank topped the buying list, up 0.6-2 percent while HUL, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hero Motocorp, TCS, Larsen & Toubro, Lupin, Asian Paints and BPCL fell 0.6-1 percent.

The Indian rupee has opened flat at 62.35 per dollar today against previous day's closing value of 62.37 a dollar.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, "Weaker than expected US Industrial Production data has toned down the expectation of a Fed rate hike in June resulting in reversal of the dollar rally. Dollar against major currencies is consolidating in a range due to mixed US data."

"Rupee has been in a tight range since April beginning and likely to remain so for some time. The USD-INR is expected to trade today in a range of 62.15-62.45/dollar," he added.

The US dollar traded lower across the board after Federal Reserve officials painted a mostly uninspiring picture in their latest economic assessment, calling growth overall "slight" or "moderate" across most of the country.

Globally cues were positive as the US markets gained following a rally in oil with the Nasdaq outperforming to close above the psychologically key 5,000 level. Asian trade too was positive in the morning trade. In commodities, Brent Crude prices rose above USD 62 dollars per barrel.