Sensex ends 224 points down; banks, IT, pharma drag; metals up

03:30pm Market Closing: The market closed lower for the third consecutive session on Friday due to selling pressure in technology, banks, healthcare and auto stocks. The Sensex fell 223.94 points to 28442.10 and the Nifty lost 100.70 points to 8606.

About 1184 shares have advanced, 1636 shares declined, and 178 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

TCS, Sun Pharma, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel and Wipro topped the selling list on Sensex, down 3-5 percent while Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel, NTPC, Hindalco and BHEL gained 1-3 percent.

03:20pm Interview: Mindtree sees bigger growth opportunities in digital, and is investing in it, Krishnakumar Natrajan, MD & CEO, said in an interaction with CNBC-TV18. The company plans to acquire businesses in this space, he said.

Mindtree's fourth quarter net profit declined 8.4 percent sequentially due to forex loss. Dollar revenues were flat.

Natrajan said growth outlook for FY16 remained strong, and the effect would show in the second half earnings. However, margins could be lower compared to last year, he cautioned.

Parthasarathy NS, President, Chief Operating Officer, said efforts were being taken to arrest attrition and that he was confident of results.

03:00pm Market Update: The market extended losses in last hour of trade. The Sensex is down 208.77 points at 28457.27 and the Nifty down 89.90 points at 8616.80. About 1165 shares have advanced, 1559 shares declined, and 195 shares are unchanged on the BSE.
 
Shares of TCS and Sun Pharma tanked more than 4 percent followed by Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel and Wipro with 2-3 percent loss. HDFC Bank, Infosys, Tata Motors and ICICI Bank slipped 0.6-1 percent.

However, metals stocks continued to shine with the Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite and Hindalco Industries rising 2-3 percent.

02:50pm CRISIL Earnings: Rating agency CRISIL's first quarter consolidated net profit declined 20.4 percent sequentially to Rs 56.3 crore, impacted by lower revenue and weak operational performance.

Net sales during the quarter fell 5.8 percent to Rs 307.2 crore from Rs 326.3 crore in previous quarter. "Rating revenues were mainly impacted by reduced budgetary support from Government of India for the NSIC-Performance & Credit Rating Scheme for small and medium enterprises," said the company.

CRISIL expects the ratings business to benefit from improvement in the investment climate, pick up in credit growth and decline in interest rates over the coming months.

Consolidated operating profit (EBITDA) slipped 15.8 percent quarter-on-quarter to Rs 86 crore and margin declined 330 basis points to 28 percent in the quarter gone by.

02:30pm Investments in India: Flagging off "developing challenges" from the ground, global rating agency Standard and Poor's today said a policy logjam and "red tape" have hindered investments in India.

The rating agency, which conducted a "big data" study of three major emerging Asia economies "from the ground up", said that India has a different scenario where corporate earnings have plateaued but debt has continued to rise and investments have slumped. "We believe policy gridlock and administrative red tape have hindered investment.

The challenge now is to unlock the earnings potential of existing assets," S&P said. The comments come within a week of S&P cautioning that fiscal weakness continue to make India's sovereign credit profile vulnerable. S&P has lowest grade investment rating BBB-, just a notch above the junk grade, on India with a stable outlook.

However, another major rating agency Moody's last week upgraded its outlook on the sovereign to positive from stable and said there was a possibility of a rating upgrade from BBB- in 12-18 months.

02:00pm Market Check
The market refuses to budge ahead. The Sensex is down 127.80 points at 28538.24 and the Nifty is down 68.55 points at 8638.15. About 1256 shares have advanced, 1432 shares declined, and 175 shares are unchanged.

Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Hindalco, BHEL and NTPC are top gainers while TCS, Sun Pharma, Axis Bank, Wipro and Bharti Airtel are among laggards in the Sensex.

Gold firmed near USD 1,200 an ounce but the metal was headed for its second straight weekly drop, weighed down by uncertainty over the timing of an interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve.

Expectations that the US central bank would start raising rates in June have been reassessed after recent sluggishness in US economic data and many are now betting that policy will not be tightened until September

Strong data could still prompt the US central bank to raise rates sooner, which would dent demand for bullion, and the uncertainty has led to caution in bullion markets.

01:45pm Crude falls: Brent crude oil prices fell today, ending a run of rallies earlier in the week, after OPEC said that its output surged in March, adding to a global glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.79 million bpd, which is equivalent to a third of global supply.

"It seems Saudi Arabia has not had enough of low oil prices," Singapore-based Phillip Futures said.

01:20pm Gold Update: Gold firmed near USD 1,200 an ounce today but the metal was headed for its second straight weekly drop, weighed down by uncertainty over the timing of an interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve.

Spot gold edged up to USD 1,200.80 an ounce by 0701 GMT after dropping 0.3 percent on Thursday. The metal has lost 0.6 percent this week.

Expectations that the US central bank would start raising rates in June have been reassessed after recent sluggishness in US economic data and many are now betting that policy will not be tightened until September

Strong data could still prompt the US central bank to raise rates sooner, which would dent demand for bullion, and the uncertainty has led to caution in bullion markets.

However, gold failed to benefit from weak data on Thursday on US housing starts and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region, nor from a resulting drop in the dollar.

01:00pm Market Check
The market is still under pressure with the Nifty struggling below 8650. The 50-share index is down 59.60 points or 0.7 percent at 8647.10. The Sensex is down 97.10 points at 28568.94. About 1234 shares have advanced, 1374 shares declined, and 177 shares are unchanged.

Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel, Hindalco, BHEL and NTPC are major gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are TCS, Sun Pharma, Wipro, Bharti Airtel and GAIL.

IT stocks are dragging the market while  Gautam Chhaochharia, Head of India Research, UBS says more negative surprises could be in store in the sector.

The brokerage has lowered its December 2015 target for Nifty to 9200 from 9600 and Chhaochharia said the reality of slow recovery was now being acknowledged by the market. UBS has cut earnings estimates for Nifty companies in FY16 by 6-7 percentage points over the last six months, and now expects a 10 percent earnings growth this year and 18 percent growth next year. He said the rural slowdown was worse than expected and urban consumption also could disappointment.

12:30pm Economic Growth: The Indian economy is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.1 percent through 2019, but reform measures announced by the government are "no more than incremental improvements", the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has said.

EIU, which is the research-arm of the London-based publication, The Economist, credited strengthening of the economy to lower oil prices, saying this has eased structural problems associated with high inflation.

"In its first full Budget the government pledged more money for much-needed roads and railways and cut some red tape for entrepreneurs.

It relaxed slightly some fiscal deficit targets and increased spending on welfare. All of these moves are positive, but are no more than incremental improvements. Owing to a new government methodology for calculating GDP, we now expect growth of 7.1 percent a year in 2015-19, a full percent age point higher than earlier," the EIU global forecast report said.

The country recently switched to a newer system of GDP growth computation, which made it the fastest growing major economy in the world. Analysts still take the numbers with caution owing to absence of comparable back data.

12:00pm Market Check
The Sensex is down 95.98 points at 28570.06 and the Nifty is down 54.15 points at 8652.55. About 1190 shares have advanced, 1231 shares declined, and 164 shares are unchanged.

Tata Steel is up over 3 percent on sales volume and key production data. It has registered its best ever performance in FY15 in hot metal, crude steel, and saleable steel production. Sesa Sterlite. Hindalco, NTPC and BHEL are top gainers while TCS, Sun Pharma, Wipro, Bharti Airtel and GAIL are among laggards in the Sensex.

Meanwhile, global rating agency Standard and Poor's today said a policy logjam and "red tape" have hindered investments in India.

The rating agency, which conducted a "big data" study of three major emerging Asia economies "from the ground up", said that India has a different scenario where corporate earnings have plateaued but debt has continued to rise and investments have slumped. "We believe policy gridlock and administrative red tape have hindered investment.

11:30am Oil Update: Oil prices fell in Asia today as investors locked in profits following a six-day rally, with a rise in OPEC's output in March also adding to downward pressure, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery dipped 43 cents to USD 56.28 and Brent crude for June eased 48 cents to USD 63.50 in late-morning trade.

"After a sustained increase in both the WTI and Brent over the past week, traders are selling... and this has led to the downward pressure in prices we see today," said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Prices rose for the sixth day running yesterday -- with WTI hitting its highest level since December -- on news that US shale output, which has contributed to a global supply glut, may be on the cusp of easing.

But Ang said the oversupply was unlikely to end soon due to strong production levels by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

11:00am Market Check
The market seems to be in a sluggish mode ahead of weekend. The Sensex is down 60.13 points at 28605.91, and the Nifty is down 42.75 points at 8663.95. About 1113 shares have advanced, 1159 shares declined, and 154 shares are unchanged.

Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Hindalco, ONGC and Reliance are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are TCS, Sun Pharma, Bharti Airtel, Wipro and Bajaj Auto.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that having initiated a series of administration and legislative reforms, India is on its way to have a modern and friendly tax system.

"Such a modern tax system, which is friendly to the people and businesses, would be a key to realizing the goal of a double digit growth," Jaitley said.

10:30am FII View: More negative surprises could be in store in the IT sector, says Gautam Chhaochharia, Head of India Research, UBS.

On Thursday, IT bellwether TCS announced its fourth quarter earnings, which was short of market expectations.

UBS is underweight on the IT sector, Chhaochharia said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

The brokerage has lowered its December 2015 target for Nifty to 9200 from 9600 and Chhaochharia said the reality of slow recovery was now being acknowledged by the market.

UBS has cut earnings estimates for Nifty companies in FY16 by 6-7 percentage points over the last six months, and now expects a 10 percent earnings growth this year and 18 percent growth next year.

He said the rural slowdown was worse than expected and urban consumption also could disappointment.

Chhaochharia expects the economic recovery to gather steam only next year.

10:00am Market Check
The market is under selling pressure as corporate earnings for March quarter is underway. The Sensex is down 85.03 points at 28581.01 and the Nifty is down 49.00 points at 8657.70. About 787 shares have advanced, 1017 shares declined, and 135 shares are unchanged.

IT stocks are in deep red dragged by disappointing March quarter results by TCS. The stock is down 4 percent while Wipro slips 2 percent. Other losers are Bajaj Auto, Axis Bank and Hero Moto. Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel, Hindalco, Reliance and HUL are among major gainers in the Sensex.

Brent crude oil prices fell over a dollar, ending a run of rallies earlier in the week, after OPEC said that its output surged in March, adding to a global glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd), to 30.79 bpd which is equivalent to a third of global supply. Market analysts say that volume precedes price, implying that soaring open interest indicates a rally as more traders open up new long positions in anticipation of rising prices.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped slightly after earlier touching its highest level since January 2008, but was still on track for a weekly gain over 1 percent. An index of Asian shares edged away from fresh seven-year highs on Friday but was still on track to score weekly gains, while the dollar languished after lacklustre US economic data made a near-term interest rate hike appear less likely.

09:58am Market Update: The Sensex is down 75.50 points at 28590.54 and the Nifty down 46.10 points at 8660.60. About 808 shares have advanced, 1026 shares declined, and 134 shares are unchanged.

09:40am Reliance Q4 Expectations: Petrochemical major Reliance Industries is set to deliver its best ever quarterly earnings on Friday. Its fourth quarter standalone net profit is expected to be at Rs 6,000 crore, a growth of 18 percent compared to Rs 5,085 crore in third quarter of financial year 2014-15, according to the average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18.

Gross refining margin (GRM) of the company is set to surge to 2-year high of USD 9.9 a barrel against USD 7.3 a barrel in previous quarter.

The improvement in GRM may be on account of improved crack spreads in key products and also due to the absence of significant inventory losses. Crack spreads were buoyed by a 30 percent reduction in crude prices and planned/unplanned refinery outages.

09:15am Market Check
The market fell marginally in early trade on last day of the week due to selling pressure in banks and technology stocks. The Sensex fell 30.53 points to 28635.51 and the Nifty lost 27.25 points to 8679.45.

About 396 shares have advanced, 276 shares declined, and 91 shares are unchanged on the BSE.

IT major TCS plunged 1.7 percent as the company did not post any stellar earnings. The company missed expectations with dollar revenues declining by about a percent. The company handed out bonuses to employees worth over USD 2,600 crore.

Mindtree too fell 2 percent after its fourth quarter consolidated net profit declined 8.4 percent sequentially to Rs 129 crore that fell short of expectations on Thursday, impacted by forex loss.

Wipro, Bajaj Auto, Axis Bank, Hero Motocorp, Tech Mahindra, Lupin and UltraTech Cement were down 0.8-2 percent while Reliance Industries gained 1.5 percent ahead of Q4 earnings. Sun Pharma, ONGC, Hindalco, Cipla and Cairn India gained 0.6-1 percent.

The Indian rupee has opened flat at 62.31 per dollar today against previous day's closing value of 62.30 a dollar.

Dollar tumbled after comments from Federal Reserve officials and weak US data pushed out expectations for the first fed rate hike.

Pramit Brahmbhatt of Veracity said, "Any upside movement in the dollar will keep rupee under pressure. Concerns raised over global slowdown may force local equities to open weak as Asian markets have already opened on a weak note. Rupee range for the day is seen between 61.80-62.80/dollar."

Global cues, meanwhile, were flat with Wall Street investors focusing on earnings. European markets closed lower with investor sentiment curbed by a mixed bag of earnings reports and the further deterioration of Greece's economic outlook.

Asian trade too was weak in morning with Japan's Nikkei at a 1-week low.

Crude prices, meanwhile, were at 2015 highs following Yemen conflict. Brent crude rose above USD 63 per barrel.

Precious metal gold prices traded around USD 1200 an ounce  amid softer dollar and weak data on US industrial production.