Sensex, Nifty end marginally higher; Coal India, BHEL down

3:30 pm Market Closing: The market closed marginally higher. The Sensex rose 45.35 points or 0.17 percent to 26079.48 and the Nifty went up 3.80 points to 7928.95.

Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, Hero Motocorp and GAIL were leading gainers, up 1-2 percent while Coal India and BHEL fell more than 1 percent.

3:05 pm Kotak on realty sector: New project launches in the real estate sector have slowed down due to weak sales, but top tier developers like Oberoi, Godrej and Lodha sell relatively better backed by their strong track record, says Samar Sarda, Senior Analyst, Kotak Securities.

''Sales on under-construction projects have been weak and therefore new launches are very slow'', Sarda says, adding that he does not expect any major pick-up in sales in 2016, particularly in some of the North Indian markets like Gurgaon.

However, some of the other markets like Mumbai and Pune have seen signs of improvement because there has been not much price increase for nearly 2 years.

2:45 pm PM on financial inclusion: Underlining that financial inclusion is the government's core focus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said banks have given loans worth Rs 50,000 crore to small entrepreneurs under the MUDRA Yojana.

Addressing dalit entrepreneurs here, he said: "80,000 borrowers have benefited from the scheme under which more than Rs 50,000 crore worth of loans have been given primarily to SC, ST, OBCs and women entrepreneurs who are engaged in small business and provide jobs to about 14 crore persons."

Speaking at the National Conference of SC/ST Entrepreneurs on B R Ambedkar's ideas and thoughts on industrialisation and entrepreneurship, Modi said it was quite difficult earlier for SC/ST entrepreneurs to get loans from banks.

Under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs as an initiative to fund the unfunded.

2:25 pm BHEL commissions plant: Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has commissioned a 660 MW unit of Prayagraj Super Thermal Power Project at Bara in Uttar Pradesh.

"The unit has been commissioned at the upcoming 3x660 MW Prayagraj Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) at Bara in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh", BHEL said in statement today.

According to the statement, this is the first supercritical thermal unit in the state to achieve capacity addition on attaining full load.

The greenfield thermal power project is owned by Prayagraj Power Generation Company Limited (PPGCL), a subsidiary company of Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited.

2:00 pm Market Check
The market continued to be lacklustre despite positive global cues. The Sensex gained 53.53 points at 26087.66 and the Nifty rose 8.35 points to 7933.50.

The BSE Midcap remained outperformance in afternoon trade, gaining half a percent. SREI Infrastructure topped buying list on Midcap index, up 17 percent after BNP Paribas finalised to pick up 5 percent stake in company.

Among other midcaps, ABG Shipyard, MMTC, CARE and J&K Bank surged 7-9 percent while Pipavav Defence, Tube Investment, Gujarat Pipavav, KSK Energy Ventures and ICRA lost 4-7 percent.

European markets like France's CAC and Germany's DAX rallied 1.3 percent each, taking positive lead from Asian peers. Britain's FTSE was up 0.33 percent.

1:45 pm Europe opens: European equities opened higher today as sentiment got a boost from a mostly positive performance in Asian markets. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index opened 0.2 percent higher.

Asia's markets offered a positive lead, with equities in Japanese and South Korean markets erasing morning losses despite a negative lead from Wall Street. Those markets had started off on the back foot, with analysts pointing to the overnight selloff in oil and yesterday afternoon's drop in Chinese markets as weighing on sentiment Tuesday.

Oil prices remain in focus for markets. In Asian trade, US crude futures for February delivery were nearly flat at USD 36.83 a barrel, following a 3.4 percent decline overnight. The internationally traded Brent futures hovered near a 11-year low at USD 36.67 a barrel.

1:30 pm CCI nod to ICICI deal: The Competition Commission has cleared Prem Watsa run Fairfax Financial Holdings' proposed acquisition of additional nine percent stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company for an estimated Rs 1,550 crore.

Following the transaction, Fairfax will hold 35 percent in ICICI Lombard, while ICICI Bank will have about 64 percent stake.

In a tweet today, Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it has approved "acquisition of additional 9 percent shares in ICICI Lombard General Insurance by FAL Corporation."

Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada, in October, announced that it has agreed with its joint venture partner ICICI Bank to acquire an additional nine per stake in ICICI Lombard.

1:00 pm Market Check
The market slipped marginally in red with the Sensex falling below 26000-mark due to profit booking in FMCG, capital goods and technology stocks.

The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 37.14 points to 25996.99 and the 50-share NSE Nifty declined 19.50 points to 7905.65 while the BSE Midcap gained 0.3 percent.

The market breadth also turned negative as about 1448 shares declined against 1028 shares advancing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Gold edged up today, recovering from overnight losses, on a softer dollar but a relentless slide in oil prices limited demand for the metal, often seen as an inflation-hedge. Spot gold rose 0.5 percent to USD 1,073.60 an ounce, after losing 0.6 percent in the previous session. Volumes remained thin in the last trading week of the year.

12:50 pm SREI in news: SREI Infrastructure may buy back BNP Paribas' stake in Equipment Financing Business, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting unnamed sources.

SREI and BNP Paribas hold 50 percent stake each in Equipment Financing Business. BNP Paribas had bought 50 percent stake in Equipment Financing Business for Rs 775 crore in 2007.

The management of SREI is not available for comment on the story.

12:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of Sterlite Technologies gained more than 4 percent intraday. Its subsidiary Sterlite Grid has emerged as the lowest bidder for a transmission project in Odisha by quoting a lowest annual tariff of Rs 139.79 crore.

"For Common Transmission System for Phase-II Generation Projects in Odisha and immediate evacuation system for OPGC Project in Odisha, Sterlite Grid has emerged as the lowest bidder followed by Essel and Adani," a media report said quoting unnamed sources. Sterlite Grid is a Vedanta group firm.

Sterlite Grid quoted the lowest annual tariff of Rs 139.79 crore for this project, while Essel and Adani quotations were Rs 155.7 crore and Rs 165.92 crore in the financial bids opened on Monday. A arm of Power Finance Corp, PFC Consulting Ltd is conducting the auction of the project.

12:15 pm Telecom performance in 2015: It was a towering feat for the telecom industry in 2015 to cross 100-crore subscriber mark, but the call-drop menace spoiled the party and the operators are now pulling up their socks to face greater competition with the imminent entry of Reliance Jio in 2016.

It took a rap on the knuckles by the government for the mobile operators to beef up their network performance, which still remains far from the optimal levels with dropped calls still remaining a problem in many areas.

The government is however are hopeful that the problem of call drops will become a thing of past in the new year with the operators putting up more towers, while more spectrum could also be made available to them at the earliest.

12:00 pm Market Check
The market remained in a consolidation mode due to lack of volumes and ahead of expiry of December derivative contracts. The Sensex rose 23.53 points to 26057.66 while the Nifty fell 4.05 points to 7921.10.

The BSE Midcap index outperformed benchmarks, up 0.4 percent but the Smallcap index erased gains.

Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, NTPC, GAIL and Adani Ports gained 1-2 percent while HUL and Coal India fell over a percent.

Asian equities traded mostly higher on the second day of 2015's final week, after the Japanese and South Korean markets erased morning losses and the Australian market totted up a more than 1 percent gain. That's a turnaround from earlier in the session, when analysts pointed to the overnight selloff in oil and yesterday afternoon's drop in Chinese markets as weighing on sentiment in Asia markets Tuesday.

11:30 am Buzzing: Non-banking finance company SKS Microfinance's shares rose 2 percent intraday. Motilal Oswal has initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating and target price of Rs 589 (implying 21 percent upside), citing recent regulatory development.

The brokerage says recent regulatory development bodes well for largest incumbent SKS Microfinance. Additionally, stable and supportive regulatory environment with RBI as the sole regulator abates possibility of any Andhra Pradesh-like backlash, it adds.

RBI doubled ticket size of one year loan to Rs 30,000; SKS is a clear beneficiary as 70 percent of its loans fall in this category, it feels.

"This will help boost asset under management (AUM) growth without incurring additional cost thereby by driving operating efficiencies. Operating expenses to AUM to improve to 6.3 percent in FY18 from 8.9 percent in FY15," the brokerage explains further.

11:15 am Interview: Completing the deal to sell 50 percent each in two upcoming projects in Delhi, realty major DLF received Rs 1,992 crore from Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, group chief executive officer Ashok Tyagi says the company is now awaiting the CCI nod for Rs 500 crore DT Cinemas-  PVR deal to fructify.  DT Cinemas is DLF's cinema exhibition business.

On its realty business, Tyagi says the company still has a substantial unsold inventory and the market is still weak for existing and new launches.

11:00 am Market Check
The market continued to be rangebound with the Nifty hovering around 7930 level. The BSE Midcap outperformed benchmarks, rising 0.5 percent.

The 30-share BSE Sensex gained 60.25 points at 26094.38 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 11 points to 7936.15. About 1252 shares have advanced and 887 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Nifty January futures saw buying interest and 8100 & 8200 calls were active. Analysts say 7800 now seems to be a base for Nifty.

SpiceJet and Jet Airways were the most active shares on exchanges, up 2 percent each following sharp correction in crude oil prices. Dr Lal PathLab, Pipavav Defence, Reliance Infrastructure, Dr Reddy's Labs and Reliance Industries were other most active shares.

10:45 am Interview: Vinod Dasari, SIAM President and MD of Ashok Leyland, says the medium and light commercial vehicle industry is likely to grow by 15-20 percent this year, but it will take the industry at least couple of years to catch up with the previous highs.

Dasari pointed out that the recent ban imposed on older trucks is a welcome move and might create 4-5 percent additional demand.

However, he also highlighted that the industry as a whole might not require any fresh capex investment at least for next 2 years unless there is some sudden revival in the light commercial vehicle segment, which has been a laggard so far due to weak rural demand.

10:30 am RCap ups stake in Saregama: Financial services major Reliance Capital acquired 6.82 percent stake in popular music publishing label Saregama India for Rs 43.17 crore through open market transactions on Monday.

According to bulk deals data available with BSE and NSE, the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group firm acquired 11,88,000 shares, or 6.82 percent stake, in Saregama India. While, 7,65,000 shares were bought at an average price of Rs 364 on BSE, 4,23,000 shares were bought on NSE.

On National Stock Exchange, the shares were acquired at an average price of Rs 362.37.

10:15 am Buzzing: Shares of Aurobindo Pharma gained 1.5 percent intraday to hit fresh 52-week high of Rs 885 on getting US health regulator approval for antiulcer drug.

Aurobindo has received tentative approval from US Food and Drug Administration for Esomeprazole magnesium (Nexium generic), which has market size of around USD 1.8-2 billion.

Esomeprazole magnesium is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (like gastric ulcers).

It is a 13th drug approval from USFDA in current quarter, out of which the company has received approval for nine drugs in December itself.

Lupin also gained more than 1 percent intraday on getting nod from USFDA to market generic Femhrt tablets in the US.

10:00 am Market Check
Equity benchmarks continued to see modest buying interest amid thin volumes. The broader markets also gained further with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices rising 0.3-0.5 percent.

The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 67.17 points to 26101.30 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 10.50 points to 7935.65. The market breadth remained strong as about 1175 shares advanced against 635 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

NTPC topped buying list on Sensex, up nearly 3 percent followed by HDFC, Reliance Industries, Adani Ports, Sun Pharma, Infosys and ITC while ICICI Bank, ONGC, Axis Bank, TCS, Maruti and HUL dragged.

Asian equities traded mostly higher on the second day of 2015's final week, after the Japanese and South Korean markets erased morning losses.

9:50 am Citi ups stake in L&T Fin: Citigroup has increased its stake in financial services firm L&T Finance Holdings to 7.56 percent from 5.74 percent for about Rs 208 crore.

Citigroup Global Market Mauritius Pvt Ltd purchased 3.18 crore shares or 1.82 percent of L&T Finance Holdings from the secondary market, a regulatory filing said.

Earlier this year, L&T Finance Holdings sold 5.27 percent stake to private equity firm Bain Capital through an issue of preferential shares and warrants for about Rs 708 crore.

9:35 am FII View: "Benefits of low oil prices for India are well known and we estimate these at USD 60 billion, or 3 percent of GDP," says Mahesh Nandurkar, CLSA.

But likely negative impact cannot be ignored, he adds.

According to him, Indian labour in West Asia remits USD 37 billion a year and if these come down by, say 25 percent, the GDP impact will be 50 bps.

Nandurkar says sovereign wealth funds have USD 26 billion in Indian equities and a withdrawal could create a risk to flows.

Also, there is potential for a negative impact on companies with direct exposure to West Asia such as L&T, Dabur, Marico, Asian Paints, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Bajaj Auto, he adds.

9:15 am Market Check
The market has opened marginally higher on Tuesday morning following correction in crude oil prices. The Sensex rose 51.81 points to 26085.94 and the Nifty gained 3.85 points at 7929.

NTPC, Lupin, Adani Ports, Tata Steel and GAIL were early gainers while Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank, ONGC, ITC, TCS, Cairn India and HCL Tech were under pressure.

The Indian rupee opened marginally lower at 66.25 per dollar today against previous close of 66.19.

Ashutosh Raina of HDFC Bank says holiday-shortened year-end market with thin volumes is getting further pressurised by falling oil prices and growth concerns in China.

The dollar lost against most of the major and emerging marketcurrencies on the back of some year-end profit booking on long dollar positions, he adds.

Raina says gains in USD-INR pair were limited by aggressive intervention from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He expects currency pair to trade in the 66-66.50/USD range in the near term.

The US dollar held near a more than one-week low against a basket of major currencies as some traders take profits ahead of year-end.

Oil slipped below USD 37 a barrel, trading within sight of an 11-year low, pressured by excess supply that has more than halved prices since the downturn began in mid-2014. Brent crude oil prices stood at USD 36.67 a barrel, up 0.14 percent at 9:15 hours IST.

Asian equities traded mixed early today with Nikkei correcting 0.5 percent from the day's high to trade flattish. The Kospi sees follow through selling. Straits is the only positive index.

Among other markets, US stocks closed lower in light volume trade as a renewed slide in oil prices weighed. Energy closed down nearly 1.8 percent to lead S&P 500 decline taking the index back into negative territory for the year so far.