Sensex, Nifty end flat; HUL, ITC, Reliance top gainers

3:30 pm Market closing: The market has ended Janaury F&O series on flat note. The Sensex was down 22.82 points at 24469.57 and the Nifty slipped 13.10 points at 7424.65. About 1248 shares have advanced, 1309 shares declined, and 179 shares are unchanged.

L&T, Bharti Airtel, Adani Ports, Hindalco and BHEL were losers in the Sensex. Among gainers were HUL, ITC, Reliance, Sun Pharma and M&M.

2:55 pm Result Poll: Maruti Suzuki is expected to continue posting strong set of earnings in December quarter as well. Profit is estimated to jump 74 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,395 crore, driven by new launches during the quarter. Revenue is seen rising 18.5 percent to Rs 14,911 crore in Q3 compared to Rs 12,576 crore in same quarter last fiscal, led by strong volume growth. New launches like Baleno, S-Cross, Ertiga significantly boosted volumes. Maruti sold 3.74 lakh vehicles in Q3, a growth of 15.5 percent over a year-ago period.

2:45 pm World view: The Federal Reserve kept the interest rates unchanged and acknowledged that the US economy was slowing down. In this dovish statement, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) was trying to be cautious, says Peter Hooper of Deutsche Bank. Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Hooper says the US Fed will have a "wait and watch approach" and will be recognising the downside risks amid the recent softening of data. He expects three gradual rate hikes within this year and is of the view that it may hike once in March. Until the markets bounce back with a significant change, there won't be a rate hike, he adds.

2:30 pm Result: Vedanta disappointed analysts with its third quarter earnings on Thursday. Consolidated profit crashed 99 percent to Rs 17.91 crore in Q3 compared to Rs 1,587.50 crore in year-ago period, dented by lower oil and metal prices. Revenue declined 22.6 percent to 14,876.5 crore in quarter ended December 2015 compared to Rs 19,218.9 crore in corresponding quarter of last fiscal, hit by oil and metals business despite 13 percent growth in power business. Majority of company's business comes from Cairn India (wherein it holds 59 percent stake) and Hindustan Zinc (wherein it has 65 percent shareholding). Oil and zinc businesses were impacted by lower commodity prices in international market.

The market continued to consolidate in afternoon trade with the Sensex rising 59.09 points to 24551.48 and the Nifty up 19.50 points to 7457.25.

ITC, Mahindra & Mahindra and HUL rallied more than 2 percent followed by Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, Lupin, Dr Reddy's Labs and NTPC with more than 1 percent upside.

HDFC, ICICI Bank, L&T, Adani Ports, Wipro and Bharti Airtel fell 1-2 percent.

European equities reversed losses to trade flat to higher today following a mixed to negative trend set in Asia and Wall Street as the oil price rebounded. The pan-European STOXX 600 opened around 0.5 percent lower but was hovering around the flatline in early trade.

1:45 pm World view: There is a scare that if China slows down considerably then it will impact markets globally, says Tushar Pradhan of HSBC Global Asset Management. India, to that extent, has been an outlier as the country is not that much linked to China and the India story is more domestic, but earnings have clearly disappointed for the past two years, he adds. However, he expects to see significant uptick in earnings in FY17, followed by FY18. He adds that liquidity in the system is pretty strong and while bankers are not in a position to lend because they have significant issues with capital availability, incrementally businesses are looking to fund growth through other avenues. Pradhan says there are bright spots in the economy, but whether they will be delivered in the first two quarters is the question here. He expects it to happen towards the end of the year.

1:30 pm Result: State-run electric utilities company Power Grid Corporation of India 's third quarter earnings surpassed analysts' expectations on all parameters Wednesday. Profit shot up 31 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,613.1 crore during the quarter on strong revenue and operational performance despite lower other income. Revenue increased 24.2 percent to Rs 5,406.6 crore in quarter ended December 2015 compared to Rs 4,353.6 crore in year-ago period, driven by telecom business that showed 48 percent growth with EBIT margin expansion of 2000 basis points. Transmission revenue was up 23 percent with margin expansion of 310 basis points while consulting revenue rose 4 percent with margins flat at 67 percent in Q3.

The market is still very sluggish as the Sensex is up 7.90 points at 24500.29. The Nifty is up 3.80 points at 7441.55. About 1135 shares have advanced, 1234 shares declined, and 163 shares are unchanged.

M&M, HUL, ITC, Dr Reddy's Labs and Sun Pharma are top gainers while Adani Ports, HDFC, L&T, Bharti Airtel and ICICI Bank.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to leave its key interest rate steady at 6.75 percent next week and only make one cut this year as rising inflation ties its hands, according to a Reuters poll.

That marks a turn from rapidly cooling domestic consumer price inflation, which allowed the RBI to lower the repo rate four times in 2015. Its last 50-basis-point cut in September took markets by surprise, but the RBI isn't likely to act as aggressively in 2016, as a renewed uptick in food-costs driven inflation puts the central bank's medium-term price target at risk.

Gold rose by Rs 42 to Rs 26,791 per 10 grams in futures trading today as speculators widened positions, tracking a firming trend overseas. Market analysts said speculators enlarged their positions on the back of a firming global trend after Federal Reserve policy makers said they were closely tracking global developments, influenced gold futures here.

12:58 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks remained flat. The Sensex declined 13.34 points to 24479.05 and the Nifty fell 0.20 points to  7437.55.

The market breadth was negative as about 1228 shares declined against 1113 advancing shares on the BSE.

12:45 pm Earnings: Online classifieds company Info Edge's third quarter earnings disappointed analysts on Thursday with profit falling 43.8 percent year-on-year to Rs 21.7 crore, impacted by exceptional loss of Rs 11.5 crore related to provision for Canvera and lower other income.

It reported an exceptional loss of Rs 11.5 crore for the quarter. "Info Edge made provision for diminution in value of investments amounting to Rs 42.7 crore related to Canvera Digital Technologies and additional provision for bonus amounting to Rs 2.94 crore for previous financial year," it detailed.

The company also transferred its investment in eTechaces Marketing & Consulting to its subsidiary Makesense Technologies for Rs 51.3 crore, which resulted in profit of Rs 34.2 crore.
 
Revenue during the quarter increased 19 percent to Rs 173.4 crore compared to Rs 145.7 crore in same quarter last fiscal.

12:15 pm Market Expert: Slow pace of reforms as well as global volatility remain key concerns for the domestic market, says Mahantesh Sabarad, Deputy-VP Research at SBICap Securities.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Sabarad says he is positive on sectors like banks, automobile, auto ancillaries and cement. While the banks are yet to come out of asset quality troubles, certain midcap names are attractive due to low valuations, he says.

12:00 pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks continued to consolidate ahead of expiry of January futures & options contracts. Asian markets remained mixed in trade while crude saw selling pressure.

The Sensex dropped 34.90 points to 24457.49 and the Nifty fell 7.15 points to 7430.60. The BSE Midcap declined 0.3 percent while Smallcap was flat.

ITC, HUL, M&M and Sun Pharma were leading contributors to Sensex's gains, up 1-2 percent while HDFC, ICICI Bank, L&T and Maruti Suzuki were down more than 1 percent.

SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Wockhardt, Maruti Suzuki, SKS Microfinance, Reliance Infrastructure and Sun Pharma were most active shares.

Markets in Asia were mixed, but largely trimmed earlier losses, despite a lower finish on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve appeared to temper its expectations for US economic growth. Shanghai declined 1 percent and Nikkei slipped 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures fell around 1 percent in Asian trading, eroding gains of nearly 3 percent made in the previous session after Russia held out the possibility of cooperating with OPEC to control global oversupply.

11:45 am Telecom: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) suggested auctioning the 700 Mhz spectrum - considered the best for offering high speed broadband services - at a pan-India base price of Rs 11,485 crore per Mhz. This is the highest rate for any telecom frequency band. Nitin Soni, director, Asia-Pacific corporate ratings at Fitch Ratings says the reserve price is exorbitant and telcos already have stretched balance sheets. He further adds that while 700 MHz is a nice spectrum to have, it is not a must have, and hence participation in this round of auction may be limited.

11:30 am Buzzing: Shares of HDFC fell 3 percent after its December quarter earnings fell short of estimates. However, analyts are not perturbed but have slashed target price.

CLSA has a buy rating with a reduced target price of Rs 1440 from Rs 1510 per share, stating weaker topline drives 4 percent cut . It sees 14 percent CAGR over FY 15-18. According to it, stake sale in life and general insurance business can boost reported profit.

HDFC's Q3 standalone profit rose 6.7 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,520.5 crore hit by higher provisions and lower non-core income.

The market is completely flat on Janaury F&O expiry day. The Sensex is down 0.72 points at 24491.67 and the Nifty is up 3.55 points at 7441.30. About 1187 shares have advanced, 864 shares declined, and 114 shares are unchanged.

HUL, Dr Reddy's Labs, Sun Pharma, ITC and M&M are top gainers while Bharti Airtel, L&T, GAIL, Tata Steel and HDFC are major losers in the Sensex.

Oil prices tumbled in Asia after US commercial crude stockpiles climbed to a record level, further stoking worries about a global oversupply of the commodity.

Prices had closed higher over the past two trading days, buoyed by hopes that planned economic stimulus measures in the eurozone and Japan will bolster demand, but analysts said any rally is unlikely to be supported because of the supply glut.

10:58 am Market Update: The 30-share BSE Sensex slipped 3.98 points to 24488.41 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 2.20 points to 7439.95 amid volatility.

The market breadth remained positive as about 1171 shares advanced against 872 declining shares on the BSE.

10:40 am Earnings estimates: Maruti Suzuki is expected to continue posting strong set of earnings in December quarter as well. Profit is estimated to jump 74 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,395 crore, driven by new launches during the quarter.

Revenue is seen rising 18.5 percent to Rs 14,911 crore in Q3 compared to Rs 12,576 crore in same quarter last fiscal, led by strong volume growth.

New launches like Baleno, S-Cross, Ertiga significantly boosted volumes. Maruti sold 3.74 lakh vehicles in Q3, a growth of 15.5 percent over a year-ago period.

Compact car segment volumes increased 23 percent due to new Baleno and Celerio while utility vehicle segment (SCross and Ertiga) saw 57.6 percent year-on-year growth at 27,291 units.

10:15 am WB on oil prices: Warning that slowing emerging- market economies were hampering an oil recovery, the World Bank has slashed its forecast for crude oil prices for 2016 but said India's growth story remains strong and robust.

In its latest Commodity Markets Outlook released yesterday, the World Bank lowered the forecast of crude oil from USD 51 per barrel in its October projections to USD 37 per barrel.

Lowering of crude oil prices is seen as a good news for countries like India which are heavily dependent on import of oils to meet its energy needs is seen.

This is also reflected in the latest World Bank report, which reiterates that India's growth story is strong and robust.

10:00 am Market Check
The market remained choppy ahead of January F&O expiry. FMCG and healthcare stocks gained strength while infra, metals and select banks stocks were under pressure.

The 30-share BSE Sensex declined 15.96 points to 24476.43 and the 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 4.60 points to 7433.15. The broader markets were also flat but the market breadth was positive. About 1013 shares advanced against 685 declining shares on the BSE.

Jindal Stainless (Hisar) rallied 5 percent on listing today, up 5 percent to Rs 37.80 on the National Stock Exchange.

9:55 am Result poll: India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank is expected to report muted growth in Q3 profit while net interest income growth may remain at similar levels of Q2. Analysts have not priced in insurance business stake sale in earnings expectations, which may boost other income. According to CNBC-TV18 poll, profit is likely to increase 5.4 percent year-on-year to Rs 3,044 crore (against 12 percent growth in Q2 and Q1) and net interest income may grow 12.1 percent to Rs 5,392 crore during October-December quarter. Provisions and core fee income will be closely watched for the quarter. Provisions in Q1FY16 increased 17 percent and 11 percent in Q2FY16 year-on-year while core fee income growth slowed to 6 percent on yearly basis in Q2.

9:45 am Oil prices: Warning that slowing emerging- market economies were hampering an oil recovery, the World Bank has slashed its forecast for crude oil prices for 2016 but said India's growth story remains strong and robust.

In its latest Commodity Markets Outlook released yesterday, the World Bank lowered the forecast of crude oil from USD 51 per barrel in its October projections to USD 37 per barrel.

Lowering of crude oil prices is seen as a good news for countries like India which are heavily dependent on import of oils to meet its energy needs is seen.

9:35 am Earnings Estimates: India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank is expected to report muted growth in Q3 profit while net interest income growth may remain at similar levels of Q2. Analysts have not priced in insurance business stake sale in earnings expectations, which may boost other income. 
According to CNBC-TV18 poll, profit is likely to increase 5.4 percent year-on-year to Rs 3,044 crore (against 12 percent growth in Q2 and Q1) and net interest income may grow 12.1 percent to Rs 5,392 crore during October-December quarter.

Provisions and core fee income will be closely watched for the quarter. Analysts say loan growth may remain at around 15 percent Y-o-Y led by retail business and net interest margin is likely to decline sequentially due to 35-basis point rate cut in October 2015.

9:15 am Market Check
The market has opened marginally lower ahead of expiry of January derivative contracts. The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 5.68 points to 24486.71 and the 50-share NSE Nifty declined 3.45 points to 7434.30.

ICICI Bank, GAIL, Lupin, Adani Ports, NTPC, Power Grid Corporation, Cairn India and Vedanta were early gainers while losers were HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Maruti Suzuki, L&T, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints, Coal India and NTPC.

The Indian rupee opened lower by 10 paise at 68.15 per dollar today against previous close of 68.05.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank says as expected, the FOMC has kept policy rates unchanged, adding due to adverse global financial developments, odds of a hike in March have also fallen.

According to him, number of hikes anticipated this year has fallen to 2-3 from 3-4 earlier. He says the rupee is impacted more by global developments than any local factors.

He expects the USD-INR to trade in a range of 68.05-68.40/dollar today.

The dollar weakened against the euro and the yen after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged.

Asian markets barring China were trading higher despite weak US lead. Japan's retail sales for December fell 1.1 percent year-on-year showing some weakness in household demand. Bank of Japan began its two-day policy meeting on Thursday.

In US, market ended down over one percent after the Fed kept monetary policy unchanged and indicated a weak economic growth. Stocks closed more than 1 percent lower, despite higher oil prices, as disappointing quarterly reports weighed and the fed statement renewed concerns about global economic growth.