Sensex sinks 321 points, Nifty ends below 7050; banks, infra drag

3:30 pm Market closing: The market closed lower for second consecutive session ahead of Railway Budget and F&O expiry. The Sensex fell 321.25 points or 1.37 percent to 23088.93 and the Nifty dropped 90.85 points or 1.28 percent to 7018.70.

More than two shares declined for every share advancing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

BHEL, NTPC, Tata Motors, Hindalco Industries, HDFC and Vedanta topped selling list on Nifty, down 3-5 percent while BPCL rallied 4.5 percent and Power Grid Corp gained 2 percent followed by Bharti Airtel, M&M, Yes Bank, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, HUL and Axis Bank.

2:59 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks extended losses with the Sensex falling 338.05 points or 1.44 percent to 23072.13 and the Nifty down 94.50 points or 1.33 percent to 7015.05.

2:50 pm Buzzing: Shares of Kridhan Infra spiked 11 percent intraday on getting largest maiden order for EPC works in Singapore.

"Kridhan, through its subsidiary KH Foges Pte, has won orders worth 50.8 million Singapore dollar (over Rs 247 crore) in Singapore for EPC works and foundation engineering," the Mumbai-based infrastructure company said in its filing.

Order includes entire EPC work for a new flyover including construction of viaduct and underpass for value of Rs 226 crore for the Government of Singapore.

With this order, total consolidated order book stood at Rs 665 crore, Kridhan said.

2:40 pm BHEL in news: State-owned BHEL has successfully commissioned a 40-mw hydro-electric generating unit in West Bengal.

"The unit has been commissioned at the 4x40 mw Teesta Low Dam Hydro Electric Project (HEP) stage-IV in West Bengal," the company said in a statement today.

With this, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has commissioned hydro sets totaling 770 mw in the current financial year, it said.

The project is a run-of-the-river greenfield project on the Teesta in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The other three units of the project are also at advanced stages of execution and the second unit is expected to be commissioned shortly.

2:20 pm Post Office project: A Rs 4,909 crore project for computerisation and networking of 1.55 lakh post offices across the country is being implemented by the government, Lok Sabha was informed today.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the project involves providing a central server-enabled integrated, modular and scalable solution for all operations of the Department of Posts.

These include provision of core banking and insurance solutions in all departmental post offices and provision of 1,000 ATMs.

"As on February 22, 2016, 17,057 post offices are utilising Core Banking Solution. Core Insurance Solution is rolled out in 805 head post offices and the corresponding sub offices. 510 ATMs have been installed," he said during Question Hour.

2:00 pm Market Check
The market remained under pressure in afternoon trade, tracking weakness in Europe post fall in Asian and US peers. The 30-share BSE Sensex dropped 155.23 points or 0.66 percent to 23254.95 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 37.10 points or 0.52 percent to 7072.45.

The market breadth continued to be weak as about two shares declined for every share advancing on the BSE.

HDFC, ITC, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors, TCS and Sun Pharma were down 1-3 percent. NTPC slipped for third consecutive session, down nearly 3 percent on last day of offer for sale through which the government will sell its 5 percent stake in company to garner around Rs 5,000 crore.

Infosys, Axis Bank, SBI and Bharti Airtel outperformed, up over 1 percent followed by Maruti and Reliance Industries.

1:45 pm Buzzing: Shares of Maruti Suzuki bounced back on after shedding nearly 7 percent in previous four consecutive sessions. The stock gained 0.8 percent intraday today after resumption of production at its two facilities in northern India. "Maruti has resumed production of vehicles at its facilities in Gurgaon and Manesar, starting February 23 (second half). The supply of components has started gradually," the country's largest car manufacturer said in its filing. It had to suspend operations at these facilities from February 20 (second half) as supply of certain components was disrupted due to agitation in Haryana.

1:30 pm Interview: Abinash Verma of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) says, fundamentals suggest sugar prices will increase at least for a year or more. According to the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), there is likely to be global sugar shortfall of 5 million tonnes in FY16, much higher than November estimates of 3.5 million tonnes. Verma says the production this year is estimated to drop to around 260 lakh tonne, compared to 283 lakh tonne last year, due to weak monsoon. The government has given an export quota of 32 lakh tonnes, of which companies have contracted about 12 lakh tonnes for exports, he says.

Growth opportunity huge, automation key for IT cos: Kotak ED  

The market seems to be in a sluggish mode ahead of February Future and Options (F&O) series expiry and Rail Budget tomorrow. The Sensex is down 127.39 points or 0.5 percent at 23282.79, and the Nifty slips 34.30 points or 0.5 percent at 7075.25. About 865 shares have advanced, 1480 shares declined, and 153 shares are unchanged.

Infosys, Axis Bank, SBI, Bharti Airtel and Maruti are top gainers while NTPC, Tata Motors, BHEL, HDFC and Bajaj Auto are losers in the Sensex.

Market sentiment is fragile on concerns related to developed market growth, widening credit spread and muted domestic corporate earnings, says Nirmal Jain, Chairman of IIFL.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, he says investors should avoid pre-Budget buying as worsening global conditions might continue to rub off on India and that could present better buying opportunities once Budget is out of the way.

Jain is bullish on India and believes it will not only feature among the top emerging markets but is also better placed to recover faster amid continuing global crisis.

12:58 pm Market recovers: The market halved losses in afternoon trade with the Sensex down 121.80 points or 0.52 percent to 23288.38 and the Nifty falling 31.30 points or 0.44 percent to 7078.25.

Nearly two shares declined for every share advancing on the BSE.

12:40 pm Buzzing: IDBI Bank shares climbed 3 percent intraday after getting approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India for raising funds through QIP.

"SEBI has decided to accede to the request to permit the bank to raise capital by issue of equity shares aggregating upto Rs 3,771 crore by way of qualified institutional placement (QIP)," the capital market regulator said in its letter.

The regulator further said that acceptance of bank's request is solely for purpose of achieving minimum level of public shareholding.

As of December 2015, Government of India has 80.16 percent shareholding, which has to be reduced to 75 percent as per SEBI norms for shareholding.

12:30 pm Punj Lloyd bags order: Engineering and construction major Punj Lloyd has bagged Rs 308 crore order for construction of luxury villas in Dubai, the UAE.

"The contract has been awarded to Punj Lloyd by Front Line Investment Management Co LLC, subsidiary of Damac Properties Development LLC, for construction of 168 villas...in Dubai," Punj Llyod said in a BSE filing.

With this project, the company's order backlog stands at Rs 25,708 crore.

12:15 pm Market Expert: Market sentiment is fragile on concerns related to developed market growth, widening credit spread and muted domestic corporate earnings, says Nirmal Jain, Chairman of IIFL.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, he says investors should avoid pre-Budget buying as worsening global conditions might continue to rub off on India and that could present better buying opportunities once Budget is out of the way.

Jain is bullish on India and believes it will not only feature among the top emerging markets but is also better placed to recover faster amid continuing global crisis.

12:00 pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks as well as broader markets continued to bleed in noon trade, weighed down by banking & financials, infra, pharma and select FMCG stocks.

The BSE Sensex declined 206.83 points or 0.88 percent to 23203.35 and the NSE Nifty slipped 58.70 points or 0.83 percent to 7050.85. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were down 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

The market breadth remained weak as about two shares declined for every share advancing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

BPCL, Power Grid, Infosys and Maruti gained 1-3 percent while Tata Motors, NTPC, HDFC, BHEL, Bajaj Auto and Cairn India fell 2-3 percent.

11:50 am Sugar stocks: Abinash Verma of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) says, fundamentals suggest sugar prices will increase at least for a year or more. According to the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), there is likely to be global sugar shortfall of 5 million tonnes in FY16, much higher than November estimates of 3.5 million tonnes. Verma says the production this year is estimated to drop to around 260 lakh tonne, compared to 283 lakh tonne last year, due to weak monsoon. The government has given an export quota of 32 lakh tonnes, of which companies have contracted about 12 lakh tonnes for exports, he says. Narendra Murkumbi, VC & MD of Shree Renuka Sugars expects sugar prices to move towards Rs 31-32 per kg eventually. Export realisation is equal to domestic realisation, he says.

11:40 am Market check: The Sensex is down 228.91 points or 0.9 percent at 23181.27, and the Nifty down 65.95 points or 0.9 percent at 7043.60.
About 615 shares have advanced, 1480 shares declined, and 141 shares are unchanged.

11:30 am FII view: Equity markets around the globe saw sharp corrections at the beginning of the year and this has resulted in clients going into a risk-off mode, says Adrian Mowat of JPMorgan. However, as far as India is concerned, it has strong fundamentals. Though, it has its own set of problems - frustrating tax situation, rumours about changes being made to the definition (tenure) of long-term capital gains and also some confusion on what markets and economists alike want from the Budget, says Mowat. He says the current vulnerability in the Indian markets is on the back of bullish positioning seen earlier. As far as China is concerned, Mowat feels the situation is becoming less precarious and the pressure on the Chinese currency (yuan) is easing now. He does not see China dragging India lower, instead feels it is the repositioning of portfolios that has dragged the country lower.

The market is skiding again with the Nifty just managing to hold 7050. The 50-share index is down 55.60 points or 0.8 percent at 7053.95. The Sensex is down 191.65 points or 0.8 percent at 23218.53. About 631 shares have advanced, 1326 shares declined, and 116 shares are unchanged.

Infosys, HUL, M&M, Maruti and Reliance are top gainers in the Sensex while NTPC, ONGC, Tata Motors, Sun Pharma and BHEL are major losers.

Oil prices fell further in Asia after OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia shut the door on an output cut to ease the global crude supply glut, touting only a freeze in production.

Traders were cautious ahead of the release later today of data on US commercial crude stockpiles which have been rising for weeks, indicating softer demand in the world's top energy consumer.

10:40 am DBS on fiscal deficit: The pace of fiscal tightening is likely to slow down next fiscal, with the government's deficit target expected to be higher at 3.7 percent of GDP, says a DBS report.

The target for 2016-17, as per the earlier roadmap, was 3.5 percent and is likely to be pushed back.

According to the global financial services major, the fiscal slippage in the next financial year would be largely due to the need to accommodate higher spending commitments, especially a bigger public sector wage/pension bill and rising banks' recapitalisation needs.

"On the fiscal math, signs are that the FY15/16 fiscal deficit target will not be breached," DBS said in a research note, adding that the "pace of fiscal tightening is likely to slow in FY16/17, with the deficit target to be adjusted higher at 3.7 percent of GDP".

10:20 am Buzzing: Shares of NMDC plunged more than 12 percent intraday as the stock is adjusted for an interim dividend announced during the month.

The state-controlled mineral producer, on February 12, had declared first interim dividend of Rs 9.50 per share of face value of Re 1 each for the financial year 2015-16.

Accordingly, it had fixed February 25 as record date for purpose of payment of this interim dividend.

In 2015, the company paid dividend of Rs 5.55 per share against Rs 8.5 paid in previous calendar year.

10:00 am Market Check
The market extended losses with the Sensex falling 169.13 points or 0.72 percent to 23241.05. The Nifty held 7050 level amid pressure, down 49.65 points or 0.70 percent to 7059.90.

The market breadth was weak as about two shares declined for every share advancing on the BSE.

ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank continued to be leading contributors to Sensex's fall, down 1-2 percent. Axis Bank was down over 1.5 percent.

Tata Motors plunged over 2 percent after around 300 workers went on flash strike at company's Sanand plant on Tuesday, though the company says work is not disrupted at plant.

ITC dropped for third consecutive session today on fears of rising excise duties in Union Budget due on February 29, down nearly 1 percent.

Infosys, HUL, Reliance Industries and GAIL were gainers in morning trade. Maruti Suzuki gained 0.2 percent after the company resumed its production of vehicles in Gurgaon & Manesar facilities.

9:55 am Budget 2016: The pace of fiscal tightening is likely to slow down next fiscal, with the government's deficit target expected to be higher at 3.7 percent of GDP, says a DBS report. 
The target for 2016-17, as per the earlier roadmap, was 3.5 percent and is likely to be pushed back.

According to the global financial services major, the fiscal slippage in the next financial year would be largely due to the need to accommodate higher spending commitments, especially a bigger public sector wage/pension bill and rising banks' recapitalisation needs.

9:45 am PNB's list of wilful defaulters: A total of 904 wilful defaulters owe Punjab National Bank about Rs 10,869.72 crore, the state-run lender today said in a list it put up on its website. These are borrowers that the bank believes have the wherewithal to pay but don't. The list, which the bank has been uploading on its website every quarter since June 2013, shows that the number of wilful defaulters has jumped 162 percent year-on-year, from 345 in the December 2014 quarter, while the amount owed has increased 52 percent from Rs 7,156.45 crore. Sources told CNBC-TV18 that the bank issues the list publicly in order to plug wilful defaulters' access to other means of finance and said it intends to name more wilful defaulters going forward.

9:30 am OFS update: The government's 5 percent stake sale in India's largest power producer NTPC got off to a blockbuster start today with FIIs and institutional buyers alone putting in bids for as much as Rs 7,287 crore, against the total issue size of Rs 5,030 crore. On the first day of the two-day offer for sale (OFS), institutional buyers, who were offered over 32.98 crore out of more than 41.22 crore shares, bid above the floor price of Rs 122 apiece. Retail investors will get to bid for their quota of over 8.24 crore shares on the final day tomorrow. The total bids that poured in aggregated to Rs 7,287 crore, with 59.62 crore shares, 1.8 times the offer size, being subscribed. The indicative price was Rs 122.22 and the highest bid came in at Rs 130 apiece.

The market has opened sharply lower on Wednesday, tracking weak global cues. The Sensex fell 129.34 points or 0.55 percent to 23280.84 and the Nifty declined 34.85 points or 0.49 percent to 7074.70.

ICICI Bank, ONGC, NTPC, BHEL, Dr Reddy's Labs, PNB, Cairn India and Vedanta were down 1-4 percent while HUL, Maruti Suzuki, BPCL, Grasim, Zee Entertainment and Power Grid Corp were early gainers.

The Indian rupee has opened lower by 8 paise at 68.65 per dollar today against previous close of 68.57.

NS Venkatesh of IDBI Bank says the rupee has been one of the worst performers in the Asian currencies this calendar year with a depreciation of 3.55 percent.

According to him, the USD-INR pair is expected to take cues from the equity market today and trade in the range of 68.48-68.62/dollar.

Asia stocks traded mostly down, with a combination of low oil prices, concerns over China and weak overnight data weighing on investor sentiment. Hang Seng lost 1.5 percent followed by Nikkei and Shanghai with 0.7 percent & 0.2 percent loss, respectively.

US stocks closed lower Tuesday, as hopes of an oil production cut were dashed and after a miss in the consumer confidence index. Dow Jones, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 declined over 1 percent.

US oil prices fell as much as 5 percent on Tuesday after Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi ruled out any production cuts, restating the kingdom's rationale for maintaining output was that demand would pick up excess crude that has crushed prices over the past 20 months.

The Japanese currency climbed to a two-week peak against the dollar as fall in equities revives demand for safe-haven currencies.