Nifty ends below 7500, Sensex down 171 points; Hindalco up 3%

3:30 pm Market closing: After a lot of struggle, the market ended lower. The Sensex ended down 170.62 points or 0.7 percent at 24623.34, and the Nifty slipped 45.65 points or 0.6 percent at 7486.15.About 1186 shares have advanced, 1415 shares declined, and 147 shares are unchanged.

Hindalco, HDFC, Maruti, Bharti and Cipla were top gainers while BHEL, Reliance, GAIL, Infosys and L&T were losers in the Sensex.

2:58 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks continued to trade lower. The Sensex fell 174.21 points to 24619.75 and the Nifty declined 46.65 points to 7485.15.

BHEL (-3 percent), Infosys (-3 percent), Reliance (-3 percent) and Bank of Baroda (-2 percent) were the big losers in the Nifty.

Other laggards in the index were Grasim (-1 percent),Wipro (-1 percent),HUL (-1 percent) and Zee Entertain (-1 percent).

Gainers included Hindalco (4 percent), Cairn India (3 percent), HDFC (2 percent) and Asian Paints (2 percent).

In sectoral performance as reflected by the respective indices, capital goods (-1.5 percent), IT (-1.3 percent), FMCG (-1.0 percent) and oil & gas (-0.9 percent) were under pressure, while metals (0.7 percent) and consumer durables (0.1 percent) gained.

European shares were mostly higher with France's CAC up 12 points at 4437, Germany's DAX up 5 points at 9729, and UK's FTSE down 0 points at 6145.    

Key Asian markets ended mixed. Among gainers, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 210 points or 1.3 percent to close at 16852. Korea's KOSPI gained 16 points to end at 1969, and Taiwan's Taiwan Index climbed 26 points to 8660. In laggards, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 11 points to end at 19984, Singapore's Straits Times closed 5 points down at 2804 and China's Shanghai shed 58 points or 2.0 percent to end at 2804.

2:45 pm Omaxe in e-Commerce biz: Realty firm Omaxe's promoter and CEO Mohit Goel has started an e-commerce portal, Supplified.com, in his personal capacity to market construction materials and will invest USD 1 million as seed funding.

Supplified.com, founded by Goel along with SPR Buildtech Director Nalin Saluja, started its operations a few months ago aiming to tap huge opportunity in the unorganised construction materials market.

On this portal, Supplified sells raw material as well as finished goods ranging from cement, steel, doors, paints, water purifiers, tiles, building cleaning and maintenance supplies, plants and home decor, among others.

Supplified is currently catering to the Delhi-NCR market and achieved a monthly sale of Rs 50 lakh last month.

2:25 pm FII View: Sanjay Mookim of Bank of America Merrill Lynch says the less-than-expected Budget provisioning of pay commission in itself is large and should boost consumer demand in India.

Should the government spend amounts as budgeted, pension payments will be higher in proportion, he adds.

Mookim says demand may be skewed towards short cycle discretionary items like 4-wheelers, 2-wheelers, home improvement, premiumisation of consumer staples against longer duration purchases like homes in near term.

2:15 pm ECB rate cut likely?: Hartmut Issel of UBS says he expects a 10 basis point cut in key deposit rates. However, according to him the world is more focused on whether there will be extension of current 60 billion euros quantitative easing (QE). He sees another 10-20 billion euros being added to that. If more ECB stimulus comes through then it would bring out a positive reaction and would put downward pressure on the euro, he says.

According to Khoon Goh of ANZ Research, the ECB president Draghi needs to deliver beyond market expectation if wants to see the euro down. However, if he disappoints euro will rally, says Goh.

2:00 pm Market Check
The market trimmed losses in afternoon trade with the Nifty got back above 7500 level, supported by HDFC and ICICI Bank. The broader markets outperformed benchmarks with marginal gains.

The Sensex fell 137.26 points to 24656.70 and the Nifty declined 33.40 points or 0.44% at 7498.40. However, the market breadth remained weak as about 1282 shares declined against 1131 advancing shares on the BSE.

Hindalco Industries extended rally, rising nearly 4 percent. HDFC gained more than 1 percent and ICICI Bank rebounded with marginal gains. Maruti Suzuki extended upside, rising 1.4 percent on getting good response to its newly launched Vitara Brezza.

Reliance Industries and Infosys continued to be leading contributors to Sensex's fall, down more than 2 percent followed by L&T and ITC.

1:30 pm Cylinder: The Cabinet today approved a Rs 8,000-crore scheme to provide cooking gas (LPG) connections free of cost to women members of poor households. The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana with an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore for three years, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told PTI here. The scheme aims to provide on a war footing LPG connections to women members of BPL families. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget for 2016-17, had announced the plan, saying the poor do not have access to cooking gas.

The market is sinking away as the Sensex is down 243.24 points or 0.9 percent at 24550.72, and the Nifty is down 61.15 points or 0.8 percent at 7470.65. About 1014 shares have advanced, 1377 shares declined, and 128 shares are unchanged.

Hindalco, Maruti, HDFC, NTOC and Cipla are top gainers while Infosys, BHEL, Reliance, L&T and GAIL are top losers in the Sensex.

India's foreign exchange reserves may have been at an elevated level, but its other liabilities have gone up, following which the country's net international investment position (NIIP) has ended up in red, says a DBS report.

According to the report, after a brief jump, India's total foreign reserves slipped to USD 346 billion by late-February, down about USD 8.6 billion from its record peak in mid-2015.

DBS said that despite the fall in the reserves stock, it is comfortable on domestic metrics, especially with regard to the import cover and adequacy to cover short-debt external debt levels.

12:58 pm Market Update: The Sensex plunged 321.65 points or 1.30 percent to 24472.31 and the Nifty crashed 82.90 points or 1.10 percent to 7448.90.

The market breadth was weak as about 1363 shares declined against 964 advancing shares on the BSE.

BHEL (-3 percent), Bank of Baroda (-3 percent), Infosys (-3 percent) and Reliance (-3 percent) were the big losers in the Nifty.

Other laggards in the index were Axis Bank (-1 percent), Dr Reddy's Labs (-1 percent),HUL (-1 percent) and Idea Cellular (-1 percent).

Gainers included Hindalco (4 percent), Cairn India (3 percent), Tech Mahindra (1 percent) and Vedanta (1 percent).    

In sectoral performance as reflected by the respective indices, capital goods (-1.8 percent), IT (-1.6 percent), FMCG (-1.3 percent) and oil & gas (-0.8 percent) were under pressure, while metals (0.8 percent) and consumer durables (0.6 percent) gained.

12:50 pm Buzzing: Shares of Greenply Industries climbed 5 percent intraday on getting excise duty exemption for Nagaland unit.

"Greenply has received permission from excise authorities to avail benefit of exemption and consequential refund of excise duty under Notification dated April 25, 2007 for a period of 10 years from July, 2015, in respect of company's plywood unit situated at Tizit (Nagaland)," says the plywood manufacturer in its filing.

With this, the company may get annual benefit of around Rs 5-6 crore, feel analysts. Tizit plant accounted for around 10 percent of FY15 sales.

12:40 pm ONGC in news: The Cabinet today decided to revert to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) the Ratna and R-series oil and gas fields, off the Mumbai coast, which were previously awarded to Essar Oil but the contract could not be signed.

The Ratna and R-series oil fields, 130-km off the Mumbai coast, hold an estimated 87 million barrels of oil and 1.2 billion cubic metres of gas reserves.

The medium-sized Ratna and R-Series (R&RS) fields have been languishing since 1993 when the then P V Narasimha Rao-led Congress government decided to invite bids.

12:30 pm Maruti Suzuki says its latest launch, the Vitara Brezza, has received over 2,600 bookings in India. The company had begun accepting bookings in February, 2016.

12:20 pm Oil exploration policy: The Cabinet today approved extending licences of 28 small- and medium-sized oil and gas fields, but there was no decision on Cairn India's prolific Rajasthan oil block. Production sharing contracts (PSCs) for as many as 28 fields, including western offshore Panna/Mukta and Tapti oil and gas fields operated by BG Group of UK, are due for extension.

"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy, or HELP, extending term of 28 PSCs," Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told PTI.

12:00 pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks fell 1 percent in noon trade, dragged by infra, banks and select technology stocks. The broader markets outperformed benchmarks, trading flat.

The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 279.00 points to 24514.96 and the 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 71.25 points to 7460.55.

Reliance Industries, BHEL and Infosys topped selling list, falling 2.5-3.5 percent followed by ITC, HDFC Bank, TCS, L&T, SBI, Axis Bank and Tata Motors with 1-2 percent loss.

Hindalco and Cairn India jumped around 3 percent.

11:35 am Absconding: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the top priority for authorities here was to make liquor baron Vijay Mallya return and disclose his assets, most of which are abroad, failing which proceedings for revocation of his passport may be initiated as was done in the case of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. He said the issue of recovering over Rs 9000 crore from him would be a long-drawn legal process. "First option is to ask him to appear and, if he does not, then we can initiate proceedings for revocation of his passport. Once his passport is revoked, then technically a person does not have any right to reside anywhere else...then the country where the person is, forces him to go back to the country from where he has come," he told a private news channel.

11:20 Easier M&A norms: The Cabinet today gave green signal to transfer of mining lease for captive mines, easing up passage for merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the cement sector.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 2015 (MMDR), which regulates mining activities in the country, earlier allowed transfer of mining lease for auctioned mines only.

With the new amendment, the stuck M&A deals could be moved in the right direction. The two biggest deals that were stuck were the UltraTech-JP Cement's Rs 5,400 crore deal and the Birla-Reliance deal for 5 million tonne valued at Rs 4,800 crore.

The marlet continues to skid dragged by capital goods, IT and metals. The Sensex is down 241.59 points or 0.9 percent at 24552.37, and the Nifty down 64.60 points or 0.9 percent at 7467.20. About 1066 shares have advanced, 950 shares declined, and 123 shares are unchanged.

Hindalco, Cipla, Maruti, ONGC and Tata Steel are top gainers while Infosys, BHEL, Reliance, L&T and TCS are losers in the Sensex.

Oil prices held most of the previous day's strong gains today, but while a dive in US gasoline stockpiles fuelled hopes for a pick-up in demand, traders remain on edge over the long-running supply glut.

Both main contracts soared, with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate hitting a more than three-month high and Brent breaking USD 41 after the US energy department report.

The figures showed gasoline inventories plunged three times faster than expected while the country's commercial crude stockpiles rose almost two-thirds less than forecast.

10:57 am Market Update: Equity benchmarks fell further with the Sensex falling 208.64 points to 24585.32 and the Nifty declining 56.15 points to 7475.65.

10:50 am The Cabinet has cleared hydrocarbon exploration and licensing policy today that will all issues related to oil sector.

10:40 am Buzzing: Shares of Sharp India gained nearly 13 percent intraday after promoter approved investment in the company by Taiwan-based electronics contract manufacturing company.

"Sharp Corporation, Japan will issue new shares (common shares and Class C shares) to Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, Foxconn (Far East) and SIO International Holdings," the electronic products manufacturer says.

In addition, Sharp Corporation (Japan) also announced expected change of the parent company, which will occur as a result of the capital increase through third-party allotment.

Currently Sharp Corporation (Japan) holds 75 percent stake in the company while Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, Foxconn (Far East) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn FE), Foxconn Technology.

10:20 am KSK Energy in news: KSK Energy  is likely to sell its entire 74 percent stake in Wardha thermal power plant for up to Rs 3000 crore, sources have told CNBC-TV18.

The company is in talks with foreign strategic investors and two Indian power companies.

Sources further say the company plans to utilize this capital to reduce debt and expand its 3600 MW power project in Chhattisgarh.

KSK shares were up 7 percent in early Thursday trade, after CNBC-TV18 broke this exclusive.

10:00 am Market Check
The market extended losses with the Sensex falling 177.69 points to 24616.27 and the Nifty down 47.25 points to 7484.55. The BSE Midcap also lost shine, trading flat but Smallcap outperformed, rising 0.4 percent.

The market breadth was positive as about 1008 shares advanced against 699 declining shares on the BSE.

Infosys fell nearly 3 percent after 78 lakh shares exchanged hands on BSE & NSE at around Rs 1,150 per share. There were reports saying former leaders of the company S Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal & family were likely to sell 50 lakh and 25 lakh shares via block deals today.

TCS, Reliance Industries, L&T, Sun Pharma and HUL declined more than 1 percent while Hindalco bucked the trend, up 3 percent.

9:55 am Royalties: India has cut the royalties paid by local firms for Monsanto's genetically modified cotton seeds by nearly 70 percent, ignoring a threat by the world's biggest seed company to leave if it did. 
The move follows complaints from local seeds companies that Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India)(MMB), a Monsanto joint venture with India's Mahyco, was charging high royalties. This prompted the agriculture ministry to form a panel to look into the matter, whose recommendation the government has now accepted.

MMB has filed a case in a Delhi court, challenging the authority of the panel to determine the trade fee agreed upon by MMB and a number of Indian seed companies.

9:45 am Downgrade: Bank of America Merrill Lynch has reiterated underperform rating on BHEL with a reduced target price of Rs 93 from Rs 129 per share on concerns of persisting downside risks. It has also cut FY16-18 earnings per share (EPS) estimates by 26-65 percent. The street is ascribing negligible value to BHEL as a going concern. Shares of the index heavyweight fell 1 percent intraday on Thursday.

The brokerage feels that BHEL has a potential risk of order cancellations and write off of receivables. The street is also concerned that CRISIL has downgraded its rating on the long-term bank facilities of BHEL to AA+/Negative.

9:30 am Fund raising: Banking major SBI said its board has approved raising the remaining Rs 5,000 crore of the Rs 12,000-crore fund raising programme through private placement of Basel-III compliant debt instruments. Earlier in December, the bank had announced raising Rs 12,000 crore through issue of debt instruments in tranches. SBI, on previous two occasions, had informed the exchanges that it raised Rs 4,000 crore and Rs 3,000 crore in two tranches through issue of debt instruments as part of the Rs 12,000 crore fund raising programme. The lender in a filing to the BSE today said, "The Committee of Directors for Capital Raising met on March 9, 2016 to review the implementation of its resolution dated December 21, 2015 with regard to issue of debt instruments".

The market has opened on a flat note with the Sensex rising 22.64 points to 24816.60 and the Nifty advancing 15.25 points to 7547.05.

Infosys fell 2 percent after 78 lakh equity shares changed hands in multiple block deals on BSE and NSE at around Rs 1,150 apiece.

Hindalco, Tata Motors, ONGC, Hero Motocorp, Tata Steel, Cairn India, Vedanta, Tech Mahindra and Tata Motors gained 0.7-3 percent while BHEL, TCS, HUL and Bharti Airtel declined 1 percent.

The Indian rupee opened marginally lower at 67.24 per dollar today against previous close of 67.21.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, "Emerging Market and commodity currencies were supported by recovery of brent crude oil price to USD 41/bbl. Further easing of monetary policy by European Central Bank is expected in its meeting today."

"We expect the USD-INR to trade in a range of 66.95-67.25/dollar today," he said.

The euro slipped as investors await the outcome of the European Central Bank meeting, which they expect will result in interest rates falling deeper into negative territory.

New Zealand's kiwi dollar dropped toward its worst week in two months after the nation's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates to a record.
Asia markets were trading higher this morning with the Nikkei bouncing back after the 1 percent cut we saw yesterday. China is set to release its February inflation numbers, while South Korea's central bank will announce its monetary policy decision.

The US market ended higher in low volume, led by the direction of oil prices. Europe too ended in the green ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) meet.

Today, all eyes will be on ECB as it meets later in the day. The bank's Chief Mario Draghi is expected to take further easing steps and a possible further cut to the already negative deposit rate.

From the commodities space, crude prices surged 5 percent overnight with Nymex crude hitting three-month highs after a big gasoline inventory drawdown amid improving demand.