Nifty ends at 7499, Sensex up 131 points; ICICI, Infosys gain

3:30 pm Market closing: After a lot of struggle, the market has ended higher. The Sensex is up 131.31 points or 0.5 percent at 24682.48, and the Nifty is up 38.15 points or 0.5 percent at 7498.75. About 1160 shares have advanced, 1408 shares declined, and 159 shares are unchanged.

ICICI Bank, Infosys, Cipla, Axis Bank and HDFC were top gainers while Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma, GAIL and ONGC were major losers in the Sensex.

2:59 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks extended upside in late trade with the Sensex rising 116.40 points to 24667.57 and the Nifty climbing 35.15 points to 7495.75.

ITC (1.7 percent), Infosys (1.6 percent), ICICI Bank (1.2 percent) and Lupin (1.2 percent) are the top gainers in Nifty. Among the losers are Tata Steel (-0.1 percent), Coal India (-0.1 percent), NTPC (-0.1 percent) and Adani Ports (-0.1 percent).

In sectoral performance as reflected by the respective indices, IT (0.7 percent), FMCG (0.7 percent) and healthcare (0.1 percent) gained, while consumer durables (-3.5 percent), metals (-0.8 percent), auto (-0.4 percent) and power (-0.1 percent) were under pressure.

European shares were trading firm with Germany's DAX up 68 points at 10002, France's CAC up 22 points at 4495, and UK's FTSE up 19 points at 6159.    

Key Asian markets ended mostly higher. Taiwan's Taiwan Index led gainers, closing 87 points or 1.0 percent higher at 8699. Korea's KOSPI gained 4 points to end at 1974, China's Shanghai rose 6 points to 2870 and Singapore's Straits Times climbed 2 points to 2841. In laggards Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 31 points to 20257, and Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 142 points to close at 16974.

2:45 pm FDI: Foreign Direct Investment in the country increased by 29 percent for the 15-month period -- ended December last year -- after the launch of 'Make in India' initiative, Parliament was informed today.

Launched on September 25, 2014, the initiative aims at promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation.

"FDI inflow has increased 29 percent during October 2014 to December 2015 (15 months after 'Make in India') compared to the 15 months period prior to the launch of this initiative," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

2:30 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks bounced back on support from Infosys (up 1.5 percent), ITC (up 1.5 percent), HDFC (up 0.7 percent), HDFC Bank (up 0.5 percent) and ICICI Bank (up 0.5 percent).

The Sensex rose 61.67 points to 24612.84 and the Nifty climbed 21.45 points to 7482.05 but the market breadth remained negative as about 1493 shares declined against 961 advancing shares on the BSE.

2:15 pm Tata Motors bags order: Tata Motors today said it will supply 25 hybrid electric buses to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

The contract to supply Tata Starbus Diesel Series Hybrid Electric Bus with full low floor configuration is the single largest order awarded for hybrid electric vehicle technology, Tata Motors said in a statement.

It did not disclose the value of the contract.

With these buses, the MMRDA will connect Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) to the railways stations of Sion, Bandra and Kurla in the next one year, improving feeder services, to the fastest-growing business hub in Mumbai, it added.

2:00 pm Market check
Equity benchmarks recouped more than half of losses in afternoon trade, tracking positive European cues. The Sensex fell 68.92 points to 24482.25 and the Nifty declined 15.70 points to 7444.90.

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

Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma, Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, Vedanta, Asian Paints and PNB dropped 1-4 percent. Infosys, ITC, Lupin, Grasim and BPCL gained 0.5-1 percent.

European equities edged higher today as markets await the latest interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee. France's CAC, Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE gained 0.4-0.6 percent.

1:30 pm Auto sector: The automobile sector currently has lot of tailwinds to support growth, says Ashish Nigam, Senior VP - auto & auto ancillaries at Axis Capital, speaking to CNBC-TV18 on the sidelines of an Auto investor conference hosted by Axis. Considering that we are in the early stages of an easing rate cycle and fuel prices are also benign, there are ample pointers towards a recovery in the near term, Nigam says. He points out that historically commercial vehicles have taken the lead in the recovery cycle followed by cars and utility vehicles (UVs) and then two-wheelers. As the commercial vehicle segment has seen good recovery, investors hope to see similar upmove in the cars and UV segments now.

The market is still under pressure as the Sensex is down 154.09 points or 0.6 percent at 24397.08. The Nifty is down 42.25 points or 0.6 percent at 7418.35. About 774 shares have advanced, 1571 shares declined, and 138 shares are unchanged.

Infosys, ITC, Lupin, Maruti and NTPC are top gainers while  Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma, Axis Bank and SBI are losers in the Sensex.

The rupee trimmed its initial losses, though trading almost flat by a paise down against the American currency at 67.39 in late morning deals on bouts of dollar demand from importers amid lower equities.Meanwhile, the dollar index was up 0.08 percent at 96.73 against a basket of six currencies in the early trade.

Overseas, the dollar was stable against its major rivals in early Asian trade, as markets waited for fresh guidance from the Federal Reserve.

12:59 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks continued to trade lower ahead of Federal Reserve's two-day meeting outcome due tonight.

The BSE Sensex was at 24379 , down 172 points or 0.7 percent over its previous close. The Nifty declined 47 points to 7412.

Hindalco (-5 percent), Vedanta (-4 percent), Bajaj Auto (-3 percent) and PNB (-3 percent) were the big losers in the Nifty. Other laggards in the index were Bharti Airtel (-1 percent), Zee Entertainment (-1 percent), Hero Motocorp (-1 percent) and Adani Ports (-2 percent).

Gainers included BPCL (1 percent), ITC (1 percent) and Infosys (1 percent).

12:40 pm Banks' advance tax: Bad loans have hit the banking sector's advance tax payouts for March quarter, with SBI paying a 60 percent lower tax,  ICICI Bank showing a marginal increase, while HDFC Bank posting a 14 percent growth in tax liability.

The State Bank of India paid an advance tax of Rs 690 crore as against Rs 1,749 crore paid in the March quarter last fiscal, sources in the I-T department told PTI here.

Its private sector rival ICICI Bank fared a tad better, paying Rs 1,300 crore as against Rs 1,295 crore in the year-ago period.

However, immunity from the NPA problems resulted in HDFC Bank's outgo rising to Rs 1,600 crore from Rs 1,400 crore year ago, they said.

12:20 pm Market Update: Vibhav Kapoor of IL&FS believes that Nifty could inch towards 9,000 mark by March 2017 if global factors stabilises and monsoon turns out to be good, unlike the last two seasons. With the fears of global recession coming down, markets have started to settle down, he says.

The worst in earnings cycle is over and one might not see further downgrades in earnings from FY17, he says.

Kapoor says worst in commodities as well as emerging markets (EMs) is over and from hereon, one will see fund inflows. ''We will see gradual, but definite improvement in commodities in coming years,'' he says adding that this will be a certain positive for the Indian economy.

The market extended losses in noon trade with the Sensex falling 173.11 points to 24378.06 and the Nifty losing 46.55 points to 7414.05, weighed down by banking & financials, auto, infra and pharma stocks.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were down 1.3 percent and 0.93 percent, respectively. About two shares declined for every share advancing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Infosys and ITC bucked the trend, up 0.8 percent each while Hindalco Industries topped selling list on Sensex, down 4.5 percent followed by Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, L&T, Axis Bank and SBI with over a percent loss.

11:55 am gas subsidy: GMR, GVK  Gama and Lanco are among those that have fully bought the entire 7.2 mmscmd gas on offer in a reverse e-auction with a subsidy component of about Rs 1,200 crore to buy expensive R-LNG (regassified LNG) for running their stranded power plants. "The auction for buying expensive 7.2 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic metres per day) gas under the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) for stranded gas-based power projects (SGPs) was held today. The entire quantity was fully secured by different plants," a source said. "The average price of this gas ranges from USD 7.2-7.5 per mmBtu. The auction for 1.1 mmscmd gas for domestic gas projects (DGPs) getting sub-optimal supply will be held tomorrow." The auction was conducted by the state-run MSTC and the gas will be supplied for 6 months till September 30, 2016.

11:30 am Market outlook: Vibhav Kapoor of IL&FS believes that Nifty could inch towards 9,000 mark by March 2017 if global factors stabilises and monsoon turns out to be good, unlike the last two seasons. With the fears of global recession coming down, markets have started to settle down, he says. The worst in earnings cycle is over and one might not see further downgrades in earnings from FY17, he says. Kapoor says worst in commodities as well as emerging markets (EMs) is over and from hereon, one will see fund inflows. ''We will see gradual, but definite improvement in commodities in coming years,'' he says adding that this will be a certain positive for the Indian economy.

The market continues to skid as the Sensex is down 107.45 points or 0.4 percent at 24443.72. The Nifty slips 26.70 points or 0.4 percent at 7433.90. About 852 shares have advanced, 1221 shares declined, and 129 shares are unchanged.

ITC, Infosys, BHEL, NTPC and Hero MotoCorp are top gainers while Hindalco, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel and Dr Reddy's are losers in the Sensex.

Continued low oil prices will boost spending in India and help mitigate fiscal and current account deficits, says a report by Standard & Poor's.

India still leads the pack in terms of Asia Pacific GDP growth, but 2016 is shaping up as a year of reckoning on the policy front, according to the report.

"Continued low oil prices boost spending in India more than elsewhere, and help mitigate the twin fiscal and current account deficits," S&P Ratings Service said.

The sluggish global demand will prolong the pain for exporters, it said, adding the recent budget emphasised prudence over growth, and focused on the rural economy.

10:59 am Market Update: The Sensex fell 130 points to 24420 and the Nifty declined 33 points to 7426.

Hindalco (-4 percent), Vedanta (-3 percent), Sun Pharma (-2 percent) and Asian Paints (-2 percent) were the big losers in the Nifty.

Other laggards in the index were Adani Ports (-1 percent),GAIL (-1 percent),Bharti Airtel (-1 percent) and Zee Entertain (-1 percent).

Gainers included ITC (2 percent), Bank of Baroda (1 percent), BPCL (1 percent) and BHEL (1 percent).

Key Asian markets were mixed. Among gainers, Taiwan's Taiwan Index was up 76 points at 8687, China's Shanghai was up 4 points at 2868, and Korea's KOSPI was up 1 points at 1971. In laggards, Singapore's Straits Times was down 0 points at 2839, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 88 points at 20200, and Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 144 points at 16972.

10:40 am Buzzing: Shares of Anuh Pharma fell 7.5 percent intraday, in addition to 10 percent fall in previous session after European health regulator has banned three drugs of the company.

"Following the inspection of manufacturing site of Anuh Pharma at Boisar (Maharashtra), the EDQM Ad Hoc Committee has suspended certificate of suitability for Erythromycin Ethyl Succinate, Erythromycin and Pyrazinamide," says the Mumbai-based pharma company in its filing yesterday.

European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare has also decided to close application for a certificate of suitability of Erythromycin Stearate.

Products banned by EDQM are less than 3 percent of company's sales.

10:20 am Interview: GVK Power and Infrastructure , which won 0.67 mmscmd for 220 megawatt (MW) Jegurupaddu II plant and 0.32 mmscmd for 464 MW Gautami CCPP plant in the government third gas pooling auction, says plants will operate only at 30 percent plant load factor (PLF).

The government on Tuesday saw lukewarm response to auctioning under the gas pooling scheme for stranded power plants, receiving bids for 7.2 mmscmd.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Issac George, Director & CFO of GVK Power says, the two plants were sitting idle for the last two years, as due to lack of gas terminal on East coast, the company could not buy gas from spot market despite cheap prices.

Even with two new plants, George says it will be difficult to breakeven, as PLF of at atleast 60-70 percent is required for that.

Equity benchmarks as well as broader markets continued to consolidate with a negative bias. Banking & financials, healthcare and select auto stocks fell while index heavyweights ITC, Infosys and Reliance Industries supported.

The Sensex declined 106.62 points to 24444.55 and the Nifty slipped 25.80 points to 7434.80. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices fell 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Shares of HDFC, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, Lupin, M&M, Dr Reddy's Labs and Bharti Airtel declined 1-2 percent while ITC gained more than 1 percent.

9:45 am Fed: US Federal Reserve policymakers are seen leaving short-term interest rates unchanged at a two-dfay policy meeting that began Tuesday, but also to signal that a rate hike is not too far off as long as the job market and inflation continue to improve.

The meeting began at 1 pm EDT (1700 GMT), a Fed spokesperson said in an email. The Fed is due to issue a statement at the conclusion of the meeting on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a news conference at 2:30 pm.

The US central bank lifted borrowing costs in December for the first time in nearly a decade, but uncertainty over the impact on the US economy of slower growth in China and Europe since the beginning of the year has driven policymakers to hold off on any further rate hikes since then.

9:30 am IPO: Bangalore-based HealthCare Global Enterprises initial public offering (IPO) has opened for subscription. The issue which will close on March 18, priced at Rs 205-218 per share is planning to raise Rs 611 crore to Rs 650 crore.

The issue has already raised Rs 292 crore from 11 anchor investors, at higher end of price band of Rs 218 per share. Nearly one third of anchor investment is allotted to IFC (Rs 95 cr), while rest were bought by Sabre Partners, Citi, Sundaram MF, HDFC Std Life Insurance, Reliance Life, Chennai 2007.

The market has opened flat on Wednesday. The Sensex is down 43.78 points or 0.2 percent at 24507.39, and the Nifty is down 3.55 points at 7457.05. About 290 shares have advanced, 147 shares declined, and 33 shares are unchanged.

BHEL, Adani Ports, Lupin, L&T and Infosys are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Bajaj Auto, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC, ICICI Bank and Tata Motors.

The Indian rupee opened marginally higher at 67.35 per dollar on Wednesday versus previous close of 67.38.

Pramit Brahmbhatt of Veracity said, "Weakness in global equity market will cause weakness in domestic equity market and rupee will depreciate further continuing with yesterday's pain. A levels of 67.50/dollar will have meaningful support for rupee."

The dollar was in a holding pattern as markets waited for fresh guidance from the Federal Reserve.