Sensex, Nifty end higher; HUL, Coal India, L&T major laggards

3:30 pm Market closing: The market has ended in green as the Sensex is up 118.07 points or 0.4 percent at 28123.44. The Nifty was up 49.20 points or 0.6 percent at 8673.25. About 1667 shares have advanced, 1032 shares declined, and 178 shares are unchanged.

NTPC, Adani Ports, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank and BHEL are top gainers while Coal India, L&T, Tata Steel, GAIL and HUL were losers in the Sensex.

3:15 pm M&A: Merger and acquisition deals worth USD 4 billion were announced in July thanks to a significant surge in domestic and inbound deal activity, taking the year-to-date deal tally to USD 19.87 billion.

According to assurance, tax and advisory firm, Grant Thornton's latest Dealtracker report, there were 44 M&A deals worth USD 4,083 million in July, while in the corresponding period last year, there were 43 transactions worth USD 2,082 million.

The overall M&A market witnessed significant surge in deal values (96 percent year-on-year) with intensive domestic and inbound deal activity.

2:55 pm Big deal? A synergy of around Rs 350 crore at the EBITDA level will be created in two years by  Dish TV's acquisition of Videocon D2H, says Manoj Behera, Assistant Vice President - Research-Media & Telecom, PhillipCapital.

This synergy will arise from the increase in Dish TV's subscriber base due to the merger. With the combined subscriber base of around 27 million, Dish TV's bargaining power with respect to content cost negotiation with the broadcaster increases as it can avail volume based discounts, he said.

Carriage revenues from the broadcaster may rise due to the increase in subscriber base, says Behera. Also, administration and overhead expenses may also reduce because of the deal.

2:45 pm Earnings: India Cements today posted a 16.34 percent jump in standalone net profit to Rs 43.98 crore in the quarter ended on June 30.

The company's net profit during the same quarter a year ago stood at Rs 37.8 crore, it said in a regulatory filing.

However, total income from operations decreased from Rs 1,225.7 crore in the year-ago period to Rs 1205.72 crore in the first quarter of the ongoing fiscal, it said. The financial results were approved by the company's Board of Directors in a meeting held today.

2:30 pm Gold check: Tracking a firm trend overseas, gold prices rose by 0.40 percent to Rs 31,492 per 10 grams in futures market today as traders indulged in built up fresh positions.

Analysts attributed the rise in gold futures to a firm trend overseas where gold climbed as the dollar retreated after minutes from July's Federal Reserve meeting signaled that US interest rates are poised to stay lower for longer.

The market is on positive note as the Sensex is up 93.10 points or 0.3 percent at 28098.47. The Nifty is up 38.70 points or 0.4 percent at 8662.75. About 1620 shares have advanced, 926 shares declined, and 184 shares are unchanged.

Adani Ports, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, NTPC and BHEL are top gainers while Coal India, Tata Steel, L&T, GAIL and Infosys are losers in the Sensex.

India has slapped anti-dumping duty on certain cold-rolled flat steel products from four nations including China and South Korea to guard domestic industry from cheap imports.

An anti-dumping duty of the difference between the landed value of the steel products and USD 594 per tonne will be levied, a Finance Ministry notification said.

The government had previously imposed anti-dumping duty on import of hot-rolled flat products of alloy or non-alloy steel from China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia. That duty, valid for six months, was the difference between the landed value and the respective prescribed value which is USD 474 per tonne and USD 557 per tonne.

1:55 pm IPO: RBL Bank will hit the capital markets on August 19 to raise over Rs 1,200 crore through an initial share-sale programme, the first IPO by a private sector lender in a decade. The plan includes raising up to Rs 832.50 crore through the issue of fresh shares and up to Rs 380.46 crore in an offer for sale by existing shareholders. The share sale, accounting for 10-11 per cent stake, will give the bank a valuation of over Rs 12,000 crore.

1:30 pm Liquor bars relook: Kerala Tourism Minister AC Moideen sought a "relook" on closure of liquor bars in tourist hotspots in the state which has seen a fall in arrivals causing a loss to the tourism industry.

 The previous UDF government had decided to close down 700-odd liquor bars attached to hotels below five star categories in 2014.

 Kerala has seen a severe dip in tourist arrivals and fall in revenues following the closure of bars.

"The present excise policy has dealt a severe blow to the tourism industry in Kerala," Moideen told reporters.

The Sensex is up 158.74 points or 0.6 percent at 28164.11, and the Nifty up 55.85 points or 0.6 percent at 8679.90. About 1611 shares have advanced, 815 shares declined, and 167 shares are unchanged.

Adani Ports, ICICI Bank, Bharti, NTPC, BHEL are top gainers while Coal India, GAIL, L&T, Tata Steel and Infosys are losers in the Sensex.

European stocks opened higher as markets digest minutes of the US Federal Reserve's July meeting.

Japanese shares dropped on Thursday morning in an otherwise positive Asian trading session, as a stronger yen weighed on sentiment. Data showed that Japan's exports fell 14 percent on-year in July, the worst drop in seven years, but in line with expectations, while imports declined 24.7 percent

12:55 pm European markets: European stocks opened higher as markets digest minutes of the US Federal Reserve's July meeting. Key earnings were in focus for investors on Thursday. Swiss food giant Nestle said first-half organic sales grew 3.5 percent, missing analyst expectations amid continued challenges in China.

12:45 pm IPO: RBL Bank will hit the capital markets on August 19 to raise over Rs 1,200 crore through an initial share-sale programme, the first IPO by a private sector lender in a decade. The plan includes raising up to Rs 832.50 crore through the issue of fresh shares and up to Rs 380.46 crore in an offer for sale by existing shareholders. The share sale, accounting for 10-11 per cent stake, will give the bank a valuation of over Rs 12,000 crore. RBL Bank, formerly known as Ratnakar Bank, has fixed a price band of Rs 224-225 for the share sale. The IPO will be open for public subscription on August 19 and close on August 23.

12:30 pm Exclusive: Oracle may seek to delist its Indian arm Oracle Financial Services from the bourses and is open to spending between Rs 7,000-8,000 crore for the delisting process, reports CNBC-TV18. The stock gained 8 percent on back of the news but soon cooled off to around 2 percent. Oracle's global team was in India last month to oversee details with respect to the likely delisting and will be appointing bankers soon. Currently, Oracle holds 74.2 percent stake in the Indian arm. Delisting will give larger control to Oracle's global arm on the Indian operations.

The Sensex is up 132.07 points or 0.5 percent at 28137.44, and the Nifty up 49.25 points or 0.6 percent at 8673.30. About 1544 shares have advanced, 770 shares declined, and 150 shares are unchanged.

Adani Ports, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, NTPC and BHEL are top gainers while Coal India, Tata Steel, L&T, GAIL and Asian Paints are losers in the Sensex.

Oil prices eased slightly in Asia today amid reports OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia would further raise output in August.

Prices hit five-week highs this week, supported by hopes that a Russian-Saudi cooperation may reach a pact to freeze output, easing the stubborn supply glut dogging the market since late last year.

OPEC members and their non-OPEC rivals are to meet informally in Algeria next month, and both Saudi and Russia have indicated they could discuss measures to stabilise prices.

11:45 am Exclusive: Oracle may seek to delist its Indian arm Oracle Financial Services from the bourses and is open to spending between Rs 7,000-8,000 crore for the delisting process, reports CNBC-TV18. The stock gained 8 percent on back of the news but soon cooled off to around 2 percent. Oracle's global team was in India last month to oversee details with respect to the likely delisting and will be appointing bankers soon. Currently, Oracle holds 74.2 percent stake in the Indian arm. Delisting will give larger control to Oracle's global arm on the Indian operations.

11:30 am Demerger plans: Shares of Fortis Healthcare rose 4 percent intraday on Thursday. The company is expected to announce demerger details of SRL Diagnostics into a separate entity on August 19.

Analysts feel the demerger may be done in two ways. First option is to demerge SRL Diagnotics from Fortis Healthcare and list it on exchanges as a seperate entity. Second option is to carve out SRL from Fortis and merge it with some other listed entity in other group company. The most important factor to watch out will be swap ratio.

Macquarie says that the merger will help unlock Rs 60 per share value for Fortis shareholders.

The market is still in a buying mode as the the Sensex is up 167.57 points or 0.6 percent at 28172.94. The Nifty up 55.05 points or 0.6 percent at 8679.10. About 1452 shares have advanced, 688 shares declined, and 134 shares are unchanged.

Adani Ports, ICICI Bank, NTPC, Bharti Airtel and BHEL are top gainers while Coal India, Asain Paints, L&T, Wipro and GAIL are losers in the Sensex.

Moody's Investors Service today retained India's growth forecast at 7.5 percent for 2016 but revised upwards estimates for China to 6.6 percent citing strong fiscal and monetary support.

In its latest assessment of the global economy, Moody's Investors Service said the outlook for emerging markets economies has stabilised but outlined the policy changes post the US presidential election in November as the most immediate downside risks to the global economic outlook.

Moody's now expects China to grow at the rate of 6.6 percent and 6.3 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively as compared to the previous forecast of 6.3 percent and 6.1 percent, with the higher growth rate being driven by significant fiscal and monetary policy support," it said in a statement.

10:55 am Views on oil: Technical analyst and CEO at Guppytraders.com, Daryl Guppy says, " In June we were bullish on oil, setting an upside target near USD 58 based on the breakout above USD 48. The upsides target was not achieved. The trend breakout failed to develop and the oil price fell. Despite this short-term behavior, the long-term outlook for oil is bullish with medium term targets at USD 58."

10:45 am Market outlook: Business for rural-focussed companies is expected to strengthen says Dhananjay Sinha of Emkay Global Financial Services speaking to CNBC-TV18 on the sideline of the Emkay Confluence. He also sees some improvement in urban demand.

Through the confluence Emkay is trying to assess whether rural and urban discretionary spending has improved at the ground level. It covers sectors like retail, information technology and banking and financial services, among others, Sinha says.

There has been increase in government spending and lot of thrust on policy front for rural India which is expected to drive demand, he says. Higher disposable income from pay commission implementation would also lift urban discretionary spending, he adds.

10:30 am Upgrade: Moody's Investors Service retained India's growth forecast at 7.5 per cent for 2016 but revised upwards estimates for China to 6.6 per cent citing strong fiscal and monetary support.

In its latest assessment of the global economy, Moody's Investors Service said the outlook for emerging markets economies has stabilised but outlined the policy changes post the US presidential election in November as the most immediate downside risks to the global economic outlook.

Moody's now expects China to grow at the rate of 6.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2016 and 2017, respectively as compared to the previous forecast of 6.3 per cent and 6.1 per cent, with the higher growth rate being driven by significant fiscal and monetary policy support," it said in a statement.

The market continues to rise with support from index heavyweights like banks. The Sensex is up 106.16 points or 0.4 percent at 28111.53 and the Nifty is up 33.50 points or 0.4 percent at 8657.55. About 1230 shares have advanced, 525 shares declined, and 90 shares are unchanged.

Bank Nifty is at 52-week high with gainers like HDFC twins, SBI, ICICI and Axis Bank. Gainers in the Sensex include Adani Ports, TCS and BHEL. Metals have cooled off from yesterday's rise. Coal India, GAIL, Tata Steel, L&T and Wipro are losers in the Sensex.

Oil prices dipped in early trading as the prospect of record Saudi output weighed on markets and as traders cashed in on profits following an almost uninterrupted price rally this month of nearly 20 percent.

Traders said the price dip was due to profit taking following a strong rally this month, and as traders priced in the prospect of another production record from top exporter Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is sending signals that it could boost its crude oil supplies in August, even higher than its record 10.67 million barrels per day reached in July, as it gets ready for tough talks next month for a global output freeze pact.

9:55 am Result poll: India Cements is likely to post net profit at Rs 33 crore in April-June quarter, down 10 percent from Rs 36.6 crore in corresponding quarter last fiscal. This may be due to higher tax expenses as there were no effective tax paid in Q1FY16.

According to a CNBC-TV18 poll, its total income may rise marginally by 4 percent in Q1 at Rs 1085 crore against Rs 1043 crore in year-months. PAT is expected to decline led

Sales volume is seen up 8 percent at 2.27 metric tonnes versus 2.10 metric tonnes due to demand pickup in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana markets and low base effect.

9:45 am Exclusive: Even as the central government finally succeeded in passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill in Parliament recently, it is learnt that the standard GST rate could be closer to 22 percent when the tax is rolled out, instead of the widely-expected figure of 18 percent. Sources in the government have told CNBC-TV18's Sapna Das that the current estimates being drawn out in North Block have worked out a GST rate of 22 percent that will likely be most amenable to states. The GST, 10 years in the making, will replace almost all state- and central-level indirect taxes and levies with a single tax and the eventual rate could cause much bickering between states and the Centre.

9:30 am View on world economy: European leaders and markets have something in common when it comes to acknowledging financial and economic risk emanating from the continent, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told CNBC. They have their heads in the sand. Following a brief dip in the wake of Britain's vote in June to leave the European Union, UK stocks have moved sharply higher, and US equities have struck new all-time highs. But markets are underpricing risks that include growing distrust of pro-EU centrist leaders amid widespread youth unemployment and a euro that has been proven a failure, Stiglitz said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

He criticized European leaders, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who appear set on pushing a message that any country that leaves the union will be punished.

The market has opened higher reacting positively to the minutes of Federal Reserve. The Sensex is up 125.97 points or 0.4 percent at 28131.34, and the Nifty is up 33.05 points or 0.4 percent at 8657.10. About 550 shares have advanced, 175 shares declined, and 24 shares are unchanged.

Dr Reddy's Labs, Adani Ports, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI are gainers while Wipro, GAIL, Coal India, L&T and Bajaj Auto are losers in the Sensex.

The Indian rupee opened lower by 9 paise at 66.85 per dollar on Thursday versus 66.76 Tuesday.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, "Despite strong payroll data, currency markets still believe that there will be no Fed rate hike in CY16. We expect the USD-INR pair to trade in a range of 66.70-66.95/dollar for the day."

The dollar slipped against the yen and the euro with the dollar-yen slipping below 100 with Fed officials split on hike.

Minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting showed policymakers were in no rush to raise interest rates.

The July meeting minutes released on Wednesday showed that Fed policymakers were generally upbeat about the US economic outlook and labor market. But they also said they wanted to "leave their policy options open" as any slowdown in hiring would argue against near-term monetary tightening.

Market participants interpreted the minutes as moderately positive for risk-taking appetite, with the Fed remaining divided on the timing of the next rate hike.

Asian stocks rose and the greenback languished near two-month lows. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent as investors added to positions after a 14 percent rise over the last two months.

US stocks ended slightly higher after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed voting members divided over whether to raise interest rates soon.

Crude prices remained steady as investors are worried that Saudi Arabia was cranking output to record highs even as OPEC talked of ways to ease a global glut.

Gold prices rise above USD 1350 an ounce following weakness in US dollar.