Sensex, Nifty end in red; Reliance down 3%, Bharti slumps 6%

3:30 pm Market closing: After a very choppy day, the market ended in red. The Sensex slipped 28.69 points or 0.1 percent at 28423.48, and the Nifty was down 11.55 points or 0.1 percent at 8774.65. About 1084 shares have advanced, 1645 shares declined, and 176 shares are unchanged.

Bharti was down 6 percent, Reliance fell 3 percent while BHEL, Wipro and Adani were losers in the Sensex. GAIL, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Lupin and Coal were gainers in the Sensex.

3:00 pm BoAML on telecom: The brokerage house sees some near term impact on Bharti/Idea Cellular financials given that the service is free till
December, and expect consensus downgrades on back of it.

"For the incumbents, we expect some adverse impact in the lower tier segment, as the lowest Rs 149 offer will appeal to the voice only consumers who will be able to make free voice calls on Jio's network. In our view, this is a surprise as the market was not expecting Jio to aggressively target the low end market," BoAML says.

The brokerage house sees three price point plans to be most disruptive – Rs 149/Rs 299/and Rs 499.

The impact on the higher tier segment is likely to be muted as Jio does not have any plan between Rs 299 to Rs 500 (Bharti/Idea total ARPUs are in the Rs. 180-190 range), it feels.

Currently incumbents offer 1-1.5GB at Rs 300 price points, but it expects them to respond with a more aggressive offer, and reiterate buy/neutral rating on Bharti/Idea.

2:52 pm Market off day's high: Equity benchmarks remained choppy despite strong Europe. The Sensex was up 14.21 points at 28466.38 while the Nifty fell 3.15 points to 8783.05.

2:42 pm Reliance on petchem biz: Mukesh Ambani says Reliance Industries has invested over Rs 1,10,000 crore on petchem business and investments in last 5 years have been more than investments in 35 years.

Ethane project at jamnagar will be ready by end of this fiscal while synthetic rubber plants are now operational, he adds.

Ambani says the company is working on monetising 3-4 tn cubic ft from KG basin under new gas price guidelines.

"We will be opening 200 fuel retail outlets soon," he says, adding petrochem & refining business to see 40-50 percent growth anually in future.

2:40 pm Market gains some strength: The Sensex was up 85.83 points at 28538 and the Nifty rose 22.90 points to 8809.10, led by banking & financials and FMCG stocks, though the fall in telecom stocks and Reliance Industries capped gains.

2:36 pm Motilal Oswal on Jio: "The launch of Reliance Jio was much awaited and is very much welcome. No doubt tariff plans for voice and data is going to be a Game Changer for telecom industry. As for Reliance its large part of capital employed in telecom segment around INR 1.35 lakh crore will start delivering revenues, Dharmesh Kant, Head - Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Sec said.

Investor community will closely monitor the roll out and effectiveness of Reliance Jio, in conjunction with plans by competitors to tackle new scenario, he said.

2:30 pm Auto sales: India Yamaha Motor today reported 22 percent increase in domestic sales to 74,868 units in August.

The company had sold 61,440 units in the same month a year ago, India Yamaha Motor said in a statement.

Yamaha Motor India Sales Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Roy Kurian said: "The major breakthrough in sale numbers is the result of Yamaha's continuous dedication to develop its products by exploring widely held customer choices. The vantage through strategic approach of customer centric activities and network development has contributed to the strong momentum.

2:15 pm LPG price hike: The price of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) was today hiked by about Rs 2 per cylinder, third increase since July, while the jet fuel price was cut by 3.8 percent.

A subsidised 14.2-kg cylinder will now cost Rs 425.06 in Delhi as against Rs 423.09 previously, according to state- owned oil firms.

This is the third straight increase in subsidised cooking gas since July when the government decided to go in for a small hike in rates every month to cut down subsidies.

LPG rates were last hiked by Rs 1.93 per cylinder on August 16. Prior to that rates were hiked by Rs 1.98 per 14.2 -kg cylinder on July 1.

The government had recently decided to take the diesel route for eliminating subsidies on LPG and kerosene. Diesel price was deregulated in November 2014 after the previous UPA government effected 50 paise hikes every month to eliminate subsidies.

2:00 pm Market Check
The consolidation continued in afternoon trade with the Nifty hovering around 8800 level due to lack of domestic as well global cues.

The Sensex was up 65.72 points at 28517.89 and the Nifty gained 12.10 points at 8798.30.

Reliance Industries fell 1 percent on profit booking. Finally chairman Mukhesh Ambani unveiled much awaited tariff plans for its telecom business, saying the Jio will commercially be launched on December 31.

Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular crashed 7-10 percent after Jio's tariff plans. Ambani says Reliance Jio roaming charges will be zero within India and will charge Rs 50 per gigabyte for data.

All the plans will have free voice calls & unlimited messages, he says while addressing annual general meeting.

1:55 pm Auto: India's second largest commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland said total sales in August fell 6 percent on account of lower growth in M&HCV segment.

The company sold 10,897 vehicles in the month gone by, compared with 11,544 units sold in same month last year.

Medium & heavy commercial vehicle sales during the month declined 8 percent to 8,201 units while light commercial vehicle sales grew by 2 percent to 2,696 units on yearly basis.

1:45 pm Telecom stocks: Idea Cellular's focus on the rural sector has been the differentiating factor for the company as taking mobile broadband to small towns has paid rich dividends, says Himanshu Kapania, MD of Idea.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, he said that the new data tariff plans from Bharti don't show a data price drop but is rather a pricing innovation.   

He further said that the company's long term strategy is volume led profit growth and is confident of delivering double digit volume growth post monsoon.

1:30 pm Market outlook: For several months now, noted analyst Sanjeev Prasad of Kotak Institutional Equities has maintained that the gush of liquidity globally has lifted stock prices to the point where fundamentals do not really matter. While he still maintains that it is difficult to say where the liquidity-driven rally stops, he says that the "easy-money trade" is over. "It is clear that the Fed will hike rates at some point," he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview, even though he does not see a major correction in stocks. "It is just that the market will go back to focusing on fundamentals."

The market continues to remain sluggish as the Sensex is up 31.71 points or 0.1 percent at 28483.88. The Nifty is up 4.30 points at 8790.50. About 1143 shares have advanced, 1331 shares declined, and 178 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, ICICI Bank, M&M, Tata Motors and Coal India are gainers while Bharti, Wipro, Asian Paints, Adani Ports and Reliance are losers in the Sensex.

Telecom stocks are under pressure as war in the sector is heating up after Reliance Jio is launched with attractive price points. Shares of Bharti and Idea fell 9 percent intraday on Thursday.

Reliance Industries' much-awaited Reliance Jio will be launched on September 5 and will be commercially launched on December 31. Addressing shareholders in the annual general meeting, Ambani said that Jio will bridge the gap to data abundance from data shortage.

12:58 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks remained trading in a tight range of 8775-8795 on the Nifty. The broader markets too were volatile.

The Sensex was up 30.23 points at 28482.40 and the Nifty gained 6.60 points at 8792.80. About 1324 shares declined against 1150 advancing shares on the BSE.

12:55 pm Earnings: United Breweries (Holdings) today reported narrowing of its standalone net loss at Rs 43.14 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2016.

The company had posted a net loss of Rs 373.73 crore during the same period of the previous fiscal.

However, its total income from operations rose by 33.63 percent to Rs 103.62 crore during the March quarter as against Rs 77.54 crore in the same period a year ago, United Breweries Holdings said in a filing to the BSE.

On May 24, United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd (UBHL) had sought time till July to file results for the last fiscal due to "uncertainties" resulting from ongoing cases against its Chairman Vijay Mallya.

12:52 pm Vedanta Group in focus: The Supreme Court today refused permission to Vedanta Group to export iron ore mined from Karnataka while allowing National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to continue with the dual pricing of the minerals.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said in its verdict that NMDC is free to fix the price of minerals and continue with the dual pricing.

The apex court also rejected the prayer of Vedanta Group for referring the matter to the High Court for adjudication.

The company had challenged the decision by a court-appointed monitoring committee denying it the permission to export the iron ore.

12:48 pm Oil rebounds: Oil prices rose in Asian trade, rebounding on a weaker US dollar after falling around 3 percent or more in the previous session following a surprisingly large build in US crude and distillate stocks last week.

"The weaker dollar is providing support for oil prices today. The direction of oil prices is governed by supply and the strength of the dollar," said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney's Ayers Alliance.

The US dollar index slipped against a basket of currencies. A weaker dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities including oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Brent and US crude futures were down 0.6 percent each.

12:46 pm Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the 4G network would cover 90 percent of India's 1.25 billion population by March 2017 and would eventually cover 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages.

12:42 pm COAI says Reliance Jio is being launched with very aggressive price points. "We are not sure if adequate interconnect is begin providedd at this point," it says.

12:40 pm Europe opens: European stocks opened higher as markets react to a rebound in oil prices and the latest data out of China.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index opened 0.2 percent higher with all sectors in positive territory.

European markets bucked the gloomy trend set in Asia, where markets traded mostly lower on Thursday, shrugging off a better-than-expected reading on China's manufacturing sector.

12:35 pm Ambani says the company is working on monetising 3-4 tn cubic ft from KG basin under new gas price guidelines.

"We will be opening 200 fuel retail outlets soon," he says, adding petrochem & refining business to see 40-50 percent growth anually in future.

12:30 pm Mukesh Ambani says Reliance Industries has invested over Rs 1,10,000 crore on petchem business and investments in last 5 years have been more than investments in 35 years.

Ethane project at jamnagar will be ready by end of this fiscal while synthetic rubber plants are now operational, he adds.

12:23 pm Auto sales: Ashok Leyland said total sales in August fell 6 percent to 10,897 vehicles compared with 11,544 units sold in same month last year.

Light commercial vehicle sales grew by 2 percent to 2,696 units but medium & heavy commercial vehicle sales declined 8 percent to 8,201 units on yearly basis.

The stock fell more than 1 percent after disappointing sales.

12:20 pm Mukesh Ambani says Reliance owns the highest number of channels and channels reached out to 500 million viewers.

12:15 pm Analyst on Maruti: Mihir Jhaveri, of Religare Capital Markets said the house still has a buy rating on the stock because there is no competition for Maruti, especially at that scale and size it operates.

According to him, the next two years will be very good for the company.

Overall the numbers were in line with the estimates for them, said Jhaveri, adding that the mini segment saw some pressure because of constraint on capacity and competition from the likes of Renault Kwid.

He said the sales trend going forward would remain around 1.3 lakh units or be only slightly higher.

12:10 pm Ambani says incumbents must not misuse market power to create unfair hurdles and incumbent operators have significant advantage over new entrants.

Data, voice, video & apps free for  users from September 5-December 31, he says.

12:05 pm Mukesh Ambani says Jio is dedicated to realising PM Narendra Modi's digital movement and will move India from 'data shortage' to 'data abundance'.

12:00 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks continued to be volatile as the Nifty remained in a tight range around 8780 in noon trade.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 16.21 points at 28435.96 and the Nifty down 8.35 points at 8777.85.

Reliance Industries remained in focus after the company's chairman Mukesh Ambani decided to launch Reliance Jio on September 5. Commercial launch of Jio will be on December 31.

Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular shed 8 percent after Reliance Jio's tariff plans.

11:55 am Reliance is introducing new 4G LTE smartphone at a price of Rs 2999. No roaming charges in the spirit of One India

11:45 am Telecom stocks are reacting negatively as Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced tariff plans of Reliance Jio. Shares of Idea and Bharti fell 3-4 percent intraday on Thursday. Addressing shareholders, Ambani says that RelianceJio's base rate for data will be one tenth of current market prices.

Reliance Jio roaming charges will be 'Zero' within India. All domestic voice calls are free.

11:40 am Reliance Jio will be commerically launched on September 5.

11:35 am The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday imposed Rs 6,700 crore penalty on 11 cement companies and their lobby group Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) for alleged cartelization and price collusion.

But analysts say that the order is based on circumstantial evidence and are confident it would not hold up to scrutiny if challenged.

As such, they believe that it is unlikely that the penalty will eventually be enforced and so, a material impact on companies earnings in the future is unlikely.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Mahesh Bhadang of Nirmal Bang and Sanjay Ladiwala, Chairman of Cement Stockists & Dealers Association of Bombay, say that cement prices are determined by forces of demand and supply and said they do not expect any fall in cement prices in the wake of the order.

11:30 am Macro data: Indian factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 15 months in August, helped by surging new orders, while only modest price increases should give the central bank scope to ease policy further, a survey showed.

The data will cheer policymakers after an official report on Wednesday showed Indian annual economic growth slowed in the April-June quarter to 7.1 percent, short of expectations for 7.6 percent in a Reuters poll.

The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 52.6 in August from July's 51.8, marking its eighth month above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

11:25 am Market check: The Sensex is up 32.47 points or 0.1 percent at 28484.64, and the Nifty up 8.75 points or 0.1 percent at 8794.95. About 1191 shares have advanced, 1101 shares declined, and 148 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, ICICI Bank, M&M, Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto are top gainers while Wipro, Asian Paints, Bharti Airtel, Adani Ports and Sun Pharma were losers in the Sensex.

11:20 am RIL AGM: Reliance Jio is our commitment to enrich every Indian's life. Mukesh Ambani says that network is the first pillar of Reliance Jio.

11:15 am Auto sales: Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest passenger vehicles manufacturer, has registered a 12.2 percent growth in August sales, driven largely by Vitara Brezza, Ciaz and some compact cars. It sold 1.32 lakh units during the month against 1.17 lakh units sold in same period last year. Domestic sales increased by 12.3 percent to 1.19 lakh vehicles and exports grew by 10.8 percent to 12,280 units compared with year-ago period.

11:10 am RIL AGM: Chairman Mukesh Ambani Reliance Jio is dedicated to realising PM Modi's digital movement. He says that Reliance Jio will move India to data abundance from data shortage.

The market is still flat. The Sensex is up 24.46 points at 28476.63 and the Nifty is up 9.10 points or 0.1 percent at 8795.30. About 1180 shares have advanced, 979 shares declined, and 140 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, ICICI Bank, M&M, Tata Motors and Reliance are top gainers while Wipro, Adani Ports, Asian Paints, HDFC Bank and Bharti Airtel are losers in the Sensex.

Reliance much-awaited 42nd AGM meeting begins.

Gold held steady above two-month lows hit in the previous session after the dollar gave up gains as investors wait for clues to the next US interest rate hike from the nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising US interest rates which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

10:50 am August PMI: Indian factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 15 months in August, helped by surging new orders, while only modest price increases should give the central bank scope to ease policy further, a survey showed.

The data will cheer policymakers after an official report on Wednesday showed Indian annual economic growth slowed in the April-June quarter to 7.1 percent, short of expectations for 7.6 percent in a Reuters poll.

The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 52.6 in August from July's 51.8, marking its eighth month above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

10:35 am Gold steady: Gold held steady above two-month lows hit in the previous session after the dollar gave up gains as investors wait for clues to the next US interest rate hike from the nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

"Technicals show that gold and silver prices need some correction and will see some mild rebound. But, Friday's jobs data is going to be crucial," said Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Group.

"If the jobs data is going to be good, gold will fall to USD1,260-USD1,270 levels as markets will hope for a rate hike in September."

Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to USD 1,309.76 per ounce. The metal touched a low of USD1,304.91 on Wednesday, its lowest since June 24.

US gold futures were up 0.1 percent at USD 1,312.90.

10:20 am Coal Min on strike: Indian power plants have enough coal on hand to operate even if nothing is mined over the next 50 to 60 days, the coal and power minister said ahead of a proposed one-day strike by some Coal India workers on Friday.

"The nation as a whole has sufficient supply of coal," minister Piyush Goyal said late on Tuesday at a conference in Mumbai, according to a government statement released on Thursday.

 "Even if no coal is mined for the next 50 to 60 days, the power industry can rest assured that they would get an uninterrupted supply of coal to keep their plants running".

More than a million workers across multiple sectors plan to strike in India on Friday for higher wages and to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's labour reforms.

10:00 am Market Check
Equity benchmarks continued to consolidate after rallying in previous three consecutive sessions. Maruti Suzuki fell half a percent after August auto sales data with total sales growing 12.2 percent YoY.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 4.63 points at 28456.80 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 4.05 points to 8790.25 while the broader markets marginally outperformed.

About 1063 shares advanced against 853 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

RBL Bank, NDTV, Welspun India, HCC, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank were the most active shares on exchanges.

9:55 am FII view:  Global financial services major Citigroup has maintained year-end Sensex target at 28,800 amid expected rise in interest rates by the US Fed post its chair Janet Yellen saying the case for rate hike was strengthening.

While estimating the US Fed rates hike only by December, this year, Citigroup in a note analysing the impact of such an increase on Indian equities said in the past, period post the hikes showed that the markets had given positive returns in most cases.

According to the US-based firm, its Sensex target of 28,800 "remains unchanged" and it expects "domestic fundamentals (corporate earnings) to drive markets in the medium term and would use any consolidation post-Fed as an opportunity to buy".

9:45 am Airline stocks cheery: Shares of airline companies rallied on aviation fuel price cut. Shares of InterGlobe, Jet Airways and SpiceJet were up 1-3 percent intraday on Thursay as aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price was cut by 3.8 percent by 3.8 percent to Rs 45411/kl. This is second consecutive ATF price cut after August.

Earlier in August, ATF prices were reduced by 4.2 percent. This impacts all aviation companies positively as ATF forms 40% of operating costs. This follows five ATF price hikes till July. ATF price was hiked by 5.5 percent in July for the fifth month in a row. In the five increases, ATF rates had gone up by 25 percent, or Rs 9,985.87, per kl since March.

ATF rates vary at different airports because of differential local sales tax or value-added tax (VAT).

9:30 am Cement woes: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed Rs 6,700 crore penalty on 11 cement companies and their lobby group Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) for alleged cartelisation and price collusion.

But analysts say that the order is based on circumstantial evidence and are confident it would not hold up to scrutiny if challenged.

As such, they believe that it is unlikely that the penalty will eventually be enforced and so, a material impact on companies earnings in the future is unlikely.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Mahesh Bhadang of Nirmal Bang and Sanjay Ladiwala, Chairman of Cement Stockists & Dealers Association of Bombay, say that cement prices are determined by forces of demand and supply and said they do not expect any fall in cement prices in the wake of the order.

The market has opened flat as the Sensex is up 15.33 points at 28467.50. The Nifty is up 5.65 points at 8791.85. About 486 shares have advanced, 298 shares declined, and 42 shares are unchanged.

Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel and ITC are top gainers while Reliance, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC Bank and L&T are losers in the Sensex.

The Indian rupee opened lower at 67.04 per dollar against previous close 66.96.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said, "In the backdrop of Jackson Hole speeches, the focus is now on US Non-Farm Payroll data due tomorrow. The odds of a September Fed rate hike has now gone up. This has resulted in mild dollar rally against major currencies though rupee has been steady."

The US dollar rose to three-week highs against a basket of currencies after data showed that jobs gains in August were roughly in line with expectations, before paring gains on weak manufacturing data.

Asian shares dipped after lower crude oil prices dented Wall Street, as markets waited to see if US employment data could put the Federal Reserve on track to hike interest rates.

Crude oil futures steadied after skidding on data showing a large surprise weekly build in US crude and distillate stockpiles and a smaller-than-expected drawdown in gasoline.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.2 percent in early trading, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.2 percent.
Stocks ended lower on Wall Street, as energy shares tracked oil prices lower, and the S&P posted a loss for August, the first negative month for the benchmark index since February.

The Nasdaq gained 1 percent in August and the S&P shed 0.1 percent, speaking to stocks' resiliency after the S&P hit an all-time high mid-month. It ended within 1 percent of its record close.

Crude oil prices fell 3 percent, paring their big gains for August, after government data showed a larger-than-expected weekly build in US crude and distillate stockpiles and a smaller-than-expected drawdown in gasoline.

From the precious metals space, gold slid to a two-month low after forecast-beating US jobs data stoked speculation that the Federal Reserve would move ahead with plans to raise interest rates, briefly propelling the dollar index to its highest in three weeks.