Sensex, Nifty end marginally higher; Axis Bank down 1%

3:30 pm Market closing: The market has ended with marginal gains as the Sensex was up 50.96 points or 0.2 percent at 27308.60. The Nifty is up 18.10 points or 0.2 percent at 8435.10. About 1417 shares have advanced, 1322 shares declined, and 303 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, ONGC, Tata Motors, ITC and Bharti were top gainers while Lupin, Axis Bank, Sun Pharma, Wipro and HDFC were losers in the Sensex.

3:15 pm Market Update: The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 52.33 points at 27309.97 and the Nifty up 17.30 points at 8434.30.

About 1425 shares advanced against 1292 declining shares on the BSE.

2:59 pm Sugar import duty: India, the world's biggest sugar consumer, has no plan to lower import duty on the sweetener, at least in the near term, a government official said.

Sugar prices in the local market have risen more than 10 percent in a month on an expected drop in production after back-to-back drought ravaged cane crop in the top producing western state of Maharashtra.

Traders were speculating that the price increase may force the government to lower import duty.

India's sugar production in 2016/17 is likely to fall to 22 million tonnes, down 4.3 percent from an earlier estimate, as mills in Maharashtra are closing early due to a cane shortage, industry officials told Reuters.

2:40 pm Interview: Panacea Biotec's revenue from the US market is likely to grow exponentially, says Joint Managing Director Rajesh Jain. The company on Wednesday received the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval for an anti-migraine drug for which it had filed the Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) in 2012.

Jain said the company expects three more approvals of the balance five ANDAs that are still under evaluation of the regulator.

Currently, the company generates annual revenue of Rs 10-11 crore from the US markets.

2:20 pm Earnings: Yes Bank's third quarter earnings beat analysts' expectations on Thursday, with profit rising 30.6 percent to Rs 882.6 crore compared to year-ago period. The growth was driven by strong net interest income, other income and lower provisions.

Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, grew by 30.2 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,507 crore, with loan growth of 38.7 percent at Rs 1.17 lakh crore at the end of December 2016.

According to analysts polled by CNBC-TV18, profit was estimated at Rs 813 crore and net interest income at Rs 1,477.2 crore for the quarter.

Other income or non-interest income surged 33.8 percent year-on-year to Rs 998.35 crore and operating profit jumped 26.46 percent to Rs 1,453.8 crore in the quarter ended December 2016.

2:00 pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks continued to consolidate in afternoon trade with the Nifty gyrating in a range of 30 points. Oil & gas, FMCG and PSU banks supported the market while private banking & financials, healthcare and select technology stocks were under pressure.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 25.16 points at 27282.80 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 2.10 points at 8419.10 while the broader markets continued to outperform with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indice rising 0.2-0.3 percent.

Cholamandalam, SBI, Yes Bank, Power Grid Corp, GAIL, Axis Bank, Infosys and GAIL were most active shares.

GAIL surged 4 percent as a meeting of the board of directors is scheduled on January 25 to consider issuance of bonus shares and fund raising by issuance of bonds on private placement basis.

European markets were mixed as investors digest remarks from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and wait to hear from President Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank.

1:55 pm Debt woes: The Debt Recovery Tribunal today ordered the SBI-led consortium of banks to start the process of recovering Rs 6,203 crore, at annual interest rate of 11.5 percent, from embattled tycoon Vijay Mallya and his companies in the Kingfisher Airlines case.

"I hereby ask the bankers to start the process of recovery of Rs 6,203 crore at the interest rate of 11.5 percent per annum from Mallya and his companies including UBHL, Kingfisher Finvest and Kingfisher Airlines," DRT Presiding Officer K Sreenivasan said in his order.

At the jam-packed new rented space of DRT which was inaugurated today, Sreenivasan also disposed of as many as 20 Interlocutory Applications including several by Mallya and his companies.

1:45 pm Exclusive: Bharti Group may discuss sale of its tower arm Bharti Infratel in its Board meet scheduled for next week, sources say. In October last year, the company had said that they are looking to sell a significant stake in Infratel.

KKR alongwith CPPIB consortium is interested to pick-up some stake in Infratel and the deal value is pegged around USD 10 billion.

CNBC-TV18's Nisha Poddar, quoting sources, said that Bharti Group and KKR have reached out to Vodafone, who has an agreement of Right to First Refusal (ROFR) by way of Indus Towers partnership with Bharti Airtel.

1:30 pm European markets: European markets opened higher on Thursday as investors digest remarks from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and wait to hear from President Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 was 0.08 percent higher.

Analysts do not expect any changes to the ECB's monetary policy for now but will be looking for details as to how that may change throughout the year.

Meanwhile, a number of UK-based banks, including Lloyds and HSBC, have said they could open subsidiaries in other European countries and transfer staff as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

The market continues to climb gradually with the Sensex up 66.90 points or 0.2 percent at 27324.54. The Nifty is up 13.55 points or 0.2 percent at 8430.55. About 1410 shares have advanced, 1114 shares declined, and 286 shares are unchanged.

GAIL, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, ONGC and Adani Ports are top gainers while Axis Bank, Wipro, Cipla, Lupin and M&M are losers in the Sensex.

The country's third largest private sector lender Axis Bank 's third quarter profit is expected to fall 63.1 percent year-on-year to Rs 801.6 crore, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18. Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, may grow 9.8 percent to Rs 4,568.5 crore in the quarter ended December 2016 compared with Rs 4,162.1 crore in same quarter last year. Key things to watch out for would be asset quality and impact on retail & SME business post demonetisation.

The European Central Bank will stick with implementing its monetary stimulus programme and hold its fire at its meeting on Thursday. However, the focus for analysts and reporters looks set to be the growing dissent inside the bank's governing council about when to taper its massive bond-buying scheme.

12:59 pm Market Update: Benchmark indices remained higher with the Sensex rising 51.97 points to 27309.61 and the Nifty up 11.35 points at 8428.35.

About 1395 shares advanced against 1110 declining shares on the BSE.

12:48 pm Earnings: Print media company DB Corp said consolidated profit grew by 6.7 percent year-on-year to Rs 118.1 crore in the quarter ended December 2016, driven by revenue growth.

Total income from operations during the quarter increased 6.3 percent to Rs 627.3 crore compared with Rs 590 crore in year-ago period, led by advertising revenue growth of 4 percent and circulation revenue growth of 9 percent.

Operating profit rose by 4.5 percent year-on-year to Rs 198.2 crore but margin contracted by 50 basis points to 31.6 percent in the quarter gone by.

DB Corp said its radio business' profit grew by 3 percent to Rs 8.1 crore and advertising revenue increased 12 percent to Rs 36.3 crore. Digital business showed 33 percent growth at Rs 16.2 crore on yearly basis.

12:37 pm Budget Expectations: The government may halve the cess on domestic crude oil to benefit companies like state-owned ONGC and Anil Agarwal-led Cairn India to offset global crude price rise from pushing up pump-gate prices of petrol and diesel in India.

Based on the recommendations made by domestic oil producers, finance minister Arun Jaitley is likely to cut the cess on domestic crude oil. An announcement is expected in the budget 2017-18 on February 1, a source, who did not wish to be identified, told Moneycontrol.

In budget 2016-17, Jaitley had converted the Rs 4,500 a tonne fixed levy on crude oil to 20 percent ad valorem charge, with an aim to reduce the impact. However, oil producers claimed that they pay more than Rs 4,500 a tonne, considering a surge in current crude prices to around USD54 a barrel now from about USD 45 a few months ago.

12:20 pm FII View: Ambit Capital is apprehensive about the likelihood of a sharp surge in markets in the near term. The fears come on the back of under-pressure FII flows and impact of demonetisation playing out, according to Saurabh Mukherjea of Ambit Capital.

Prevailing conditions aren't conducive for a big rally in the markets in the short term, Mukherjea told CNBC-TV18. The brokerage house had in November scrapped its FY17 Sensex target of 29,500 in view of the government's demonetisation drive. Ambit Capital's FY18 Sensex target stands at 29,000.

12:00 pm Market Check
Benchmark indices gained strength amid volatility in noon trade with the Nifty inching towards 8450 level, supported by oil & gas, PSU banks and telecom stocks.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 76.61 points at 27334.25 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 19.90 points to 8436.90. About 1374 shares advanced against 1061 declining shares on the BSE.

Gail (India) was top gainer among Sensex stocks, up nearly 5 percent as a meeting of the board of directors is scheduled on January 25 to consider issuance of bonus shares and fund raising by issuance of bonds on private placement basis.

PSU Bank index jumped 1 percent as IDBI Bank, SBI, PNB and Bank of Baroda gained 0.5-3 percent.

Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, SBI, ONGC, Adani Ports, ITC and Reliance Industries rose 1-2.5 percent while HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Wipro, TCS and Lupin were under pressure.

Asia markets traded mixed, with Japan's Nikkei rising nearly 1 percent.

US oil moved away from one-week lows touched the session before, with investors turning their attention to upcoming government data on US inventories. Brent crude rose 0.95 percent to to USD 54.43 a barrel after closing down 2.8 percent in the last session. US crude oil was trading up 0.90 percent at USD 51.54 per barrel.

11:55 am Poll: Country's third largest private sector lender Axis Bank 's third quarter profit is expected to fall 63.1 percent year-on-year to Rs 801.6 crore, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18. Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, may grow 9.8 percent to Rs 4,568.5 crore in the quarter ended December 2016 compared with Rs 4,162.1 crore in same quarter last year. Key things to watch out for would be asset quality and impact on retail & SME business post demonetisation. Brokerage houses Nomura as well as B&K Securities expect slippages for the quarter at around Rs 4,500 crore. In September quarter, slippages from watchlist were at Rs 7288 crore.

11:45 am FII view: Ambit Capital is apprehensive about the likelihood of a sharp surge in markets in the near term. The fears come on the back of under-pressure FII flows and impact of demonetisation playing out, according to Saurabh Mukherjea, Chief Executive Officer - Institutional Equities, Ambit Capital. Prevailing conditions aren't conducive for a big rally in the markets in the short term, Mukherjea told CNBC-TV18. The brokerage house had in November scrapped its FY17 Sensex target of 29500 in view of the government's demonetisation drive. Ambit Capital's FY18 Sensex target stands at 29,000. In view of the impact of demonetisation, organised players are gaining market share from the unorganised ones as can be seen from the Q3 earnings of some companies, Mukherjea said, adding, cash-oriented players have been hit hard.

11:30 am Exclusive: With the government considering a proposal to implement fat tax on junk food, sources say the Food Safety & Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on defining the term 'junk food'. Without a proper definition, tax implementation could become challenging for the government. Sources say FSSAI will consider a definition for High Fat, Sugar & Salt (HFFS) foods. It will also look at international standards and classifications while penning down the definition. This is likely to lead to change in labelling of packaged foods as they will have to mention it on their labels. Some clarity from the food regulator is expected in 1-2 months.

The market is in green with the Sensex up 72.96 points or 0.3 percent at 27330.60. The Nifty is up 19.55 points or 0.2 percent at 8436.55. About 1309 shares have advanced, 949 shares declined, and 287 shares are unchanged.

Tata Motors, Reliance, ONGC, ITC and Bharti Airtel are top gainers while HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, M&M and TCS are losers in the Sensex.

Gold futures today fell 0.61 percent to Rs 28,615 per 10 grams as participants cut their bets amid a weak global trend. Besides, profit-booking by speculators also weighed on gold prices.

Analysts attributed fall in prices to weak trend overseas as the dollar strengthened, reducing appeal of the precious metal as a safe haven and profit-booking by speculators at prevailing levels.

10:59 an Market Update: Benchmark indices continued to consolidate. The Sensex was up 30.11 points at 27287.75 and the Nifty gained 3.75 points at 8420.75.

About 1213 shares advanced against 966 declining shares on the BSE.

10:38 am Buzzing: Orient Green Power Company shares rallied more than 9 percent intraday. A media report indicated that Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) is in advanced talks to merge its wind energy assets with Chennai-based listed Orient Green Power.

"The boards of IL&FS and Orient are expected to meet soon and discuss a merger proposal which, if cleared, will help the entity to acquire more wind energy assets. The plan is to consolidate and use stock and cash to acquire assets that will help scale up capacity to over 2,000 MW by financial year 2018," a media report said quoting unnamed sources.

10:20 am Railway capex: In its highest-ever capital expenditure, the Railway Ministry is planning a capital outlay of about Rs 1.3 lakh crore and expecting a gross budgetary support of Rs 55,000 crore (GBS) for the fiscal year 2017-18, according t a media report.

During the current fiscal the Indian Railways spent only about 54 percent of its planned capital expenditure. The budgetary support this year was at Rs 45,000 crore. Despite this, it is seeking a higher support this year.

The ministry is hopeful of the budgetary support on the back of a unified Union and Railway Budget.

Recently, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled plans to undertake measures to trim costs significantly and reduce dependence on imported fuel. The plan, named Mission 41k, aims to electrify 24,000 kilometre of railway tracks over a five-year period.

10:00 am Market Check
Benchmark indices remained volatile in morning ahead of corporate earnings and Union Budget that scheduled to be announced on February 1. Globally investors awaited Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as US president.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 2.44 points at 27260.08 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 5.50 points to 8411.50 while the broader markets moderately higher on positive breadth. About 1078 shares advanced against 793 declining shares on the exchange.

Ensuing fortnight will see meaningful Q3FY17 earnings which remain the key monitorable and likely impact of demonetisation and management commentary will be key to watch out for, Dharmesh Kant of Motilal Oswal Securities says.

While the individual stock performance is based on Q3 FY17 earnings, he believes overall markets are likely to remain range bound as market will closely watch the Union Budget.

Axis Bank fell 1.6 percent ahead of quarterly earnings today. The country's third largest private sector lender's third quarter profit is expected to fall 63.1 percent year-on-year to Rs 801.6 crore and net interest income may grow 9.8 percent to Rs 4,568.5 crore, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18.

HDFC, HDFC Bank, Asian Paints, ICICI Bank and ITC were under pressure while Tata Motors, Reliance Industries, Adani Ports, Infosys and HUL gained.

9:45 am MF data: Equity mutual funds seem to be in top gear as they witnessed addition of over 43 lakh investor accounts or folios in 2016, taking the total tally to nearly 4 crore, mainly on account of strong retail participation.

Investor accounts have been increasing on account of robust contribution from smaller towns.

Folios are numbers designated to individual investor accounts though a single investor can have multiple ones.

According to the data from Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on total investor accounts with 43 active fund houses, the number of folios in equity and equity-linked saving schemes (ELSS) rose to 390 lakh (3,90,69,193) at the end of December 2016, from 347 lakh (3,47,13,413) in December-end 2015, a gain of 43.56 lakh.

9:30 am FII view: Abhay Laijawala of Deutsche Bank says he expects FY18 Budget to be centered around a sharp pro-poor/pro-rural focus in an attempt to mitigate the perceived hardships of demonetisation and stimulate demand.

According to him, Budget is likely to focus disproportionately on affordable housing as an engine of economic revival.

Further announcements on roadmap for rationalising the corporate tax architecture by lowering the tax rate and phasing out exemptions are expected, he says.

Tax on financial market transactions and an overhaul of direct taxation by reducing tax incidence for the middle class, likely financed through a mix of tax on financial instruments and higher tax rate at the upper end of the income pyramid can be expected, Laijawala feels.

The market has opened flat but the Nifty has managed to hold 8400. The Sensex is down 26.43 points or 0.1 percent at 27231.21 and the Nifty is down 7.10 points or  at 8409.90. About 498 shares have advanced, 278 shares declined, and 154 shares are unchanged.

BHEL, Tata Motors, Dr Reddy's, Adani Ports and Asian Paints are gainers while Axis Bank, GAIL, HUL, ITC, Sun Pharma, TCS are losers in the Sensex.

The Indian rupee slipped in the early trade. It has opened lower by 12 paise at 68.20 per dollar versus 68.08 Wednesday.

The dollar index strengthen boosted by comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and a solid reading on the US consumer price index and industrial output figures that outpaced expectations boosted dollar .

Asian markets are trading higher with the Nikkei up 1 percent on the back of a weaker yen. The drop in currency boosted export-oriented shares in the trade. Meanwhile, the Korean market is trading flat.

On the Wall Street, stocks closed mostly higher riding on rise in financials after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments on gradually raising interest rates. Financials have rallied since the US election on expectations of higher rates and of reduced regulations under President-Elect Donald Trump.

However, yields on 10-year treasuries climbed 10 basis points to 2.42 percent. The S&P 500 ended slightly higher, while the Dow Jones closed down 0.11 percent.