Sensex flat, Nifty ends at 8793; IT stocks rally again

3:30 pm Market Closing: Benchmark indices closed rangebound session on a flat note, with the Sensex rising 4.55 points to 28334.25 and the Nifty up 15.15 points at 8793.55.

About 1533 shares declined against 1311 advancing shares on the BSE.

TCS, Infosys and Wipro gained for third consecutive session, up 0.7-2.9 percent despite rupee gains against US dollar. Adani Ports gained 2.3 percent.

However, ITC, ICICI Bank, Lupin, HDFC, Asian Paints and Dr Reddy's Labs were down 0.6-2 percent.

3:05 pm Drug launch: Dr Reddy's Labs has announced the expansion  of its commercial operations in Europe with the introduction of its portfolio of generics in France.

According to a recently issued statement, the products will be made available in the hospital market in March this year in the area of oncology and anti-infectives, including antimycotics.

The company recently launched select products of its hospital portfolio in Italy and Spain, and is looking to further strengthen its presence in those two countries with the launch of anti-HIV products this year.

2:45 pm Market Update: Benchmark indices continued to gyrate in a tight range. The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 36.56 points at 28366.26 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 22.45 points at 8800.85.

2:43 pm Interview: Government impetus on construction equipment, railways and agriculture in the Budget will keep Escorts' growth trajectory going for the next 2-3 years, says CFO Bharat Madan. He expects 8-10 percent growth in the tractors segment in FY18.

Madan expects double-digit growth in tractor industry to continue.  Construction business margins, however, might remain under pressure due to inflation, he says.

2:25 pm Earnings: Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) has posted 5.7 percent decline in its net profit at Rs 801 crore in the quarter ended December 2016. It had posted net profit of Rs 849.4 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

Total income of the company was up by 1.2 percent at Rs 10,587 crore against Rs 10,464 crore.

1:59 pm SEBI's agenda: Markets regulator Sebi's board will meet tomorrow to take forward reform measures and discuss amending Debenture Trustee regulations, steps taken regarding P-notes, collective investment scheme and cases involving NSE and NSEL.

Before the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also address Sebi's board and top officials on steps announced in the Union Budget with regard to capital markets and overall economy.

The Sebi board is likely to initiate a public consultation process for changes to the Debenture Trustee (DT) regulations, wherein an entity will not be prohibited from acting as a trustee if the government provides guarantees for the debenture issued, sources said.

1:40 pm Earnings: Pharmaceuticals firm Alkem Laboratories reported 24.89 percent increase in consolidated net profit at Rs 233.4 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2016.

The company had posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 186.89 crore in the same quarter last fiscal, Alkem Laboratories said in a BSE filing.

Total income from operations during the period under review stood at Rs 1,481.92 crore as against Rs 1,287.84 crore in the same quarter last fiscal, up 15 per cent.

Total expenses during the third quarter were higher at Rs 1,240.17 crore as against Rs 1,074.74 per cent in the year ago period.

1:30 pm Market Check
Equity market remained lacklustre in afternoon after SBI reported better-than-expected earnings and stable asset quality in December quarter.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 27.25 points at 28356.95 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 16.90 points to 8795.30.

SBI was the most active stock on exchanges, followed by ICICI Bank, Oberoi Realty, Aptech, Tata Steel, Grasim, TCS and Infosys.

Adani Ports, TCS, Tata Steel, Infosys, Grasim, Tech Mahindra and Bank of Baroda were leading gainers while GAIL, Cipla, Lupin, ITC, Dr Reddy's Labs and Aurobindo Pharma were under pressure.

European markets opened higher as investors track earnings and look ahead to the meeting between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

12:40 pm Buzzing: Usha Martin shares gained more than 6 percent after board of directors, in today's meeting, has appointed a consultant to evaluate the possibility of sale of wire and wire rope business of the company.

"A committee of independent of directors will oversee the process and recommend suitable offers to the board for its consideration," the company said.

12:20 pm IPO: Pharmaceutical firm Eris Lifesciences has filed draft papers with capital market regulator Sebi to float an initial public offering.

The IPO will see sale of 28,875,000 equity shares by the existing shareholders.

"The company expects that listing of the equity Shares will enhance our visibility and brand image and provide liquidity to our shareholders. Listing will also provide a public market for the equity shares in India," Eris said in the draft documents.

Axis Capital, Citigroup Global Markets India Pvt Ltd and Credit Suisse Securities (India) Pvt Ltd are book running lead managers to the issue.

The equity shares are proposed to be listed on the BSE and the NSE.

12:00 pm Market Check
The market remained rangebound in noon trade, with the Nifty hovering around 8800 level as investors awaited quarterly earnings from State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Mahindra & Mahindra due today.

The 30-share BSE Sensex gained 29.98 points at 28359.68 and the 50-share NSE Nifty was up 17.85 points at 8796.25.

UR Bhat of Dalton Capital says he is unsure if the current rally will sustain. According to him, US President Donald Trump's policies pose a huge risk for the market.

''The big problem we have is what can come out of the Trump administration. There are lot of uncertainties, especially regarding the relationship with China or the border tax,'' Bhat says.

Aurobindo Pharma shares fell 3 percent, spooked by weak management commentary after Q3 earnings. Company sees a hyper competitive scenario in the US and says price pressure in US is expected in the first six months of the year.

Banking heavyweight, SBI will report numbers today. A CNBC-TV18 poll expects a sharp earnings boost on a low base but loan growth is seen falling to 5 to 6 percent. Slippages are expected to remain similar to last quarter's levels.

Bank of Baroda is also expected to report numbers. All eyes are on its asset quality.

M&M is expected to post a subdued quarterly performance, pressurised by slowing volume growth. Margin may be steady led by an increasing share in high margin tractors.

SAIL lost over 4 percent after the company reported a net loss for the seventh straight quarter. Also on the losing side is Triveni Engineering, down 6 percent after the management called off the demerger of the engineering business and shrugged off strong earnings.

Grasim Industries rose 3 percent on inclusion into the MSCI Emerging Market index and FIIs holding too hiked to 49 percent. Tech Mahindra was up 2 percent after a weightage increase in the MSCI India index.

Chennai Petroleum rallied nearly 7 percent on hopes of merger with IOC. Max Ventures gained 2.6 percent on likely announcement of a stake sale in subsidiary.

11:50 am Oil Update: Oil prices were stable, with OPEC-led production cuts supporting the market while soaring US fuel inventories were weighing on crude.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading at USD 53.10 per barrel, up 0.19 percent from their last settlement.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were up 0.18 percent at USD 55.73 a barrel.

11:35 am Vedanta on clean coal: Indian mining company Vedanta Resources has held talks with the Indian government on developing clean coal, as coal is "a core part" of the energy mix despite its high level of carbon emissions, the firm's CEO said.

Just over a year after the December 2015 Paris agreement on lowering global carbon emissions, mining bosses meeting in Cape Town this week said coal could be central for decades to come.

Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese said coal was still needed in the global energy mix but would be phased out unless carbon capture technology was rolled out more widely.

"Unless there is a new technology breakthrough, coal is likely to be phased out over a period of decades," he told Reuters in an interview.

11:15 am IIP data due today: The government will release factory output data for December at 5.30 pm today amid signs of faltering industrial activity because of demonetisation.

India's factory output grew by a surprisingly robust 5.7 percent in November, running contrary to retail sales data showing slide in household spending and muted corporate investment hit by an economy-wide cash-crunch.

All eyes will be on the December output data as well as the revision in the November output data.

11:00 am Market Check
Benchmark indices as well as broader markets continued to consolidate in morning, with the Nifty hovering around 8800 level as investors awaited SBI and Bank of Baroda's quarterly earnings.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 27.75 points at 28357.45 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 16.75 points at 8795.15. About 1344 shares advanced against 1012 declining shares on the BSE.

Krishna Kumar Karwa of Emkay Global Financial Services says the results season has been good so far, and the markets were currently taking a breather.

He feels it appeared that the worst effects of last November's note ban were over and there was trend of savings being converted into financial savings.

Country's largest lender State Bank of India shares gained nearly 2 percent as the bank is expected to report a whopping 124 percent growth in profit at Rs 2,496 crore YoY.

Bank of Baroda is likely turn profitable in Q3, with net income at Rs 620 crore against loss of Rs 3,342 crore in year-ago quarter. The stock rallied nearly 3 percent.

Asian markets climbed higher, following a boost in US equities on the back of President Donald Trump saying he would soon announce a "phenomenal" tax plan.

10:35 am Buzzing Stock:  ITI declined 7 percent intraday Friday as it has reported net loss in the quarter ended December 2016.

The company has reported a net loss at Rs 65.6 crore in the Q3FY17 versus profit of Rs 7.1 crore, in the same period of last year.

10:15 am Earnings estimates: Country's largest lender State Bank of India is expected to report profit at Rs 2,496 crore for the quarter ended December 2016, a whopping growth of 124 percent compared with Rs 1,115.3 crore in year-ago quarter.

Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, may increase 6.2 percent to Rs 14,452 crore from Rs 13,606.5 crore on year-on-year basis, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18.

Analysts expect sharp earnings growth on a low base in year-ago quarter and loan growth to fall sharply to 5-6 percent in Q3.

Slippages may remain similar to last quarter levels while treasury gains will include the stake sale of insurance business, analysts say.

10:00 am Market Check
Benchmark indices were off day's high in morning after erasing some early gains, weighed by ITC, ICICI Bank as well as auto and pharma stocks. Investors await Q3 earnings of SBI, the country's largest lender.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 5.99 points at 28323.71 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 4.55 points at 8782.95 but the market breadth remained positive.

About 1135 shares advanced against 779 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

"At present, the market is witnessing time-wise correction in the markets which may extend further, considering the overbought market conditions," Jayant Manglik of Religare Securities says.

He suggests continuing with stock specific trading approach till consolidation continues. Now, focus would return on earnings and it will drive the markets from here on, he feels.

ITC, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, Lupin, Sun Pharma, M&M and Cipla were down 0.6-1 percent while Adani Ports was the biggest gainer among Sensex stocks, up 2 percent followed by HDFC Bank, SBI, TCS, ONGC and Axis Bank.

9:42 am Goldman on Lupin: Goldman Sachs revised FY17-19 EBITDA by 4-6 percent to factor in margin development and raised target to Rs 1,612 from Rs 1,541.

The brokerage house feels product launch rate is a key upside risk for the stock while price erosion and execution at Gavis are downside risks.

9:30 am Buzzing: Shares of GPT Infraprojects rose 4 percent intraday as it has received order from Rail Vikas Nigam.

The company has bagged an order worth Rs 217 crore from Rail Vikas Nigam.

The order includes construction of important and major steel girder bridges, along with foundation, substructure and related projection works in connection with
Mathura-Jhansi third line in Agra and Jhansi division on North central railway in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The completion period of the said project is 36 months.

9:15 am Market Check
Equity benchmarks opened moderately higher on last day of the week, with Sensex rising 88.56 points at 28418.26, tracking positive Asian cues and ahead of Q3 earnings.

The 50-share NSE Nifty reclaimed 8800 level, up 35.35 points at 8813.75.

The market breadth was also strong in opening as about 770 shares advanced against 247 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Tata Steel, SBI, NTPC, Wipro, Bharti Airtel, Grasim and Power Grid Corp were early gainers while M&M, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Aurobindo Pharma and BPCL were under pressure.

The Indian rupee has opened marginally higher at 66.81 per dollar today against previous close of 66.84.

Ashutosh Raina of HDFC Bank says the rally in USD-INR pair continues on the back of global risk-on sentiment, even though dollar index has moved higher to 100.65 from recent lows.

He expects the pair to trade in the 66.60-67/dollar range for today.

Dollar gained after comments from US President Donald Trump that he would make a major announcement on a "phenomenal" tax plan in the next few weeks.

Asian markets were trading higher, with the Japan's Nikkei rising more than 2 percent and China's Shanghai up 0.4 percent.