Nifty ends Feb expiry at 8939; banks, RIL drag; tech supports

3:30 pm Market closing: Benchmark indices closed higher for sixth consecutive session Thursday but were off day's high due to selling pressure in banks and Reliance Industries.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 28.26 points at 28892.97 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 12.60 points at 8939.50, supported by technology and telecom stocks.

The market breadth was negative as about 1518 shares declined against 1233 advancing shares on the BSE.

3:25 pm Fund raising: Shares of Hero Motocorp surged over 1 percent intraday as the company's arm outlined a plan to raise fresh funding.

Hero FinCorp, its retail lending arm, plans to raise Rs 1,000 crore in fresh round of funding, according to CNBC-TV18 quoting unnamed sources. The money will be used for expansion of business and to diversify into non-organic areas.

As part of the deal, Hero FinCorp could dilute partial stake for raising this money, sources say. Currently, Hero MotoCorp has 40 percent stake in Hero FinCorp.

3:20 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks erased gains in late trade on selling pressure in Reliance Industries (down 2 percent). Bank Nifty also turned lower after crossing 21000-mark intraday as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI slipped more than half a percent.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 15.14 points at 28879.85 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 8.65 points to 8935.55.

3:10 pm Buzzing: State-run Hindustan Organic Chemicals shares were locked at 5 percent upper circuit at Rs 24.75 from early trade after it sought permission from shareholders for stake sale in subsidiary and land sale.

The board of directors sent a notice of postal ballot to company's shareholders for seeking their approval for sell of 442 acres of land at Rasayani, Maharashtra to BPCL at Rs 1.4 crore per acre.

The board also sought permission for divestment of company's entire equity shareholding (56.43 percent) in Hindustan Fluorocarbons, a subsidiary of the company.

With regard to utilisation of revenue generation of Rs 618.80 from land sale, the board decided to use it for payment of salary, voluntary retirement scheme, raw material suppliers dues to BPCL, SBI & Canara Bank loans and other expenses.

2:58 pm Acquisition: Jaiprakash Power Ventures said ICICI Bank has acquired its 81.44 crore shares under the strategic debt restructuring plan by its lenders.

"ICICI Bank Ltd has acquired 81,44,90,000 shares of Jaipraskash Power Ventures Ltd by conversion of debentures into equity," the company said in a BSE filing.

"Accordingly, at February 18, 2017, the total equity shareholding of the bank stands at 13.72 percent (of the total share capital of the company)," it said.

Before this acquisition, the bank held 79,61,535 shares or 0.13 percent of the equity in the company, it said.

2:43 pm CPI estimates: Reserve Bank of India's minutes of the monetary policy are in line with what the Monetary Policy Committee had said earlier this month. ''No real surprises in the minutes as such,'' said Ananth Narayan, Standard Chartered said. He said that the Dalal Street investors will, however, view the policy and RBI's stance as hawkish. Hence, the Street may choose to adopt a sell on rally approach, he added.

While the RBI had set a CPI target of 4 percent with a 2 percent variance, Standard Chartered agrees with the central bank's assessment. A 4.5-4.6 CPI inflation target seems to be a best-case scenario, Narayan said.

He cautioned, ''There is a huge amount of uncertainty around CPI projections given 46 percent depends on food and monsoon and imponderables like the House Rent Allowance (HRA) component post the Pay Commission and the impact of Goods and Services Tax (GST) whenever that comes through.''

2:30 pm SoftBank denies stake buy: Japan's SoftBank Group denied it was in talks with Vodafone Plc's Indian unit and Idea Cellular to pick up a stake in a potential merger between the two Indian wireless carriers.

SoftBank's denial follows a report in The Economic Times newspaper that the Japanese firm was looking to pick up a stake in a Vodafone-Idea merged company, citing four unidentified people aware of developments.

"We would like to categorically deny SoftBank's participation in the alleged Vodafone, Idea Cellular merger in India," a SoftBank spokeswoman said.

"We underline that we have held no such discussions and media reports about the same are baseless and unsubstantiated."

2:20 PM Interview: Housing finance companies are in focus today as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) allowed additional 5 percent of mutual fund investment into bonds of housing finance companies.

Commenting on the development, Gagan Banga, Vice Chairman and of Indiabulls Housing Finance told CNBC-TV18 he expected roughly Rs 60,000 crore of additional funds to come the way of the top rated housing finance companies from this move.

As mutual funds tend to invest only in the top-rated companies, which are just a handful right now, this Rs 60,000 crore could go to only three or four players, he said.

2:00 pm Market Check
The market erased some gains in afternoon trade, ahead of expiry of February Nifty derivative contracts.

The Sensex was up 122.97 points at 28987.68, while the Nifty rose 40.80 points at 8967.70. The market saw some selling pressure after 1,298 shares advanced, while 1,366 shares declined. About 200 shares were unchanged.

The Bank Nifty staged a recovery as it reclaimed its 21000-mark and eyed an all-time high.

IT stocks Infosys and TCS continued to rule the charts on the Sensex, while Nifty top gainer was Idea Cellular.

59 PM Bank Nifty gains: Bank Nifty has reclaimed its 21,000-mark and is now 40 points away from its record high.

1:45 PM Equities in 'euphoric' zone: Global brokerage Bank of America Merrill Lynch, today said positive global cues have lifted Indian equities this year but returns may be muted from here on as it set a Sensex target of 29,000 for December this year.

According to BofAML's global emerging market (GEM) strategists Ajay Kapur and Ritesh Samadhiya, from near panic levels in late 2016, global equities are now entering 'euphoric' zone and may take a breather.

"In India, while we expect longer term business cycle to improve in next 2-3 years, we see near-term returns capped from here on, due to possible near-term reversal of global wave, residual impact of globalisation, rich valuations and continued risks of earnings downgrades," BofAML said in a research note.

1:32 PM Sensex touches 29,000: The Sensex touched the 29000-mark and has gained 146 points at 29011.02. Meanwhile, Nifty is up 48 points at 8975.10. The market breadth continues to narrow. About 1,339 shares have advanced, while 1,257 have declined. Around 198 shares remain unchanged.

1:15 PM Housing finance cos: Dipen Sheth, Head-Institutional Research, HDFC Securities, says that with the current government in power, "politics and economics will converge" and the government's expansion of social sector schemes will benefit housing, agriculture and rural infrastructure sectors.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Sheth said the broking house has always been bullish on housing finance companies recognized by the National Housing Bank (NHB). Moreover, with the news of debt mutual funds getting more headroom to invest into them, this could bring in additional liquidity into the sector.

Structural change in the sector has already taken place with encouragement from the government for the housing sector.

The market extended its gains during the afternoon session after clocking its 52-week high on the Nifty, driven by Infosys, HDFC Bank and Bharti Airtel.

The Sensex was up 118.56 points at 28983.27, while the Nifty rose 39.90 points at 8966.80. The market breadth narrowed as 1,321 shares advanced, 1,241 declined while 191 shares remained unchanged.

Telecom stocks continued to be the top gainers on Sensex and the Nifty on the back of reports of consolidation in the sector.

IT stocks too have witnessed a gain on the indices, with TCS and Infosys surging almost 2 percent.

Indian Hotels was on the investors' radar after N Chandrasekaran was elected as the chairman of the firm. The stock staged a recovery from its fall of over one percent. The stock is now up 0.21 percent.

12:40 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks extended gains in afternoon trade, with the Nifty hitting a fresh 52-week high of 8970.05 for the first time since September 2016.

 The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 113.93 points at 28978.64 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 38.95 points to 8965.85.

12:33 pm IRB in action: IRB Infrastructure Developers said its wholly-owned subsidiary Kishangarh Gulabpura Tollway Private Limited has now executed concession agreement with NHAI for the project of six laning of Kishangarh to Gulabpura section of NH-79A and NH-79 in Rajasthan on DBFOT (design-build-finance-operate-transfer) basis under NLIDP Phase-V Package-1.

The estimated project cost of the company is approximately Rs 1,530 crore. The concession period of the project is 20 years including construction period of 910 days.

The company will get tolling rights on project from the appointed date. The company has offered premium of Rs 186.30 crore to NHAI.

12:20 pm Market Expert: The market rally in the recent past has been getting fairly good support from domestic institutional investors.

The fundamentals of the market, however, are average and may trigger a correction, Consulting Editor Udayan Mukherjee told CNBC-TV18 in an interview. In view of factors such as average fundamentals, earnings concerns and macros, the risk-reward is not favourable hereon, he said.

Mukherjee didn't rule out the possibility of a Nifty surging by another 200-300 points but cautioned that the markets may be setting themselves up for a correction soon. ''That (market rally) is totally understandable because of liquidity. But I think the risk reward is probably against the market now,'' he said.

12:00 pm Market Check
The market continued to hold morning gains despite volatility ahead of expiry of futures & options contracts for the month of February. It is also heading for fifth consecutive week of gains.

The 30-share BSE Sensex gained 95.76 points at 28960.47 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 29.75 points to 8956.65.

The broader markets also traded in line with benchmarks on positive breadth. About 1261 shares advanced against 1171 declining shares on the BSE.

Telecom is the leading gainer today on the back consolidation in sector. Bharti Airtel surged 4.8 percent on acquisition of Telenor India while Idea Cellular jumped over 7 percent after a media report indicated that Japanese fund SoftBank is likely to pick up some stake in proposed merged entity but the fund denied stake buy.

Jyothy Labs shares rallied 5 percent on reports that Henkel began due diligence for buying stake in the company.

Oil futures climbed nearly 1 percent after data showed a surprise decline in US crude stocks as imports fell, supporting the view that a global glut is ending. The US West Texas Intermediate crude April contract had risen 0.82 percent, to USD 54.03 a barrel. Brent crude was up 0.81 percent, at USD 56.29, although both benchmarks were still well within recent tight ranges.

Gold prices were steady, supported by uncertainty surrounding US President Donald Trump's economic policy after Wednesday's Federal Reserve minutes failed to give the market much direction, despite its support for interest rate hikes.

11:55 am CLSA on Midcap IT: Indian midcap IT firms have generally seen growth slowdown along with steady margin erosion over the last 3-4 years, CLSA says.

Analysis of the December 2016 results indicates they continue to under-grow global digital pure-plays sharply and have significant variance in performance. Persistent, Hexaware and L&T IT lead on growth while eClerx, Mphasis and KPIT lag, it feels.

Per unit productivity and EBIT have been better at L&T IT and L&T TS, whereas it has improved the most at Persistent. Most IT midcaps now trade 1SD below 2Y averages but the discount to larger peers has halved.

11:34 am Buzzing: Share price of Asian Oilfield Services touched 52-week high of Rs 181, rising 10 percent intraday as it subsidiary company received a contract worth USD 95 million.

"The company's wholly owned subsidiary Asian Oilfield & Energy Services DMCC, Dubai has signed a contract for providing operations and maintenance services (O&M) for an offshore production unit operating at EBOK field offshore Nigeria," as per company release.

"The total value of contract is about USD 95 million for a total period of 5 years," it added.

11:20 am IMF on Indian economy: The Indian economy is growing strongly and remains a bright spot in the global landscape despite temporary setback due to demonetisation, a senior IMF official has said.

In its annual country report on India, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday said growth is expected at 6.6 percent in this fiscal year and at 7.2 percent in the following year.

"The Indian economy is growing strongly and remains a bright spot in the global landscape," the IMF mission chief for India, Paul Cashin said.

Cashin said the halving of global oil prices that began in late 2014 boosted economic activity in India, further improved the external current account and fiscal positions, and helped lower inflation.

11:00 am Market Check
Benchmark indices remained higher amid volatility and are heading for fifth consecutive week of gains, aided by technology and telecom stocks. However, profit booking in Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank limited gains.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 96.51 points at 28961.22 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 31.45 points to 8958.35. The broader markets also gained momentum, with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices rising 0.4 percent each.

The market breadth was also positive as about 1224 shares advanced against 1041 declining shares on the BSE.

The rupee is trading at two-week high, up 0.2 percent at 66.83 against the US dollar. The dollar drifted as impact from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes and supportive comments from a top US official faded.

Bharti Airtel retained its top position in buying list among Sensex stocks, up nearly 5 percent after acquiring Telenor India. Idea Cellular shares rallied 6 percent after a media report indicated that the stake in proposed merged entity is likely to be bought by Japanese fund SoftBank.

10:58 AM Market Check: The Sensex was up 82.05 points at 28946.76, while the Nifty had risen 26.35 points at 8953.25. The market's breadth remains to be narrow. About 1,206 shares have advanced, 1,015 shares have declined, while 155 shares remained unchanged.

10:48 AM Whistleblower complaint taken up by Infy panel: Infosys has said that its audit committee has taken up the anonymous complaints sent to market regulator Sebi and a section of media and will be probing the allegations as per the company policy.

"The whistle blower complaints have been placed before the audit committee and as is normal practice, in accordance with the company's whistle blower policy, the audit committee is taking steps to initiate an investigation into the allegations made," Infosys said in a BSE filing.

10:40 AM Saving habits: Abhay Laijawala of Deutsche Bank says the architecture of the financial savings of Indian households is undergoing a structural shift. This has already been witnessed in the rising share of financial assets in household savings rising from 32 percent in FY12 to 40 percent in FY15 & an unprecedented wave of inflows into domestic equity mutual funds over the past three years.

He believes this trend is set to intensify further and, in an optimistic scenario, average annual household flows into equities over FY18-20 could be 2x the past three years' average of total flows into equity mutual funds.

Laijawala says midcaps should attract a disproportionate amount of funds from domestic & institutional investors and should continue to outperform large cap indices.

10:28 AM dividend Payouts: As many as 88 listed companies can pay dividends worth Rs 27,600 crore but many continue to hold cash stockpile, according to proxy advisory firm IiAS.

In a report released on Thursday, IiAS said companies clearly continue to hold cash stockpiles and must consider paying higher dividends. Based on an analysis of the financials of S&P BSE 500 firms for the fiscal 2016, the report said 88 companies paid Rs 278 billion (Rs 27,800 crore) as aggregate dividend in FY 2015-16 and can additionally pay Rs 276 billion (Rs 27,600 crore).

Equity benchmarks continued its upward movement amid consolidation ahead of February derivative contracts' expiry, supported by telecom and technology stocks.

The 30-share Sensex was up over 63 points at 28928.42 points, while the Nifty was up 19 points at 8946.05. The market's breadth was narrow, with 1,058 shares having advanced, 869 shares having declined. Meanwhile, 121 shares remained unchanged.

Telecom stocks Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular soared on the back of consolidation buzz in the telecom stake.

Bharti Airtel rose 10 percent intraday after it announced the acquisition of Telenor India. Meanwhile, Idea Cellular rose around 8 percent after media reports indicated that Japanese fund SoftBank may buy some stake in the merged entity (Vodafone-Idea).

TCS and Infosys gained strength after sell-off in previous session, up 1-2 percent whereas ICICI Bank, ITC, Axis Bank, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki were under pressure.

9:36 am MF exposure to HFCs: Debt mutual funds can now invest up to 15 percent of their total net assets in housing finance companies with Sebi easing the regulations in this regard. 
The norms have been relaxed as part of efforts to channelise more funds towards affordable housing activities.

Debt mutual funds were allowed to have an exposure of only up to 10 percent to housing finance companies. This has been increased to 15 percent with the immediate effect subject to certain conditions.

In a circular, Sebi said mutual funds would need to ensure that the additional exposure to the securities issued by HFCs have high investment grade rating. Besides, the entities should have been registered with the National Housing Bank (NHB).

9:25 am FII View: Jonathan Garner of Morgan Stanley says the brokerage house raised Emerging Market base case target price by 9 percent, Asia Pacific ex-Japan by 8 percent and China by 10 percent. It stays overweight on Japan and China against Emerging Markets, he adds.

Morgan Stanley expects further gains for markets like China and Japan as earnings continue to surprise on the upside, Garner says.

9:15 am Market Check
Equity benchmarks started off last day of the week on a positive note but erased some opening gains on profit booking amid weak Asian cues.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 40.16 points at 28904.87 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 10.30 points to 8937.20. About 477 shares advanced against 283 declining shares on the BSE.

Bharti Airtel shares gained 8 percent amid high volumes after it decided to acquire Telenor India that gives the company additional spectrum in 1,800 MHz band.

Its peer Idea Cellular also rose nearly 7 percent after a media report indicated that Soft Bank may end up buying 15-20 percent in merged entity (Idea Cellular-Vodafone).

The Indian rupee has opened almost flat at 66.96 per dollar on the last day of week against previous close of 66.97.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank says US dollar remained rangebound against majors as market focus shifts to a possible rate hike in March FOMC meeting.

In-line with global trends, rupee is also seen in a narrow range, he adds.

USD-INR trading range for the day is 66.80-67.05/dollar, Shenoi says.

The dollar slipped after Federal Reserve meeting minutes disappointed expectations for a hawkish tone.

Asia markets traded modestly lower today, following a mixed close in US equities overnight as minutes from the Federal Reserve's previous meeting hinted that a rate hike is coming "fairly soon."

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 traded down 0.35 percent, while across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was fractionally lower at 2,106.29.

The S&P 500 ended modestly weaker on Wednesday, holding losses after minutes from the Federal Reserve.