Sensex, Nifty close in red; ITC, ICICI, HDFC twins drag

3:30 pm Market Closing: Benchmark indices ended lower for second consecutive session, with the Sensex down 69.56 points at 28743.32. The Nifty remained below 8900 level, down 17.10 points at 8879.60 ahead of GDP data due later today.

BHEL was biggest gainer among Sensex and Nifty stocks, up 6 percent followed by Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints, Adani Ports, M&M, Yes Bank and Hindalco while BPCL, Grasim, Coal India, Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, NTPC, Hero Motocorp and ITC fell 1-5 percent.

2: 41 PM Buzzing Stock: Zee Entertainment Enterprises shares gained 2 percent intraday Tuesday after the company received USD 330 million in first phase of sale of sports broadcasting business to Sony Pictures.

"The first phase of transaction comprising of sale of entire equity stake of the company in Taj - India and transfer of major part of sports broadcasting business of Taj - Mauritius stands concluded today upon receipt of USD 330 million by the company and/or its subsidiaries," Zee Entertainment said in its filing.

Following the completion of this phase of acquisition of TEN Sports Network from Zee, Sony Pictures' cluster of nine sports channels will now include Sony Six & Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN & Sony ESPN HD, TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3 and TEN Golf HD.

2:30 PM Tackling Jio's pricing: After six months of unlimited free data and voice, Reliance Jio will start charging for its services post March 31.

Sunil Mittal, the Chairman of Bharti Airtel , said Jio's new Rs 303 tariff plan is very aggressive, and telecom operators will have to respond with better plans. The telecom industry has been in consolidation mode, after Reliance Jio disrupted the sector by providing unlimited free voice and data.

While industry giants Vodafone India and Idea Cellular plan a merger, Bharti Airtel recently acquired Telenor's India wing to become more competitive. "Once the merger is approved by the authorities, we will merge that network into our network and bolster our existing 4G network, said Mittal.

2:17 PM Lupin's FDA nod: Lupin announced on Tuesday that the US Food and Drug Administration had granted it approval to market the generic version of Braintree Laboratories' Suprep Bowel Prep Kit.

Suprep follows a split dose regime and Lupin has got approval for Sodium Sulfate, Potassium Sulfate and Magnesium Sulfate Oral Solution, all of which are taken to cleanse the colon before colonoscopy in adults.

Suprep Bowel Prep Kit has a market of USD 207 million in the USA.

Volatility in the market continued in the post noon session after benchmark indices recovered from day's lows.

The Sensex was down 9.98 points at 28802.90, while the Nifty was down 10.30 points at 8886.40. The market breadth was narrow with about 1,376 shares having advanced, 1,263 shares having declined. About 200 shares were unchanged.

Bharti Airtel continued to be among the top gainers on both the indices along with Hindalco and Asian Paints. Meanwhile, Coal India, TCS and BPCL were among the top losers.

The Street now awaits key GDP data that is set to be released later in the day.

1:55 pm ICRA downgrades IFCI: ICRA has downgraded rating outlook of IFCI to negative from stable and long-term rating of various debt instruments of IFCI downgraded to A, it says.

The rating downgrade is driven by the sharp deterioration in IFCI's asset quality (gross NPAs at 25.8 percent and net NPAs at 21.4 percent as on December 31, 2016), and the continued stress on the entity's loan book with very high proportion of loan book being in the 120-150 days past due and under the stand-still clause and hence not recognised as NPAs so far.

1:50 pm FDI: India will likely ease foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for several sectors, including multi-brand retail and commodity markets, a move aimed at conveying the Narendra Modi-government's intent to walk the talk on economic reforms.

As reported in Moneycontrol on Monday, the government may allow limited sale of beauty and personal care products in global giants' food retail outlets as part of plans to ease rules for multinationals to open stores in the country.

Inter-ministerial consultations are currently on for writing the new rules to partially open up the non-food sector to transnational deep-discount retailers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a final view on the matter and a decision is expected after the second part of Parliament's Budget session ends in March.

1:40 pm Interview: Vishwavir Ahuja, MD & CEO, RBL Bank is confident of an overall growth of 30-35 percent over the next couple of years and maintains loan growth of over 30 percent in FY17-18.

Growth in business and market share is aided by our exposure to lower income segments of the society and our focus on growth areas, said Ahuja.

He is also confident of improving net interest margins from the current range of 3.25-3.4 percent despite rate cycle movement. The potential for a further rate cut by RBI is minimal, he said.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18 in an interview from the sidelines of the eighth Motilal Oswal Eureka conference in London, he said the bank would look to raise capital by the year-end. Since we consume anything between 2.25-2.50 percent of capital on a full-year basis, we will need to raise cash.

1:20 pm FII View: Retail flows into Indian equity market look bullish in the near term and indicate that the recent market strength may continue despite the expected sharp earnings decline ahead, says an UBS report.

The global brokerage firm believes that the flows could drive markets up in the near-term but has retained the year end Nifty target at 8,800.

In its upside scenario, UBS expects Nifty to touch 9,700 as long as there are no global macro shocks; declines in global risk appetite; immediate local "negative catalysts" such as UP elections and fourth quarter of 2016-17 earnings, which is expected to disappoint.

1:00 pm Market Check
Equity benchmarks as well as broader markets remained lacklustre in afternoon. Investors awaited Q3 GDP data, later today, to check the impact of demonetisation on economy during October-December quarter and also assembly elections results on March 11.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 9.48 points at 28803.40 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 9.65 points to 8887.05.

Idea Cellular, Reliance Industries and Jindal Steel were most active shares on exchanges.

Idea Cellular fell over 2 percent after private equity fund Providence sold its entire 3.3 percent stake in the company via block deals, especially ahead of likely merger of the company with Vodafone.

Jindal Steel hit a fresh 52-week high of Rs 129.50 today, up over a percent after brokerage houses turned bullish on the stock, citing capacity addition and likely debt reduction in global companies due to fall in coking coal price.

Reliance Industries maintained its run up, up 0.44 percent after rising over 16 percent in previous four consecutive sessions due to new tariff plans announced by Reliance Jio last week.

Disclosure: Reliance Industries, the parent company of Reliance Jio, owns Network 18 that publishes Moneycontrol.com.

12:58 PM Market Check: Sluggishness in the market has continued in noon trade, with the indices trading almost flat. The Sensex was up 0.26 points at 28813.14, while the Nifty was down 4.55 points or 0.05% at 8892.15.

12:47 PM Auto sales expectations: As auto majors get set to announce February sales figures, Motilal Oswal foresees new launches driving passenger vehicles (PVs) segment, while two-wheelers could be strained on demonetisation woes.

Simultaneously, pre-buying should aid volumes of commercial vehicles (CVs), it believes. In PVs space, the brokerage house expects Maruti Suzuki's volumes to grow 20 percent year-on-year for February, an outperformance to the entire PV industry. This volume spike may be driven by growth in compact utility vehicles (UVs) and supported by Baleno, it said.

''Besides this, the launch of Ignis is likely to contribute to marginal incremental volumes,'' Motilal Oswal said in a report.

12: 35 PM Jio tariff: Besides the Rs 303 plan, Jio plans to roll out two new monthly tariff plans at Rs 149 and Rs 499 which offer 2GB and 60 GB data along with free voice, respectively, according to note by brokerage firm CLSA.

''As per our discussion with channel partners and retailers, Reliance Jio has revealed more tariff plans under the ''Jio Prime Program'' that requires one-time membership charge of Rs 99 to be paid before March 31, 2017,'' CLSA said in the note.

''For Jio Prime Members, two more monthly plans will be available other than the Rs 303 plan announced last week. The cheapest monthly plan is Rs 149 which offers free domestic voice and 2GB data without any daily limits. Another plan offers 60 GB (2GB daily data allowance) and unlimited voice for Rs 499,'' it said.

12: 20 PM D-Mart IPO: Radhakishan Damani promoted-Avenue Supermarts, the owner and operator of supermarket retail chain D-Mart, is set to raise Rs 1,810-Rs 1,866 crore by offering 6.23 crore shares priced between Rs 290-299, say merchant bankers to the issue. The issue will be open for bidding from March 8 to March 10. 

Avenue Supermarts has reserved 1.87 crore shares for anchor investors' book, 1.24 crore for qualified institutional buyers, 93.59 lakh for non-institutional investors and 2.18 crore shares for retail investors.

Grey market brokers say that the issue is quoting at a premium of Rs 170-180 in the unofficial market.

After opening glat, the market continued to be sluggish in noon trade, with the Nifty falling below 8900-mark again.

The Sensex was down 6.71 points at 28806.17, while the Nifty was down 6.20 points at 8890.50. The market breadth was seen narrowing after 1,330 shares had advanced, 1,097 shares had declined, while 170 shares remained unchanged.

Bharti Airtel, M&M and Hindalco were the top gainers on both the indices, while Idea Cellular, Coal India and Bajaj Auto were the top losers.

Larsen and Toubro surged over a percent after its arm entered into an EPC agreement with Shell Group for EPC management of Shell's cites in multiple regions, including Middle East.

Meanwhile, Reliance Defence & Engineering also gained on reports of a windfall gain for the company post Dassault Aviation deal.

11:36 am USFDA approval: Pharma Major Lupin has received final approval for its Oxycodone and Acetaminophen tablets USP, 2.5 mg/325 mg, 5 mg/325 mg, 7.5 mg/325 mg and 10 mg/325 mg from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market a generic version of Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC's Percocet tablets.

It will commence promoting the product shortly.

xycodone and Acetaminophen tablets are indicated for relief of moderate to moderately severe pain.

Percocet tablets had US sales of USD 838.7 million, as per IMS MAT December 2016.

11:31 am IPO: Radhakishan Damani promoted-Avenue Supermarts, the owner and operator of supermarket retail chain D-Mart, is set to raise Rs 1,810-Rs 1,866 crore by offering 6.23 crore shares priced between Rs 290-299, say merchant bankers to the issue.

The issue will be open for bidding from March 8 to March 10.

Avenue Supermarts has reserved 1.87 crore shares for anchor investors' book, 1.24 crore for qualified institutional buyers, 93.59 lakh for non-institutional investors and 2.18 crore shares for retail investors.

Grey market brokers say that the issue is quoting at a premium of Rs 170-180 in the unofficial market.

In its draft prospectus, the company had said that a large chunk of the funds raised through the issue will be used to repay debt.

11:15 am L&T's new contract: L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering, a wholly owned subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro, has signed a five-year enterprise framework agreement with Shell Global Solutions International BV for providing engineering, procurement & construction management services for Shell projects in the Middle East, South East Asia and India.

11:00 am Market Check
Equity benchmarks remained rangebound in morning as investors awaited Q3 GDP data due later today. They will closely watch the actual impact of demonetisation on economy in the quarter ended December 2016.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 23.21 points at 28836.09 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 1.05 points to 8897.75.

The retreat in the US dollar and 10-year treasury yields from the peaks has helped emerging markets (EMs), according to Geoff Lewis of Manulife Asset Management. He said that emerging markets also drew strengths from better corporate earnings.

He asserted that EMs, including India will continue to remain in favour at the moment.

The market breadth was in favour of advances. About 1369 shares gained against 902 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Tata Teleservices shares rallied 20 percent intraday after Tata Sons has withdrawn its application against DoCoMo in Delhi High Court. Both companies have filed consent terms for perspective settlement in their long-standing dispute. Tata Sons has reportedly agreed to pay USD 1.17 billion in damages to Japan's NTT DoCoMo.

10:51 AM Tata withdraws case: Tata Sons has offered to withdraw its application against DoCoMo in Delhi High Court.

Both companies have filed consent terms for perspective settlement in their long-standing dispute.

Tata Sons has agreed to pay DoCoMo USD 1.17 billion as damages.The development sent Tata Teleservices soaring over 9 percent.

10:40AM Coal India arm buyback: State-run Coal India said the board of its subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields has approved a share buyback plan worth Rs 1,200 crore.

"The board of directors of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), our wholly-owned subsidiary, at its meeting held on February 27 has considered and approved the buyback of 1,50,443 fully paid equity shares of face value of Rs 1,000 each...from the members of SECL...for an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs 1,200.19 crore," Coal India said in a filing to the BSE.

The equity shares proposed to be bought back by SECL represent 4.18 percent of the existing paid up capital of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, it said.

10:20 AM Expert Speak: Domestic liquidity is unlikely to dry up anytime soon and that could limit market downside, says Harsha Upadhyaya, CIO Equity at Kotak Mutual Fund. ''It's a buy on dips market for us,'' he tells CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

The fact that the market is no longer completely dependent of foreign institutional inflows is a good sign, he says. Interaction with investors and MF distributors suggest there are lot of people waiting to invest into the market and when that happens, the market usually tends to stay strong, Upadhyaya notes.

Equity benchmarks remained volatile, with the Nifty hovering around 8900 as investors awaited Q3 GDP data due later today. On the global front, investors awaited US President Donald Trump's address to the Joint Congress.

The Sensex was up 49.64 points at 28862.52, while the Nifty was up 14.40 points at 8911.10. The market breadth remained health with 1,234 shares having advanced, while 648 shares had declined. About 115 shares remained unchanged.

Bharti Group stocks and Larsen & Toubro were the top gainers on the Sensex and Nifty, with L&T surging over 1 percent. Bharti Airtel was trading higher on the back of fresh pricing war it unleashed on Monday by doing away with roaming charges completely.

Tata Teleservices, too, soared over 9 percent after Tata Sons agreed to pay damages of USD 1.17 billion to Japan's NTT DoCoMo, thus looking to end the long-standing dispute.

9:49 am New business segment: Tata group firm Titan Company said it has forayed into premium sarees and women's ethnic wear category under the brand name "Taneira".

The company has opened its first Taneira store at here that has a collection of handwoven sarees and ethnic wears from across the country with products ranging up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Taneira is in its pilot phase and the company will decide on its further growth plans in a year's time, Titan Company Limited Senior Vice President (Strategy and Business Incubation) Ajoy H Chawla said.

"We are right now in pilot to explore, experiment and learn to figure out how we can make a difference to the consumer and this category, and how to also build a profitable business model around," he told PTI.

9:35 am Buzzing: Telecom operator Idea Cellular shares fell 6.5 percent in early trade after one of its non-promoter shareholder exited the company by selling entire shareholding.

About 12 crore equity shares worth Rs 1,331 crore traded on BSE & NSE at Rs 110.30-110.45 apiece via block deals.

With this block deal, Providence exited Idea by selling its 3.3 percent stake.

9:15 am Market Check
Benchmark indices started off the day on a flat note Tuesday as investors awaited third quarter GDP data due later today.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 1.32 points at 28814.20 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 0.05 points to 8896.75.

Cipla, ONGC, Tata Motors, GAIL, NTPC, Tech Mahindra, Bharti Infratel, Aurobindo Pharma and Grasim were early gainers while ITC, Bajaj Auto, Infosys, Sun Pharma, Reliance Industries, BPCL and Hindalco were losers.

The Indian rupee opened marginally lower at 66.74 per dollar today against previous close of 66.70.

Bhaskar Panda of HDFC Bank says US pending home sales data for January was disappointing. The markets are also awaiting details of President Trump's tax related declarations. As a result, the dollar index has been below the 101 mark.

The USD-INR pair is expected to trade within a range of 66.60-66.80/dollar, he feels.

The dollar was slightly weaker against a basket of currencies as investors worried that a speech by US President Donald Trump would not provide many details on his economic agenda.

Asia markets were mostly higher todasy, tracking US gains, as investors await a key speech from President Donald Trump.

US stocks ended slightly higher on Monday and the Dow closed at a record high for a 12th straight session, as President Donald Trump said he would make a "big" infrastructure statement on Tuesday.