Nifty ends tad below 8900, Sensex falls 145 points; ITC drags

3:30 pm Market closing: The market failed to hold 52-week high touched in early trade Thursday as the Nifty closed below 8900 on profit booking.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 144.70 points at 28839.79 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 46.05 points to 8899.75.

3:22 pm Demonetisation impact: The Indian automobile and tractor sectors suffered a revenue loss of Rs 8,000 crore in November and December due to demonetisation, according to Mahindra & Mahindra Managing Director Pawan Goenka.

Sales momentum in the automobile industry, which was on a high after a good festive season in September and October last year, came to a halt when the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced in early November, according to Goenka.

"We have worked out by using some kind of formula that tractor and auto industry lost Rs 8,000 crore revenue in November and December," Goenka told PTI in an interaction.

3:15 pm Nifty below 8900: Benchmark indices extended losses in late trade, with the Sensex down 176.97 points at 28807.52.

The Nifty broke 8900 level, down 58.70 points at 8887.10, dragged by ITC and banks stocks.

About two shares declined for every share rising on the BSE.

3:05 pm Buzzing: Shares of ICICI Bank gained 2 percent intraday after a media report suggested that global private equity firms are looking to acquire Fairfax's shareholding in general insurance company ICICI Lombard.

"Global private equity firms including The Carlyle Group, Warburg Pincus Llc and Advent International have evinced interest in acquiring the 35 percent stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance held by Canadian financial institution Fairfax Financial Holdings," a media report said quoting people aware of the development.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company is a joint venture between ICICI Bank, India's second largest lender and Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings. ICICI Bank holds 65 percent stake and the rest is held by Farifax in joint venture.

2:58 pm Market Check: The Sensex was down 85.94 points at 28898.55, while the Nifty was down 34.80 points at 8911.00. About 957 shares have advanced, 1,860 shares declined, and 161 shares are unchanged.

2:50 pm Cadila Healthcare gets 3 observations: Cadila Healthcare, part of Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila group, on Thursday, said the company got three observations from USFDA for its formulation facility at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. The USFDA inspected the plant from February 20 to March 1.

"All these three observations are related to pre-approval inspection (PAI) for a specific product filed," the company said in a press release without naming the product.

The stock fell over 7 percent intraday following the development.

2:41 pm Biocon inspections: Biotech company, Biocon   will see two crucial inspections later this month and in early April. Company's manufacturing sites will come up for inspections by the European medicines agency later this month and next will be an inspection by the US FDA, say sources. 

This is an important development for the company. US FDA in January and February had accepted two applications of Biocon for Pegfilgrastim and Trastozomab. The inspection process will give an idea to the company on how well it is prepared for the regulatory process.

2:25 pm Expert Speak: Liquidity will continue to drive the market higher going ahead as the rally in the global markets continues, said Ajay Srivastava, CEO at Dimensions Corporate Finance Services. He said investors need not bother with market fundamentals as long as liquidity flows into the market.

However, sagging Indian economy is a concern, which may impact the rally, he said. He expects major consolidation in the non-banking financial companies (NBFC) space in the medium-term. Smaller NBFCs in the industry can gain on these potential M&A opportunities, he added.

Sluggishness gripped the market after soaring to a 52-week high during the opening session as investors may have looked to book profits. The Nifty fell below the 8950-mark.

The 30-share Sensex was up 22.84 points at 29007.33, while the Nifty was up 1.50 points at 8947.30. The market was negative, with about 1,041 shares having advanced, 1,695 shares having declined, and 171 shares remained unchanged.

Auto stocks were the top gainers on both the indices, while pharma and telecom stocks were the top losers.

Bharat Financial Inclusion plunged after there were reports that its talks with IndusInd Bank were called off on the back of valuation concerns.

Euro zone government bond yields edged up on Thursday ahead of data expected to show the fastest rise in euro area consumer prices in over four years.

Europe's benchmark German 10-year yield hit a 10-day high, buttressed by expectations that the US Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates later this month. Governor Lael Brainard joined the chorus of policymakers signalling a hike may come as soon as mid-March late on Wednesday.

1:45 Market Update: Equity benchmarks erased all morning gains on further profit booking.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 9.85 points at 28994.34 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 1.25 points to 8944.55.

About 1668 shares declined against 1059 advancing shares on the BSE.

1:35 pm Maruti sales: Country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) today said its compact SUV Vitara Brezza has crossed one lakh cumulative sales milestone in the domestic market.

The company had launched the vehicle in March 2016.

Vitara Brezza was designed and developed in India by MSI R&D team using Suzuki's core technology and global vehicle development processes.

"Vitara Brezza has been a game changer for Maruti Suzuki.

Brezza is the first car in India to be certified for offset and side impact crash tests that will be enforced in country from October 2017 onwards.

1:25 pm Buzzing: Aluminium major Hindalco Industries and insurance firm ICICI Prudential shares rallied 3-4 percent intraday after a media report indicated that FTSE Russell will be adding these stocks in its large cap index.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance shares also touched a record high of Rs 371.50 intraday on this news.

The index provider FTSE Russell will also add UPL, LIC Housing Finance and Piramal Enterprises to its large cap index. These changes will be effective from March 20, 2017.

Piramal Enterprises, UPL and LIC Housing shares gained over 1 percent in early trade after this news, but erased all these gains later on.

However, the index provider decided to exclude GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and Divi's Laboratories from its large cap index.

1:15 pm Interview: Although US is a very important market for Cipla, its Global CEO Umang Vohra said US President Donald Trump's protectionist policies are unlikely to affect the company's US business.

Vohra reasoned that almost 80 percent of the drugs sold by Cipla in the US market are manufactured in the US itself. He said it will not be a challenge to manufacture all its supplies in the US itself if asked to do so by authorities.

"We will increase manufacturing capabilities in the US if needed," he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) is working hard to increase drug approvals in the US to ensure drugs come to the market much sooner, he said. He although admitted that a pricing pressure will continue in the US for sometime going ahead.

1:00 pm Market Check
Benchmark indices were off day's high while broader markets were under pressure on profit booking in afternoon trade. Investors awaited results of assembly elections due next week.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 41.59 points at 29026.08 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 7.60 points at 8953.40 whereas the Nifty Midcap lost half a percent and Smallcap fell 1 percent.

The market breadth also turned negative as about 1619 shares declined against 1094 advancing shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

ITC shares dragged the market lower, down over 1 percent. Sun Pharma, Adani Ports, Bharti Airtel and Dr Reddy's Labs were down 1.5-2 percent.

ICICI Bank was also off day's high, up 0.9 percent on profit booking.

12:50 pm IndusInd-Bharat Fin talks called off? Sources have informed CNBC-TV18 that IndusInd Bank and Bharat Financial deal talks have been called off due to concerns on valuation. Shares of Bharat Financial fell over 7 percent intraday on Thursday, while IndusInd Bank lost over half a percent intraday.

12:40 pm Madhu Kela's investing tips: Mutual funds are the best vehicles for new investors looking to put money in the stock market, says Madhu Kela, Chief Investment Strategist, Reliance Capital.

''If you feel you have missed the rally and have seen someone make money, do not be nervous because this is only a trailer, the whole picture is yet to come. So it is never a wrong time or bad time – invest methodically, systematically – consult a proper person who has been advising on wealth management – then invest money- have faith in India, have faith in market,'' adding that the money invested should be for a longer timeframe – one will be surprised at the good returns. When you invest in a mutual fund, you hand over the job of investing to a professional which is better than investing based on someone's tips, said Kela in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

12:20 pm Management Speak: The demonetisation impact has not fully subsided and two-wheeler companies might continue to feel the pain for a few more months, according to S Ravikumar, President-Business Development at Bajaj Auto.

The 16 percent jump in exports is largely due to a base effect, he said, pointing out it is good that the numbers have held up around 1.1 lakh units for the last three months.

The company has started shipments to Malaysia and the new market expansion might gradually help in adding to export numbers, he said.

The market gave up its early morning gains on likely profit booking, with the Nifty hovering above 8950.

The Sensex was up 83.22 points at 29067.71, while the Nifty was up 23.10 points at 8968.90. The market breadth indicated selling pressure as 1,258 shares advanced, 1,306 shares declined, while 144 shares remained unchanged.

Auto stocks topped the gainers list on both the indices, while Sun Pharma, NTPC and Idea Cellular were a drag.

Pharma stocks were in focus as Wockhardt plunged on the back of a warning letter issued by the US FDA to its subsidiary in the US. Credit Suisse is wary about high product concentration at Dr Reddy 's Labs playing out, which could impact its earnings per share (EPS) for FY18 and market share. It has maintained an underperform rating on the stock.

February sales of major auto firms slowed, largely due to demonetisation woes. Passenger vehicles overall posted steady numbers, but two-wheeler sales lagged as the rural market was still recovering from cash crunch issues. Analysts cited demand issues for the sector in general, but feel it may improve as cash situation gets better.

11:55 am Analysts on auto sales: February sales of major auto firms slowed, largely due to demonetisation woes. Passenger vehicles overall posted steady numbers, but two-wheeler sales lagged as the rural market was still recovering from cash crunch issues.

Analysts cite demand issues for the sector in general, but feel it may improve as cash situation gets better.

11:45 am Interview: The demonetisation impact has not fully subsided and two-wheeler companies might continue to feel the pain for a few more months, according to S Ravikumar, President, Business Development at Bajaj Auto.

The 16 percent jump in exports is largely due to a base effect, he said, pointing out it is good that the numbers have held up around 1.1 lakh units for the last three months. The company has started shipments to Malaysia and the new market expansion might gradually help in adding to export numbers, he said.

Bajaj's total February sales were fractionally up year-on-year at 2.73 lakh units from 2.72 lakh. However, exports were up 16 percent at 1.1 Lakh units.

While acknowledging the compaetitor Royal Enfield, he said, in-house Dominar is also being well-retailed and well-received in the market.

11:35 am Acquisition: IT services firm Cognizant today said it has acquired Japanese company Brilliant Service Co for an undisclosed amount.

"As part of the acquisition, a team of 70 professionals with extensive digital solutions experience and insights in the Japanese market will join Cognizant," Cognizant said in a statement.

Headquartered in Osaka, Brilliant is a products and solutions company that specialises in digital strategy, product design and engineering, the Internet of Things (IoT), and enterprise mobility.

11:20 am Banks to start charging transactions: Major private banks have begun reintroducing transaction charges for cash deposits and withdrawals at their branches in a move that is being seen as one aimed at discouraging cash transactions and furthering the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government's digital payments drive.

Banks including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank on Wednesday began charging a minimum amount of Rs 150 per transaction for cash deposits and withdrawals beyond four free transactions in a month.

ATM intercharge charges have also been re-introduced.

The charges would apply to savings as well as salary accounts effective from Wednesday, leading private sector player HDFC Bank said in a circular.

11:00 am Market Check
Equity benchmarks retained early gains, with the Nifty inching towards psychological 9000 level, supported by auto, metals, banking & financials and oil stocks. However, ITC and Infosys capped upside.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 123.30 points at 29107.79 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 36.50 points at 8982.30. The broader markets were also up 0.4 percent on positive breadth.

Liquidity will continue to drive the market higher going ahead as the rally in the global markets continues, said Ajay Srivastava of Dimensions Corporate Finance Services. He said investors need not bother with market fundamentals as long as liquidity flows into the market.

However, sagging Indian economy is a concern, which may impact the rally, he feels.

About 1464 shares advanced against 891 declining shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Tata Motors was biggest gainer on Sensex and Nifty, up 3.5 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch has reiterated a buy call on the stock, with increased target price at Rs 580 from Rs 560 as it expects the valuation multiples to expand as well.

Jaguar Land Rover's North America sales grew by 16.4 percent to 9,231 units, aided by Jaguar that showed a whopping 130.4 percent increase at 3,484 units. However, Land Rover sales fell 10.4 percent to 5,747 units YoY.

Bajaj Auto gained over a percent after auto sales data. Its total sales increased to 2.73 lakh units in February 2017 from 2.72 lakh units in year-ago month, driven by exports.

ICICI Bank gained 1.6 percent after a media report indicated that global private equity firms including The Carlyle Group, Warburg Pincus Llc and Advent International have evinced interest in acquiring the 35 percent stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance held by Canadian financial institution Fairfax Financial Holdings.

10:33 am Buzzing stock: Shares of Trigyn Technologies was locked at 5 percent upper circuit at Rs 114.85 on Thursday as its subsidiary won a contract from the IT Department of Maryland, US.

Trigyn Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of company, has been awarded a twelve year indefinite quantity fixed price & time & materials, consulting & technical services IT contract by the State of Maryland's Department of Information Technology.

10:16 am Chanda Kochhar on lending rates: Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank, said on Wednesday that she does not expect lending rates to fall further anytime soon.

"A large part of the lending rates cut has already happened," Kochhar said an interview to CNBC-TV18. "An immediate cut is unlikely. We will have to watch the Reserve Bank of India and see how much CASA remains [post demonetisation]."

Kochhar said that while she was not surprised that the central bank had left the repo rate unchanged on February 8, the shift in stance from accommodative to neutral had come much earlier than expected.

Bulls were in control of the market, riding on positive momentum from better GDP data as well as rally in global markets. The Nifty was inching closer to 9000-mark.

The Sensex was up 138.10 points at 29122.59, while the Nifty was up 44.60 points at 8990.40. The market breadth was healthy with 1,371 shares having advanced, 641 shares declining and 87 shares remaining unchanged.

Tata Motors, BHEL and UltraTech Cement were the top gainers on both the indices, while pharma stocks Dr. Reddy's and Sun Pharma were lagging.

Wockhardt tanked nearly 7 percent intraday on Thursday as investors turned bearish after the company's US arm received a warning letter from the US drug regulator. The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, a stepdown subsidiary of the company in Illinois, US.

Meanwhile, DLF fell 3 percent intraday as investors booked profits in the stock, following developments around stake sale. The real estate major's audit committee confirmed about its talks with GIC for selling 40 percent stake in its rental arm DLF Cyber City Developers.

Markets in US and Europe closed higher, following US President Donald Trump's speech. Asian markets too rallied, tracking gains from the US. The Nikkei gained over a percent on Thursday.

9:37 am Buzzing: Wockhardt tanked nearly 7 percent intraday as investors turned bearish after the company's US arm received a warning letter from the US drug regulator.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, a stepdown subsidiary of the company in Illinois, US. ''This would mean that current portfolio of the company will continue to be made available in the market. However, new approvals will be withheld till resolution,'' it told the exchanges in a notification on Wednesday.

The warning letter comes as a blow to the company, which was struggling with issues of regulatory non-compliance. Three plants of Wockhardt in India are already under an import ban in the US. Its formulations units at Chikalthana and Waluj in Maharashtra have been under the USFDA's import alert since 2013, while its bulk drug plant at Ankleshwar in Gujarat was issued an import alert in August.

9:27 am FII view: The employment data in the US does not show any spectacular progress, but remains steady, Willem Buiter, Chief Economist at Citi told CNBC-TV18. This may result in the US Federal Reserve hiking key rates when it meets in March, he added.

However, he said emerging markets are unlikely to falter as the momentum in the emerging markets steadily pick up pace in 2017. He said, for instance, the worst performers of last year, Russia and Brazil, are showing various positive signs.

The dollar's movement will largely depend on the fiscal package that is proposed to the US Congress, according to the economist, who sees a slight uptick in the dollar in 2017.

9:15 am Market Check:
Equity benchmarks started off session at fresh 52-week high on Thursday, with the Nifty March futures hitting 9000 level, backed by banks, auto, technology and metals stocks.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 148.09 points at 29132.58 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 41.90 points at 8987.70. About 673 shares advanced against 106 declining shares on the BSE.

Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Wipro, Bajaj Auto, GAIL, Hindalco and Tata Motors (DVR) were early gainers while Dr Reddy's Labs and Coal India were under pressure.

The Indian rupee gained by 8 paise at 66.75 per dollar versus 66.83 Wednesday.

Tirthankar Patnaik of Mizuho Bank says he expects the USD-INR to range between 66.50-67.50/dollar in the near term with the State election results on March 11 crucial for its continued strength.

The dollar hit a seven-week high after hawkish comments from two Federal Reserve officials increased expectations that the US Central Bank is closer to raising interest rates. Futures traders are now pricing in a 69 percent chance of a Fed hike in March, up from 35 percent on Tuesday.

Asia markets traded mostly higher, tracking gains in the US where the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 21,000 on the back of President Donald Trump's speech to lawmakers.