Sensex, Nifty close lower on profit booking; Infosys drags

3:30 pm Market Closing: Benchmark indices closed moderately lower on Tuesday, weighed by profit booking ahead of last phase of voting for assembly elections.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 48.63 points at 28999.56 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 16.55 points to 8946.90.

3:28 pm Fund raising: DCB Bank said the board of directors approved raising up to Rs 400 crore through issue of shares to QIBs.

3:24 pm dividend: NMDC said the board of directors today declared first interim dividend of Rs 4.15 per share on face value of Re 1 each for financial year 2016-17.

3:13 pm CLSA on ACC: CLSA says it has reiterated sell call on ACC as company's internal & external pressures impacted 2016 performance and lack of growth focus drove market share losses again.

It believes new unit in East India should help volumes in the medium-term. CLSA still see company as a key beneficiary in an upcycle.

Potential merger with Ambuja Cements could help drive synergy benefits, it feels.

3:08 pm Norms for commodity markets: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is in 'informal' talks with the Reserve Bank of India to review norms on hedging in commodity markets, sources told moneycontrol.

The capital and commodity markets regulator's latest initiative in aimed at encouraging listed firms in India to hedge their commodity risks on the local commodity exchanges instead of international markets.

''The SEBI has informally initiated a dialogue with the RBI for hedging domestically,'' a source in the know told Moneycontrol.

3:00 pm Market Check: The market was off day's low in last hour of trade, with the Sensex climbing above 29,000-mark amid consolidation as investors awaited exit polls ahead of elections results due later in week.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 41.27 points at 29,006.92 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 14.75 points to 8948.70. About 1631 shares declined against 1143 advancing shares on the BSE.

2:52 pm MF assets soar: Mutual fund industry's asset base rose to an all-time high of Rs 17.89 lakh crore at the end of February, primarily on account of strong inflows in equity, income and money market segments.

The industry, comprising 43 active players, had an average assets under management (AUM) of Rs 17.37 lakh crore at January-end, the latest data of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) showed. Industry experts attributed the monthly rise in asset base to inflows in income and equity categories.

Besides, buoyant investor sentiment and phenomenal growth in systematic investment plans (SIPs) also helped in the growth of assets under management, they added.

2:41 pm Tata Motors rolls out sports car: Tata Motors, owners of Jaguar Land Rover, today unveiled its first product under its new sub-brand TAMO christened Racemo at the 87th Geneva Motor Show.

This marks the entry of the struggling carmaker into the sports car category which is dominated by German giants like Porsche, Mercedes and BMW. This is the 20th appearance of the Tata Motors at the auto show.

Managing director Guenter Butschek said, ''As India is globally the most demanding auto market if you get India right you are ready for the world. This is our emotional and unexpected leap into the future.''

2:29 pm Stake sale in PSUs? Government official has indicated that the Centre may be considering selling stake or a share buyback from 16 public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the next financial year.

The official stated that the government may sell 10 percent each in Oil India and BHEL. It reportedly estimates Rs 3,770 crore from Oil India's share buyback and Rs 5,220 crore from BHEL's buyback. 

2:19 pm Lack of reforms hurting telcos: Days after the outgoing Telecom Secretary JS Deepak shot off a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) raising a red flag over the health of the telecom sector, sources told CNBC-TV18 the regulator believes it is unfair to blame promotional offers by companies such as Jio for poor health of the sector.

TRAI is believed to have noted that it has, from time to time, shared various proposals with the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to improve the financial health of telecom companies.

Failure to implement these suggestions is also one of the key reasons for the flagging performance.

2:05 pm Market check: The market continued its downtrend, but trimmed some of its losses from the morning trade, even as investors sit on the fence ahead of exit polls on Thursday. The indices reclaimed a few milestones in the afternoon trade.

The Sensex was down 39.05 points at 29009.14, while the Nifty down 13.10 points or 0.15% at 8950.35. The market breadth was negative as 1,097 shares advanced, 1,571 shares declined and 170 shares remained unchanged.

Tata Steel, Hindalco and Axis Bank remained the top losers on both indices, while Adani Ports, ONGC and BPCL were the top gainers.

Bharat Financial inclusion was under pressure after it hinted that 4.5 percent of its loan book will turn bad in the December quarter. The stock was down nearly 6 percent intraday.

1:52 pm Sugar output cut: India will produce 20.3 million tonnes of sugar in the year to September 2017, a leading industry body said on Tuesday, 5 percent lower than a previous forecast.

Lower sugar output in India, the world's biggest producer behind Brazil, could exacerbate shortages and further push up prices of the sweetener.

Sugar output would fall after two straight droughts ravaged cane crops in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Indian Sugar Mills Association said.

1:45 pm Europe opening: Markets in Europe opened lower today as investors digested new economic data and grew optimistic of a new interest rate hike in the US as early as this month.

Market expectations for a rate hike announcement in the US next week stood at 86.4 percent today morning, the CME Group's FedWatch tool showed. Meanwhile, investors continue to closely follow political events across Europe, where uncertainty has dominated.

1:41 pm Cigarette price hike: Cigarette major ITC has increased India Kings price to Rs 300 for per 20 cigarettes packet, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting sources.

It also hiked price of Ultra Premium India Kings cigarette by 11 percent.

The stock rebounded after cigarette price hike. It was trading at Rs 264.45, up 0.25 percent on the BSE.

Lower-than-expected hike in excise duty on tobacco products in the Union Budget 2017 and recent price hikes continued to support the stock price. Analysts will closely watch whether these price hikes impact on volumes or not in Q4FY17.

1:33 pm Auto sales: Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) today reported its best-ever retail sales for February at 40,978 vehicles, up 9.3 percent from the same month last year.

The month's performance has been driven by strong sales of the Jaguar F-PACE, the XE, the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the Range Rover and the Evoque, with sales of the all-new Land Rover Discovery now also under way, the company said in a statement.

The Jaguar brand recorded retail sales of 12,203 units in February, up 81.1 percent, driven by the ongoing success of the Jaguar F-PACE as well as strong sales of the XE.

The Land Rover saw sales of 28,775 vehicles in February, down 6.4 percent compared to February 2016.

1:27 pm Finance Bill: The Finance Bill will be passed by Parliament before March 31 to enable ministries to avail funds from April 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.

"This would help the ministries to remain in the stage of readiness as funds would be available with effect from April 1," he said.

The Finance Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha, after the presentation of the annual budget, to implement the financial proposals for the following financial year.

Jaitley also released the revised General Financial Rules (GFR) 2017.

1:15 pm Buzzing: South Indian Bank shares rose more than 3 percent intraday after the Reserve Bank of India allowed foreign investors to buy stake in the bank.

The Reserve Bank of India on Monday notified that the aggregate foreign share holdings by foreign institutional investors/registered foreign portfolios investors/non resident Indian/persons of Indian Origin/foreign direct investment/American Depository Receipts/Global Depository Receipts under portfolio investment scheme in The South Indian Bank have gone below the prescribed threshold caution limit stipulated under the extant FDI policy.

Hence, the restrictions placed on the purchase of shares of the bank are withdrawn with immediate effect, it said.

1:05 pm New car launch: Tata Motors has unveiled a car Tigor, under sedan segment and also sport utility vehicle Nexon at Geneva Motor Show.

Meanwhile, its subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover's UK sales increased 29.5 percent to 2,647 units in February against 2,044 units sold in same month last year. It was largely driven by Land Rover sales that jumped 39.5 percent to 1,778 units while Jaguar sales rose 13 percent to 869 units on year-on-year basis.

1:00 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks continued to trade lower in afternoon trade as investors remained cautious ahead of exit polls for assembly elections that will end with UP's last phase on March 8. Actual elections results will be announced on Saturday, March 11.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 77.26 points at 28970.93 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 25.10 points to 8938.35. About 1528 shares advanced against 1059 declining shares on the BSE.

Infosys, Reliance Industries, ITC, Axis Bank, SBI, Lupin, Tata Steel and Bharti Airtel were down 0.5-2 percent while TCS and Adani Ports were top gainers, up over a percent.

12:59 pm Brooks Labs starts ops: Brooks Laboratories has commenced its commercial operations at the new manufacturing plant Unit-II at Vadodara. The stock was trading up over 7.5 percent intraday on Tuesday.

12:44 pm LNG for transportation fuel: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday has said that the government has ambitious  plan to use LNG as a transportation fuel. The Centre will soon be notifying this.

12:38 Buzzing stock: Shares of Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company touched a 52-week high of Rs 63.85, up 7.6 percent intraday Tuesday after the holding firm of the Wadia Group decided to increase stake in company.

The finance committee of the board of directors of Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation on Monday said it was proposed that the corporation acquire additional shares in the Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing (BDMC) directly or through its wholly owned overseas subsidiary. It is a part of internal restructuring of promoters' holdings in Bombay Dyeing, the textile company.

12:33 Midcap IT stocks gain: Shares of midcap IT stocks saw a gain between 1 percent and 3.5 percent intraday. Hexaware soared 3.35 percent, while NIIT Technologies, Mindtree, eClerx saw an increase of 2.40 percent, 3.25 percent and 1.35 percent, respectively.

12:24 pm Expert Speak: The recent rally has led to a run-up in valuations, and Mahesh Patil, Co-Chief Investment Officer at Birla Sun Life AMC, said he would prefer to not chase the market, but look to buy at better price points.

While earnings could take couple of quarters more to pick up, India will likely be the fastest growing country over the next 3 years, he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

He said even as the outlook is improving on the global front and India's net exports could improve, he is more inclined towards domestic-oriented companies.

12:19 pm Lupin launches drug: Lupin has launched a generic Paxil CR tablets in the US. These tablets are indicated for the treatment of major depressiver disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disprder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The stock was down over a percent intraday.

12:02 pm Market check: The market fell furthermore in late morning trade as investors looked to book profits ahead of the key exit poll data for assembly elections on Thursday. The Nifty was trading well below 8950-mark.

The Sensex was down 64.01 points at 28984.18, while the Nifty was down 24.15 points at 8939.30. The market breadth was negative as 1,032 shares had advanced, while 1,450 shares declined. Meanwhile, 137 shares remained unchanged.

Bharat Financial Inclusion tanked nearly 7 percent intraday after the microfinance institution indicated a risk of 4.5 percent of its loan book turning bad in the December quarter.

Tata Steel, Hindalco and Axis Bank were major laggards on the indices, while Adani Ports, TCS and BPCL were the top gainers.

11:55 am Completion of stake sale: Crompton Greaves (CG) today said it has completed sale of its B2B automation business to Saudi Arabia's Alfanar for an enterprise value of euro 120 million (about Rs 845 crore).

"The company along with its subsidiary, C G International BV, has completed the sale with effect from March 6, upon execution of share purchase agreements and other related transactional documents with Alfanar Electric LLC," Crompton Greaves said in a BSE filing.

In November 2016, the company had announced its decision to sell automation business to Alfanar.

11:42 am Oil Update: US oil prices eased in Asian trade after the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast US shale output to grow at about 1.4 million barrels per day by 2022.

US West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.15 percent to USD 53.12 a barrel.

11:31 am Investment likely in US energy sector: India is open to the idea of investing in America's energy sector and acquiring assets if it gets a good deal, Union Oil and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.

"Our basket is really global," the Minister said.

India, which in the coming years would emerge as the largest energy consumer of the world accounting for nearly one-third, is open to investment in the US, subject to a good deal, Pradhan said.

Noting that India's source of procuring crude oil is multidimensional, Pradhan said if India gets "good terms and reasonable price," it is open to buy energy from anywhere, including the US.

India, of late, has invested in the energy market across the globe Russia, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, Africa, Latin America.

11:21 am Buzzing: TeamLease Services shares rallied 8 percent intraday on value buying after Kotak has upgraded the stock to buy from add with a target price of Rs 1,200.

The brokerage house says structural drivers like GST implementation and labour law simplification will drive sustainable stable growth of the company.

It feels GST (goods & services tax) implementation can reduce the pricing gap between organised and unorganised staffing companies.

11:15 am Drug case settlement: Cadila Healthcare and its subsidiary Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA announced that they have finalised an agreement with Supernus Pharmaceuticals Inc, to settle all outstanding patent litigation related to Trokendi XR (topiramate) extended-release capsules.

Under the terms of agreement, Supernus grants Zydus a license to market Zydus' generic version of Trokendi XR (topiramate) extended-release capsules beginning on January 1, 2023 or earlier under certain circumstances.

11:10 am Fitch on GDP: Global rating agency Fitch today said Indian economy will grow by 7.1 percent in the current fiscal before stepping up to 7.7 percent in the next two financial years.

The US-based agency, however, termed the 7 percent GDP growth for the October-December quarter as "surprising", a tad lower than 7.4 percent in the previous quarter.

"This number looks somewhat surprising, as real activity data released since demonetisation pointed to weak consumption and services activity because these transactions are cash-intensive. By contrast, official data suggest that private consumption was strong in the fourth quarter of 2016 (though services output growth moderated quite substantially)," Fitch said.

Fitch expects Indian GDP to grow by 7.1 percent for 2016-17, before picking up to 7.7 percent in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.

11:05 am Stake sale: Sources have informed CNBC-TV18 that Reliance Capital has reportedly sold its stake in Paytm for a whopping Rs 275 crore.  It has sold this stake to China's Alibaba Group.

Reliance Capital had invested Rs 10 crore to buy the stake in the e-wallets firm.

11:00 am Market Check: Benchmark indices remained moderately under pressure in morning as investors maintained cautious stance ahead of exit polls for assembly elections that will end on March 8.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 55.26 points at 28992.93 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 20.80 points to 8942.65.

The market breadth also turned negative as about 1308 shares declined against 982 advancing shares on the BSE.

Metals stocks were under pressure on profit booking. Hindalco fell 3 percent and Tata Steel slipped nearly 2 percent.

10:52 am Den hikes stake in arm: Cable television services firm Den Networks purchased additional 37.57 percent shares in its subsidiary DEN Digital Cable Network, increasing its stake from 51 percent to 88.57 percent.

"Den Networks Ltd has entered into an agreement with DEN Digital Cable Network (DDCN) for increasing equity stake of the company in DDCN from 51 percent to 88.57 percent," Den Networks said in a BSE filing."

The stock was up trading higher by 4 percent on the back of this development.

10:36 am Buzzing stock: Shares of Crompton Greaves jumped 4.5 percent intraday on Tuesday after the company announced the completion of sale of its automation business.

The company completed the sale of ZIV Automation India on March 6, 2017. The proceeds from the sale will be used to retire the substantial portion of its international debts. The sale is aligned with the firm's overall strategy to focus its synergies to core operations in India, the company said in a notification to the exchanges.

10:20 am Expert on US rate hike: Even one small interest rate increase by the Fed could have a sweeping impact on US and world economies, Komal Sri-Kumar told CNBC on Monday.

"I think they are going to hike" on March 15, Sri-Kumar said on "Squawk Box," echoing a theory shared by many analysts.

"But that is going to prompt capital outflows from the euro zone, especially with the political risk. It is going to increase the capital outflow from China, and the US economy will feel the impact."

10:10 am Market check: The market was in consolidation mode on Tuesday as investors sat on the fence ahead of key exit poll data for assembly elections in five states.

The 30-share Sensex was down 6.94 points at 29041.25, while the Nifty was down 5.95 points or 0.07% at 8957.50. The market breadth remained narrow with 1,065 shares having advanced, 874 shares having declined, while 100 shares were unchanged.

Reliance, TCS, BPCL and Tata Power were the top gainers on both the indices, while Infosys, Tata Steel and Hindalco were the top losers.

Tech Mahindra surged over 2 percent intraday as investors cheered its acquisition of US-based firm HCI Group. Analysts are also upbeat on the deal on the back of appropriate valuations and cross-selling synergies.

Power stocks gained on reports of a possible coal linkage policy that could be introduced next week. Sources told CNBC Awaaz that the government could look at allocating coal linkage through an auction. Furthermore, power firms that currently do not have a coal linkage could benefit from the new policy.

9:58 am Buzzings: Shares of PNC Infratech and Arfin India gained 7 percent and 8 percent respectively intraday on the back of order received by the companies.

PNC Infratech has been declared the L1 (lowest) bidder for NHAI project of six laning Chitradurga - Davanagere including Chitradurga bypass in the state of Karnataka under NHDP V, to be executed on hybrid annuity mode for a bid project cost of Rs 1434 crore.

This is the second hybrid annuity project won by the company with construction period of two and a half years and operation period of 15 years.

Arfin India has bagged an order worth Rs 107 crore from JSW Steel for supply to its three units located at Bellary, Dolvi & Salem for the financial year 2017-18.

9:49 am New exploration policy: India has announced a new hydrocarbon exploration licensing policy which offers single license to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources, as the country seeks to propel investment in the energy sector.

Christened "Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy" or HELP, the new policy also gives the investors the much needed freedom in pricing and marketing for crude oil and natural gas.

The new policy is part of the strategy to make India a business and investor friendly destination and achieve the plan to double India's existing oil production from current 80 million metric tons to about 150-155 million metric tons by 2022, said the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

9:35 am Market Update: Benchmark indices erased early gains on selling pressure in Infosys and Tata Motors.

The Sensex was down 10.95 points at 29037.24 and the Nifty fell 10.40 points to 8953.05.

However, the market breadth was positive as about 928 shares advanced against 645 declining shares on the BSE.

9:30 am BoAML on Tech Mahindra: Bank of America Merrill Lynch says acquisition of US-based CJS Group provides Tech Mahindra with an entry in the healthcare vertical. Business exposure of CJS is mainly to clients in US & UK.

Acquisition transaction is likely to be mildly earnings accretive and deal valuation at USD 110 million appears to be in-line with industry trend, the brokerage house feels.

Tech Mahindra is likely to use existing cash for CJS' acquisition. BoAML sees a contingent mull of USD 130.5 million based on 2017-19 revenue and EBITDA targets.

The brokerage house has maintained underperform rating on sensitivity w.r.t H-1B visa program in the US. Every 10 percent increase in H-1B wages may hurt earnings by 11 percent, on gross basis, BoAML feels.

9:15 am Market Check
The market started off trade mildly positive amid consolidation on Tuesday as investors awaited assembly elections results due later in week.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 20.20 points at 29068.39 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 5.85 points at 8969.30. About 533 shares advanced against 250 declining shares on the BSE.

NTPC, Reliance Industries, Coal India, Adani Ports, BHEL, Tech Mahindra, Tata Power and Eicher Motors were early gainers while Infosys, Hero Motocorp, Tata Motors, Hindalco, IndusInd Bank, M&M and Idea Cellular were under pressure.

The Indian rupee has opened higher by 5 paise at 66.67 per dollar on Tuesday versus 66.72 Monday.

Pramit Brahmbhatt of Veracity says the rupee will continue to trade positive considering optimism prevailing in domestic equity market and will head towards 66.50/dollar.

He expects the USD-INR to trade in a range of 66.50-67/dollar today.

The dollar held onto gains, lifted by the Federal Reserve's near-certain March rate increase, while political uncertainties over the French presidential election weighed on the euro.

Asian shares wavered, after Wall Street traded lower overnight on increased expectations that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy next week.