Market ends almost flat on profit booking; Nifty closes at record high

3:30 pm Market at Close: After clocking record high during the opening session, the market ended the day on a relatively subdued note as investors booked profits due to the rally witnessed by benchmarks this week.

The 30-share Sensex was up 63.14 points at 29648.99, while the Nifty was up 6.35 points at 9160.05. The market breadth was negative as 1,225 shares advanced, 1,593 shares declined, while 204 shares are unchanged.

ITC was the top gainer on both the indices, while PSU banks and telecom stocks saw a fall.

The FMCG major gained on the back of GST Council's announcements to cap cess on tobacco products. The index heavyweight's rally actually held the market largely above the green zone.

2:51 pm Banks' credit growth: In a meeting with Prime Minister's Office, Banks Board Bureau Chairman Vinod Rai raised red flags on bad loans. He highlighted the lack of action by banks on bad loans, suggesting a possible way ahead.

Dolat Capital says the latest credit growth trends continue to remain muted at below 4 percent, lowest in last 24 months with current being 3.28 percent as per the fortnightly data available from RBI.

With credit remaining subdued for quite some time now, overall stressed asset for the banking system stood higher at 13 percent as at the end of Q3FY17 as against 12 percent of FY16. With industrial credit segment remaining weak, Dolat Capital says its preliminary interactions with bankers corroborated this data suggesting that lack of fresh capex either from Government of India or the private sector has dragged down credit demand in infra & power sector starkly during past six months.

The banks' NPA rose to whopping Rs 6.6 lakh crore as at the end of December 2016. Whilst the incremental stressed loans are moderating, the credit costs continue to remain elevated with increased PCR, it says.

2:40 pm States' fiscal deficit: Moderate growth in sales tax collections and substantial expansion in grants from the Centre have prevented a sharp cut-back in expenditure growth of the state governments after the note ban.

Moreover, higher capital spending and extension of loans appears to be the chief driver of the sharp rise in states' fiscal deficits as well as borrowings in FY2017, according to ICRA.

2:20 pm Textile exports: The country's textiles exports dipped by about 4.5 percent to USD 26 billion during April- December of this fiscal.

"The exports of textiles during 2016-17 (April-December) were USD 26 billion compared to USD 27.2 billion during 2015-16 (April-December)," Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta said today in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

He also said that during the three quarters of this fiscal, the total production of man-made fibre stood at 1,037 million kg while spun yarn production was 4,254 million kg.

In a separate reply, he said that in order to develop the textiles industry and infrastructure, the government has implemented various schemes such as technology upgradation fund scheme and the one for integrated textiles parks, among others.

2:00 pm Market Check: The NSE Nifty continued to consolidate in afternoon after hitting a record high in opening as investors digested approval of important bills by GST Council and Federal Reserve's rate hike.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 78.25 points at 29,664.10 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 6.15 points at 9,159.85 while the broader markets underperformed on weak breadth.

About 1535 shares declined against 1163 advancing shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Idea Cellular was the biggest loser among Nifty stocks, down 4 percent followed by Bharti Airtel, Bank of Baroda, SBI, Tata Motors DVR, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors and L&T.

However, ITC continued to support the market to retain positive bias. The stock surged 6 percent as analysts are upbeat on the stock after the GST Council decided to cap the cess rate on tobacco products at Rs 4170 per 1,000 sticks or 290 percent ad valorem.

Sugar stocks rallied ahead of sugar output data. Andhra Sugar, Balrampur Chini, Dhampur Sugar, Dwarikesh Sugar, Oudh Sugar and Upper Ganges gained 4-9 percent.

1:55 pm Buzzing: United Bank of India shares spiked 12 percent intraday on capital infusion by the government under its turnaround-linked capital infusion plan.

"The bank has received a communication from the Central Government, on March 16, about capital allocation of Rs 418 crore, as a part of turnaround linked capital infusion plan," the state-owned bank said in its filing.

It further said this proposal for allotment of equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each at a premium to the Central Government by way of preferential allotment will be placed before the board of directors at a meeting scheduled on March 27 in Kolkata.

1:45 pm Europe opening: European markets opened lower as they take a bit of a breather after hitting record highs during Thursday's trading.

Investors are set to be mainly focused on politics with finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-20 gathering in Germany. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet US President Donald Trump in the US. This will be their first meeting after accusations from the US administration that Germany manipulates the euro to take advantage when trading with its foreign partners.

1:40 pm Brokerage view: Credit Suisse has raised target price on Tata Steel to Rs 600 following 8 percent increase in its FY18/19 EPS estimates, citing likely higher output and better spreads in European Union industry. The stock rallied nearly 2 percent to touch 2.5-year high of Rs 508.45. It surged 30 percent, so far, in 2017.

On enterprise value per tonne of capacity, Tata Steel/JSW Steel/Jindal Steel & Power are all trading marginally below the replacement cost of USD 800-1,000 per tonne, indicating that valuations are not stretched as yet, the brokerage house says.

1:22 pm Expert view: While the market remains at an all-time high, investors must not be in a hurry to participate but look for good quality stocks, Dipen Sheth, head of institutional research at HDFC Securities told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

''Most investors will begin to panic on the feeling of being left out,'' he said, adding that such investments then drive up the market sometimes. Instead, he says, one must look for fundamentally good picks. There are options available outside of the index as well, he stated.

Among midcaps, there are many good stories coming out of there. ''The focus should be on bottom-up stories… there are stocks at good valuations in the space'' he told the channel.

1:10 pm Market Check: Profit booking by investors pulled down the market, which clocked fresh highs this morning. Equity benchmarks were trading almost flat in afternoon trade.

The Sensex was up 54.07 points at 29639.92, while the Nifty was up 0.25 points at 9153.95. The market breadth indicated negativity as 1,032 shares having advanced, 1,559 shares having declined, while 156 shares were unchanged.

Reversing its 4-day climb, the rupee fell 24 paise to 65.65 against the dollar on Friday as the American currency got some of its lure back among banks and importers.

The dollar's strength overseas weighed, but a higher opening in domestic equities cushioned the impact.

12:50 pm Tie-up: A Railway research centre in Australia has entered into an agreement with the Indian Railways to support future research and technology development related to critical infrastructure in India.

Representatives from Monash University Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) and Indian Ministry of Railways corporation DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited) signed an agreement yesterday in New Delhi.

They will provide guidance on the establishment of a new applied research and development institute in India known as SRESTHA (Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement).

12:40 pm Rupee falls: Reversing its 4-day climb, the rupee fell 24 paise to 65.65 against the dollar as the American currency got some of its lure back among banks and importers.

The dollar's strength overseas weighed, but a higher opening in domestic equities cushioned the impact.

The rupee had gained 28 paise to close at a fresh 16-month high of 65.41 on Thursday after the US Fed stuck to its stance of a gradual approach on future rate hikes.

12:25 pm GST: The GST Council, in its 12th meeting on March 16, cleared the State GST and Union Terrtiory GST bills. With this, all five legislations of the GST (CGST, SGST, IGST, UTGST and the compensation bill) now stand formally approved by the Council.

A cap was announced on the cess applicable on the five commodities under the GST, implying that the government intends to bring the GST rates on these commodities closer to the existing ones.

Motilal Oswal says now, as a next step, these GST legislations will be considered and passed by the central and respective state governments. Apart from these legislations, the GST Council has to pass the set of nine rules of the GST (of which five are already passed), and provide fitment of various goods/services in the five tax brackets.

The government, with the passage of these five legislations, feels confident of the GST rollout by 1 July 2017, it says.

12:10 pm JPMorgan on NTPC: JPMorgan is overweight on the stock with a target price at Rs 185. It expects bunching up of 2.87 GW of standalone project announcements in a month.

The research firm also sees conclusion of Chhabra acquisition in a month. However, discovery of record low solar tariffs seem to have slowed its solar plans for the near term.

12:00 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks were off day's high in noon on the back of profit booking in banks, auto, infra and metals stocks. ITC continued to help the market remain in positive terrain, adding 188 points to the Sensex.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 76.22 points at 29,662.07 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 1.30 points at 9,155.

The broader markets underperformed benchmarks, with the Nifty Midcap losing half a percent after hitting a record high. The market breadth was also in favour of declines as about three shares fell for every two shares gained on the BSE.

HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries also helped the market stay in green while profit booking continued in ICICI Bank, L&T, SBI, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel and M&M.

11:58 am Buzzing: Shares of ITC rallied nearly 8 percent intraday as investors placed bets after GST Council's announcements.

The GST Council on Thursday decided to cap the cess rate on tobacco products at Rs 4,170 per 1,000 sticks or 290 percent ad valorem. It also capped the cess on pan masala at 135 percent ad valorem. This cess would be levied on top of the GST to be imposed on these products.

Analysts are largely positive on the stock due to these announcements and have largely maintained their buy calls.

Morgan Stanley is overweight with a target price of Rs 310. It says the proposed specific cess on cigarettes 6 percent lower than the current tax rate. This reduction will be offset by an increase in GST rate to 28 percent against the VAT rate of 25 percent.

11:38 am Investment: State-run UCO Bank has knocked on the doors of LIC for the second time in as many months requesting the latter to invest Rs 1,000 crore in tier-2 bonds of the bank. Moneycontrol has a copy of the letter written by UCO Bank to LIC. The insurer, however, may not be keen to comply as it feels size of the investment is too huge. It has reservations about the paper's rating, too.

A source said that the insurer would be looking to invest in better-rated papers. However, they have not yet rejected the offer outright and may reconsider it if a better proposal comes along. An official mail sent to LIC remained unanswered. IRDAI has permitted insurers to invest in instruments including tier II bonds, but has cautioned that they should not invest in lower-rated papers.

11:25 am Credit Suisse on Tata Steel: Credit Suisse has raised its target price on the stock to Rs 600 per share on the back of likely higher output.

Utilisations for the company are now at 90 percent and falling Chinese exports should be a big advantage to the company, it feels.

11:10 am Market Check: The market was off the day's high after seeing a record surge in the morning session. Likely profit booking by investors could have dragged the indices down.

The Sensex was up 106.49 points at 29692.34, while the Nifty was up 9.55 points at 9163.25. The market breadth was negative as 1,113 shares had advanced against a decline of 1,224 shares. Around 143 shares remained unchanged.

Index heavyweight ITC was holding the market, while Lupin was also a top gainer on both the indices. Meanwhile, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and GAIL were the top losers on both indices.

Shares of ITC rallied nearly 8 percent intraday as investors placed bets after GST Council's announcements.

The GST Council on Thursday decided to cap the cess rate on tobacco products at Rs 4,170 per 1,000 sticks or 290 percent ad valorem. It also capped the cess on pan masala at 135 percent ad valorem. This cess would be levied on top of the GST to be imposed on these products.

Music Broadcast shares started off first day trade on a strong note, opening at Rs 413 on Friday, up 24 percent over issue price of Rs 333.

The stock was trading at Rs 379.85 on the NSE, up 14 percent over issue price after hitting an intraday high of Rs 415 and low of Rs 370.

10:45 am FII View: Riding high on the liquidity bandwagon, the Nifty which has already rallied over 12 percent so far in the year 2017 looks poised to hit 9,500-9600 mark in the next 4-6 weeks, says Mohammed Apabhai, head of Asia trading strategy at Citigroup Global Markets in an exclusive interview with CNBC TV 18.

The market is currently driven by global liquidity and it would be too early for investors to take money off the table, he said. Yes, valuations do look extreme but investors should not worry about that too much and enjoy the liquidity party for a month of two.

Commenting on the level of euphoria which the market is experiencing, Apabhai is of the view that the market is nowhere close to 2008 bubble and see another 4-5 per cent gain in US indices before it starts to cool off.

10:30 am Buzzing: Shares of Megasoft advanced 14.5 percent intraday as it has signed MoU with Government of Bihar to enhance IT services with cloud technologies.

The company has been awarded a cloud-enabled solution & services contract by the Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation (BELTRON).

The state Government of Bihar, through BELTRON, plans to establish state-of-the-art cloud computing facility for use by its various e-Governance programs and other IT-driven initiatives.

10:20 am Deutsche on Reliance: Deutsche Bank has a buy call on the stock with an increased target price of Rs 1,450-a jump of 12 percent. it feels telecom revenue and commissioning of core sector capital expenditure will be key catalysts to the stock.

It expects better refining margin, capex commissioning to drive core business' EBITDA over FY17-19. Meanwhile, it expects gross refining margins to rise 13 percent y ear on year to USD 6.8 per barrel in 2017.

On Reliance Jio, it expects a break-even in EBITDA in FY19 at a revenue base of Rs 22,800 crore. The key tests for this will be the average revenue per user (ARPU) level and subscription addition base.

10:05 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks maintained early gains, with the Nifty holding 9150 level supported by ITC that gained 7 percent. Reliance Industries also supported the market, up 0.8 percent.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 140.99 points at 29,726.84 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 20.45 points at 9,174.15. The broader markets lost shine despite positive breadth.

About 1213 shares advanced against 794 declining shares on the BSE.

L&T, HDFC, Infosys, SBI, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, Sun Pharma and HDFC Bank were under pressure on profit booking.

Almost 14 of 18 fund managers and analysts polled are of the view that the Sensex is likely to hover in a range of 30,000-35,000 while 2 analysts think that it could make an attempt to touch 40,000.

''Sensex could well hover in a narrow band of 5000 points where 30,000 being at the lower end of the range while on the higher side it could top 35,000. The Nifty50, on the other hand, could move between 9,000 and 9,500 by December 2017,'' Nilesh Shah, MD, Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund told Moneycontrol.

9:50 am Oil update: Oil prices were little changed today as the market looked for clues on how effectively OPEC production cuts are working to absorb a global supply overhang.

Brent crude was up 0.1 percent, at USD 51.79 per barrel, after closing the previous session down 7 cents, and was on track for a weekly gain of about 0.8 percent.

US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was up 0.11 percent, at USD 48.86 a barrel and was also set for a small weekly rise.

Oil prices fell sharply last week on concerns that production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC members including Russia are not cutting a supply overhang as quickly as expected in the face of increased US output.

9:45 am Merger: A Parliamentary panel has suggested merger of state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL for their long-term survival.

The Committee on Petitions, chaired by BJP MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari, in its report tabled in Lok Sabha today, said that it is of the "considered opinion that for the long-term survival and success, merger of MTNL and BSNL would be a good proposition..."

Their merger would give both the entities a chance for competing against private sector players, it added.

9:35 am FII View: Laurence Balanco of CLSA says this week's regional price action is dominated by the bullish breakouts in India's Nifty and Korea's Kospi 200. Technically, the breakout in the Nifty is more compelling with momentum indicators continuing to confirm the market highs.

Unlike the Kospi 200's breakout, the Nifty's attempt to breakout above 8,994-9,191 is being confirmed by its daily momentum indicator, he says.

Momentum and breadth confirmation of a break above the 8,994-9,191 resistance zone would trigger the bullish implication of the 2015-to-date trading range, he adds.

Balanco feels such a move would open the door for a move up to the following target levels seen between 10,350 and 12,000.

9:15 am Market Check
Benchmark indices extended previous day's rally on Friday, with the Nifty hitting a record high of 9200 in opening following clearance to all five laws by GST Council.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 202.64 points or 0.68 percent at 29,788.49 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 45.05 points or 0.49 percent to 9,198.75.

ITC surged 4 percent after brokerages are upbeat on the stock. TCS, Asian Paints, Wipro, Lupin, M&M, Power Grid and Tata Steel were other early gainers while L&T, GAIL, Tech Mahindra, BPCL and HDFC were under pressure.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on Thursday approved the remaining two crucial supplementary bills - State GST (SGST) and Union Territory GST (UTGST) - moving the proposed July 1 implementation of the country's biggest tax reform closer to reality.

Final drafts of the three other bills - Integrated GST (IGST), Central GST (CGST) and Compensation bill - had been cleared by the Council in its previous meetings.

The Indian rupee opened marginally lower at 65.45 per dollar today against previous close of 65.41.

Ashutosh Raina of HDFC Bank said, "The US rate hike, accompanied by dovish commentary, resulted in dollar sell-off, with dollar index settling close to 100. The resultant appreciation in the USD-INR pair has been pretty sharp, breaching major technical supports, and settling close to the 65.50/dollar level."

He expects the pair to consolidate around current levels, although the appreciating bias could continue, with RBI expected to limit volatility.

The dollar remained under pressure, wallowing at five-week lows and on track for weekly losses after the US Federal Reserve signaled fewer interest rate hikes than some investors had expected.

Asian markets traded sideways, following a flat to lower close on Wall Street, in a light regional data day.