Sensex closes off day's high, Nifty holds 9100; banks lead gainers

3:30 pm Market closing: Equity benchmarks closed higher for second consecutive session Friday, backed largely by banks and other index heavyweights.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 89.24 points to 29,421.40 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 21.70 points at 9,108.

3:20 pm New contract: PNC Infratech today said it has emerged as the lowest bidder for NHAI's two highway projects worth Rs 4,130 crore in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The company has been declared the lowest bidder for the "two hybrid annuity highway projects of NHAI for an aggregate bid project cost of Rs 2,720 crore," PNC Infratech said in a filing to the BSE.

It said one of the projects pertain to four-laning of 75 km Jhansi-Khajuraho section of NH 75/76 (package I) in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) under NHDP III for Rs 1,410 crore.

Five firms participated in the bidding and the price bids were opened on Thursday with PNC'S bid being the lowest, it said.

3:05 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks were off day's high in afternoon as the Sensex was up 49.69 points at 29381.85, and the Nifty up 13.50 points at 9099.80 on profit booking.

2:55 pm TCS on US visa reform: President Donald Trump's talk of visa reform is a major thorn in the side of India's software services firms, but one of the industry's biggest players says it isn't worried.

"We're pretty strong in the US - we have a large presence of US nationals working for us, and we continue to invest," Girish Ramachandran, Asia-Pacific president of TCS, told CNBC on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in Hainan.

"We feel confident but overall, we're pretty optimistic about business across these markets."

For years, IT firms in the world's largest democracy, including Tata competitors Infosys and Wipro, have relied on the AmericanH-1B visa program to send employees to the US, which is the industry's most important overseas market. TCS, for instance, gets roughly half of its revenue from the US.

2:35 pm P-notes to be hit? The Indian government's new tax treaty with Singapore and Mauritius will come into effect from April 1, 2017, and the capital inflow into the Indian market via participatory notes (P-notes) is likely to see a sharp fall.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) who are interested in betting on Indian shares but not registered with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have been using the P-note route to invest in the Indian market.

2:20 pm Market Check: Bulls were in charge of the market on Friday, as benchmark indices raced ahead, led by banks.

The 30-share Sensex was up 155.34 points at 29487.50, while the Nifty was up 36.50 points at 9122.80. The market breadth, though, has been steadily narrowing as 1,428 shares advanced against a decline of 1,258 shares. Around 187 shares were unchanged.

Plastic products manufacturer Sintex Industries gained more than 4 percent intraday on approval from NCLT for demerger of custom moulding and prefab businesses.

"The Honourable National Company Law Tribunal, Bench at Ahmedabad, has sanctioned the composite scheme of arrangement between Sintex Industries, Sintex Plastics Technology, Sintex-BAPL and Sintex Infra Projects and their respective shareholders and creditors," the Gujarat-based plastic products maker said in its filing.

Shares of Yes Bank surged 2 percent intraday on Friday as investors cheered a strong response to the qualified institutional placement (QIP) by the bank. The lender on Thursday announced the launch of a USD 650 million QIP issue with an option to upsize to USD 750 million. The issue was oversubscribed over 2.5 times at a price of Rs 1,500 per share, according to a CNBC-TV18 report.

1:55 pm Buzzing: As Majesco has been selected by New Jersey-based insurance company for its multi-year modernisation program, the stock rallied more than 6 percent intraday.

"A tier one insurer has selected Majesco following an extensive evaluation as their strategic partner for its multi-year modernisation program," the US subsidiary of Majesco said in its filing.

As a part of agreement, the insurer will leverage Majesco's enterprise consulting services and the business transformation framework, application development & management services and the technical reference architecture, and testing services with the automation test framework and testing repository for underwriting and policy platform.

1:39 pm Europe opening: European markets opened lower amid investor uncertainty over a delayed vote on US President Donald Trump's health-care bill.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was 0.19 percent lower with almost all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

Trump warned House Republican lawmakers on Thursday that he is prepared to leave Obamacare unchanged and move on to tax reform if they do not vote in favor for new health-care legislation on Friday.

1:33 pm Drug filing: India's largest drug maker Sun Pharma and its partner Almirall on Friday announced that they have made a regulatory filing of their investigational psoriasis drug tildrakizumab with the European Medicines Agency for marketing approval.

Tildrakizumab (MK-3222) is a monoclonal antibody that selectively blocks the cytokine IL-23, which causes inflammation in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, a chronic immune disease that affects the skin.

Typically EMA takes around one and half year for approval.

The filing includes efficacy and safety data from the pivotal Phase III clinical trials (reSURFACE 1 and 2) that included over 1,800 patients across more than 200 clinical sites.

1:27 pm Interview: RC Bhargava, chairman of the country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki, said the auto industry is going to benefit hugely from goods and services tax (GST).

For the company per se, he said "We do not see any slowing down, in fact March will be a month which will probably see very high levels of sale, retail sales will be high", he added.

When asked if the company was looking at price hikes, he said, at the moment there was no need for price hikes.

1:05 pm Market Check: Benchmark indices as well as broader markets retained gains in afternoon trade despite sluggish trade in global peers.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 109.67 points at 29,441.83 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 27.30 points to 9,113.60, backed by banks after Finance Minister promised at IBLA award ceremony that new policy for NPA resolution will be announced soon.

The Nifty Bank index gained 200 points.

12:55 pm Buzzing: Plastic products manufacturer Sintex Industries gained more than 4 percent intraday on approval from NCLT for demerger of custom moulding and prefab businesses.

"The Honourable National Company Law Tribunal, Bench at Ahmedabad, has sanctioned the composite scheme of arrangement between Sintex Industries, Sintex Plastics Technology, Sintex-BAPL and Sintex Infra Projects and their respective shareholders and creditors," the Gujarat-based plastic products maker said in its filing.

Both demerged companies are wholly owned subsidiary of Sintex Plastics Technology.

Upon demerger, shareholders of Sintex Industries will get one equity share from Sintex Plastics Technology for one share held in company.

New equity shares to be issued by Sinted Plastics Technology to equity shareholders of Sintex Industries post demerger, will be listed on exchanges.

12:40 pm Bank of Japan Governor on monetary stimulus: Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday there is "no reason" to withdraw the bank's massive monetary stimulus now, or raise its bond yield targets, as inflation remains far from its 2 percent goal.

Kuroda also dismissed financial market concerns that the BOJ will eventually lose its ability to control long-term interest rates under its yield-curve-control framework.

"I don't think we need to raise our interest-rate targets now," Kuroda said at a Reuters Newsmaker event.

12:08 pm Market Check: After surging ahead from the opening sessions, the market held on to its extended gains, led by a rally in banks.

The Sensex was up 117.89 points at 29450.05, while the Nifty was up 30.80 points at 9117.10. The market breadth was narrowing as 1,031 shares declined against an advancement of 1,435 shares. Around 169 shares were unchanged.

ICICI Bank, SBI and Bank of Baroda were top gainers on the indices, while Bajaj Auto, TCS, Grasim and Tech Mahindra were the top losers.

The S&P BSE Banking index rose and the Nifty Bank rose 1 percent each in trade on Friday, led by gains in Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, PNB, Federal Bank and Canara Bank.

Banking stocks gained traction after the Finance Minister said that the government is going to announce a policy to push for the quick settlement of the non-performing assets (NPA) at banks in a 'couple of days' at CNBC-TV18's IBLA Awards on Thursday.

11:50 am IPO: The Rs 350 crore IPO of Shankara Build has received overwhelming response from investors.

The issue has oversubscribed 4.14 times, so far, on its last day of offer.

11:35 am Fund raising: Tata Motors will raise up to Rs 500 crore via issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) on a private placement basis.

"A meeting of duly authorised committee was held today approving offering for subscription on a private placement basis, up to 5,000 rated, listed, unsecured, 7.84 percent coupon, redeemable, non-convertible debentures aggregating up to Rs 500 crore," Tata Motors said in a BSE filing.

11:20 am NPA resolution: The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday at IBLA Awards promised a major policy decision to push for the quick settlement of the non-performing assets (NPA) at banks in a 'couple of days'.

Rajneesh Kumar, MD, SBI said that no resolution can happen without the support of the Reserve Bank of India and the government.  Also whatever the decision, there needs to be a proper regulatory mechanism to speed it up, said Kumar in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

Santosh Singh, Haitong Securities said policy framework around this issue has been formed many times, now what is needed is quick action plan.

For many years the discussions on solving the non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loan issues have taken place and at the end of the day, there is just one more scheme of debt restructuring but that is not really solving the problem, there needs to be a concrete action plan and that too soon, said Singh.

11:00 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks maintained early gains despite mixed trade in Asian markets. Among sectoral indices, PSU Bank gained the most on hopes new NPA resolution policy.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 119.52 points at 29,451.68 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 30 points at 9,116.30 while the broader markets continued to outperform.

The Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.6 percent each as about three shares gained for every share falling on the exchange.

ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda and SBI were top gainers among Nifty stocks, up 2-4 percent whereas TCS, Infosys and ONGC were under pressure.

10:41 am Interview: "Yesterday HPCL and all other OMCs have declared a second interim dividend and I am sure shareholders will be happy with that," MK Surana, CMD of HPCL said.

The first interim dividend was declared in February last year.

Crude prices are on a downward trend and there is a close watch on the products and the crude prices and then adjust the market prices accordingly, he further added.

Talking about gross refining margins (GRMs) he expects to end the year (FY17) around USD 6 per barrel.

10:20 am Buzzing: Skipper shares gained more than 10 percent intraday to hit a year high of Rs 177.90 after receiving orders for supply of transmission towers.

"The company has secured contracts for supply of transmission towers to the projects of Power Grid Corporation of India, Transmission Corporation of Telengana and Power Transmission Corporation of Uttrakhand," the Kolkata-based company said in its filing.

The transmission & distribution structures maker further said these contracts are worth Rs 405 crore approximately.

10:00 am Market Check: Benchmark indices extended gains in morning, with the Sensex rising more than 100 points, supported by ICICI Bank, ITC and HDFC Bank.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 121.31 points at 29,453.47, and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 33.25 points to 9,119.55.

The market breadth remained strong as about two shares gained for every share falling on the BSE.

The broader markets outperformed benchmarks as the Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.6 percent each.

9:56 am Policybazaar plans IPO: Insurance comparison portal Policybazaar is setting its sights on an initial public offering (IPO) by the end of 2018. The company also is close to raise a pre-IPO round worth USD 50 million, according to a report in Mint. The company wants to strengthen its balance sheet with the fund raise.

Policybazaar's plans for a public offer have got a leg up after the company broke even in November 2016. It is hopeful of clocking significant profit growth in FY18.

Policybazaar will end FY17 with revenue of Rs 210 crore and ring in a Rs 50-crore profit over revenue of about Rs 350 crore in FY18, Chief Executive Yashish Dahiya told the paper.

9:33 am FII View: Laurence Balanco of CLSA says the Nifty is pulling back after last week's break above the September 2016 highs.

Nevertheless, the fact that the daily Relative Strength Index has confirmed the recent high of 9,212 suggests the current pullback is likely to be short lived and followed by further gains.

9:15 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks started off last day of the week on mildly positive note, with the Nifty reclaiming 9100 level, backed by banking & financials and FMCG stocks.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 40.77 points at 29,372.93 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 10.20 points to 9,096.50. About 560 shares advanced against 192 declining shares on the BSE.

Bharti Airtel rallied 2 percent in early trade as the company will acquire Tikona Digital Networks' 4G business for Rs 1,600 crore. Yes Bank was up over a percent after its QIP subscribed over 2.5 times.

The Indian rupee gained marginally in the early trade. It has opened at 65.48 per dollar versus previous close 65.52.

Ashutosh Raina of HDFC Bank says, "The USD-INR pair continues to trade in a very tight range around the 65.50/dollar handle, with gains on account of strong portfolio flows getting offset by strong intervention."

He expects the pair to trade in the 65.30-65.70/dollar range for today.

The dollar hovered near a four-month low against the Japanese yen ahead of a vote on republican healthcare plans which is seen as a litmus test for President Trump's ability to deliver on promises.

Asian markets were mixed, shrugging off US equities lower close as key health care vote in the US was delayed and President Donald Trump called on legislators for an up-or-down decision today.