Sensex ends 172 points higher, Nifty at 9100; Axis Bank up 3%

3:30 pm Market at Close: After ending Monday on a slightly weak note, the market on Tuesday as ended on a very positive note. Equity benchmarks have gained on the back of a rally in banks, which saw stocks surging on the back of M&A buzz.

The Sensex was up 172.37 points at 29411.56, while the Nifty was up 61.55 points at 9100.80. The market breadth, however, was very narrow with 1,439 shares advancing against a decline of 1,405 shares, while 207 shares remained unchanged.

Axis Bank, HDFC and Eicher Motors were the top gainers on both indices, while ONGC, Lupin, Tech Mahindra and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top losers.

Jet Airways gained nearly 2 percent in the last hour of trade after reports indicated a fundraising by selling a minority stake.

3:10 pm Betting on approval to merger: From the side-lines of 20th Annual Asian Investor Conference, Amitabh Chaudhry, MD & CEO, HDFC Life speaks about the procedural hurdles and timeline of HDFC-MAX Life merger.

HDFC-MAX Life merger was announced in August 2016. Post this announcement, the company ran into some hiccups with the regulator Insurance Regulator and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) regarding structure which is to be used for the merger to
take place.

2:55 pm Buzzing Stock: Shares of Jet Airways gained nearly 2 percent intraday as investors cheered the buzz of the airline looking to raise funds.

The carrier is said to be in talks with investors to raise money through a minority stake sale, sources told CNBC-TV18. The funds are likely to be used to reduce its debt. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and sovereign wealth funds are in talks with the airline. Jet Airways had a net debt of Rs 7,423 crore as of December 2016.

2:35 pm Puravankara exits Raidurg Investments: Puravankara has successfully exited from Raidurg for Rs 475 crore. The company had invested Rs 403 at Raidurg, Panamaktha Village, Ranga Reddy district.

2:20 pm Drug approval: Drug firm Suven Life Sciences has received one product patent from New Zealand for its molecule to be used in the treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases.

With this new patent, Suven has a total of 26 patents from New Zealand. The new patent is valid through 2033, Suven Life Sciences said in a BSE filing.

"We are very pleased by the grant of these patents to Suven for our pipeline of molecules in CNS arena that are being developed for cognitive disorders with high unmet medical need with huge market potential globally," Suven CEO Venkat Jasti said.

2:10 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks were trading range-bound in the afternoon session with a slight selling pressure. The Nifty fell below 9100 as well.

The Sensex was up 152.30 points at 29389.45, while the Nifty was up 48.90 points at 9094.10. About 1,495 shares advanced against a decline of 1,170 shares declined, and 192 shares remain unchanged.

Axis Bank, HDFC and Tata Motors (D) continued to gain, while ONGC, Hero MotoCorp and Tech Mahindra were the top losers.

Nifty Bank has been an outperformer on the back of a merger buzz after Kotak Mahindra Bank has called for a press conference on Wednesday.

Shares of Bharti Infratel rose nearly 4 percent intraday on Tuesday as investors cheered the buzz of stake purchase by KKR.

According to reports on CNBC-TV18, KKR has purchased 10 percent stake in the firm from Bharti Airtel at a price of Rs 325 per share.

Shares of Dishman Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals locked at 20 percent upper circuit on Tuesday after its partner received USFDA approval for its cancer drug.

The company has received United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval for cancer drug Zejula Capsules, for Tesaro Inc.

1:58 pm Do you own these stocks? As much as 85 stocks are trading above their 5-year average price and out of that 15 stocks more than doubled from their average price recorded in the last five years, according to data compiled by Moneycontrol.com team.

Most of the stocks which have doubled from their average price of last five years include quality franchises like Bajaj Finserv, HPCL, MRF, Ajanta Pharma, Havells India, Berger Paints, TVS Motor, Biocon, UPL, Rajesh Exports, Biocon, Petronet LNG etc. among others. You can read the full story here.

1:33 pm Expert Speak: V Srivatsa, EVP & Fund Manager, UTI MF in an interview to CNBC-TV18 shared his views on portfolio preferences.

The house is upbeat on the pharma space and thinks it is more insulated from US risks compared to the IT space.

Currently, their holdings are scattered over 6-7 stocks. Some are stocks that do not have any USFDA issues with good growth visibility. There are also stocks in the midst of FDA issues but hopes are that we will find a resolution over 2-3 quarters, says Srivatsa.

1:08 pm Market Check: Bulls continued to rule the Street, with the indices holding on to its morning gains. The rally was driven by banks as the Bank Nifty surged. The Nifty midcap index had also touched a record high.

The 30-share Sensex was up 173.93 points at 29411.08, while the Nifty was up 58.00 points at 9103.20. The market breadth was slightly narrow as 1,572 shares advanced against a decline of 1,006 shares, while 177 shares are unchanged.

Axis Bank, HDFC and Zee Entertainment were the top gainers on both the indices, while ONGC, GAIL and Tech Mahindra continue to fall the most.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, supported by a weaker dollar, but crude continued to be weighed down by surging U.S. production and uncertainty over whether an OPEC-led supply cut is big enough to rebalance the market.

Prices for front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil, had gained 18 cents from their last close to $50.93 per barrel by 0652 GMT.

In the United States, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 20 cents at $47.93 a barrel.

12:38 pm NTPC gets nod to invest Rs 3,004 crore in mining project: State-run power giant NTPC today said its board has approved investment of Rs 3,004 crore for Talaipalli Coal Mining Project which has an estimated 18 million tonnes per annum capacity in Chhattisgarh.

"In line with the Corporate Disclosure requirements, we wish to inform that the Board of Directors of the Company has accorded investment approval for Talaipalli Coal Mining Project (18 Million Tonnes per annum) at an appraised current estimated cost of Rs 3,004 crore," NTPC Ltd said in a statement.

According to the statement, coal mining is integral to NTPC's fuel security strategies. NTPC realises that greater self reliance on coal will go a long way in ensuring the sustained growth of power generation.

12:26 pm EPFO investment in mutual funds: Retirement body, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is looking to start investing Rs 20,000 crore or 10 percent of its investible deposits annually starting FY18 in liquid mutual fund schemes. The decision is likely to be approved when EPFO's apex decision body Central Board of Trustees (CBT) meets on March 30, sources told CNBC-TV18.

The fund managers of CBT will select ten liquid mutual funds with ratings of AA+ or better. The investment tenure in liquid MFs is going to be 30 days.

EPFO will be investing in liquid mutual funds for the very first time, adding a new category nto its existing portfolio. It currently deploys around half of its investible income in government bonds and around 40 percent in corporate bonds.

12:05 pm Market Check: Continuing with the trends from previous session, the market held steady and traded in a range after seeing an uptick in the morning trade. The Nifty continued to trade around 9100 range.

The Sensex was up 164.41 points at 29401.56, while the Nifty was up 54.90 points at 9100.10. The market breadth was narrowing compared to morning movements. About 1,539 shares advanced against a decline of 920 shares, while 160 shares were unchanged.

Axis Bank, Asian Paints and Tata Motors (D) were top gainers on both the indices, while ONGC, GAIL and Tech Mahindra were among the top losers.

Vadilal industries has been buzzing in trade and has witnessed 38 percent gains this month and is up 86 percent this year.

To meet the expected demand for the summer season the company has already commissioned three production lines, said Rajesh Gandhi, CMD, Vadilal Industries, adding that distributors now have increased to 850 from 800 and retail outlets have increased to 60,000 from 55,000.

With the sugar and milk prices on the rise, the company had taken price hike of around 5 percent in the month of February and now the realisations are around Rs 110 per litre compared to the earlier Rs 81/litre.

11:43 am Japanese market closes: Japan's Nikkei has closed with gains of over a percent. The index soared over 200 points to end at 19202.87

11:37 am Management Speak: Sanjiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Finserv is confident of the general insurance business growing above 20 percent in the fourth quarter of FY17 and the life insurance business also growing in double digits.

The whole general insurance industry has seen a very healthy growth in the last few years, he said in an interview to CNBC-TV18. The Company is most profitable in the general insurance entity in India, he said.

When asked if the house was looking at listing option, he said there were no plans to list either the life or the non-life insurance business. However, there will be quite a few other companies in the general insurance space that may list soon, he said.

11:28 am ICICI Lombard shortlists PE funds for stake sale: Three private equity funds - Warburg Pincus, Carlyle and Temasek - have been shortlisted to acquire a 35 percent stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance, according to a report in The Economic Times.

The three PE funds were selected from four potential investors who had bid for a stake which could be worth close to USD 1 billion. Others who had earlier bid for the stake include Blackstone, KKR, Advent and General Atlantic.

The shortlisted funds will now conduct a round of due diligence before they give their final binding offer before April end.

11:10 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks built on the gains from the morning session, with major stocks on the Nifty being in the green. The broader index touched 9100 during the session.

The 30-share Sensex was up 182.58 points at 29419.73, while the Nifty was up 58.10 points at 9103.30. The market breadth was healthy with 1,506 shares having advanced, against a decline of 765 shares, while 133 shares were unchanged.

Axis Bank, Tata Motors and Tata Motors (D) were among top gainers on both the indices, while ONGC, GAIL and Tech Mahindra were the top losers.

Share price of Aurobindo Pharma rose 2 percent intraday Tuesday on USFDA approval for Meropenem Injection.

The company received final approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture and market Meropenem Injection 500 mg/ vial and 1g/vial.

Dilip Buildcon's shares added 3 percent intraday as investors cheered the company's order win from roads and highways ministry.

The company was declared the lowest bidder for two projects of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in Maharashtra.

10:55 am Buzzing stock: Shares of Intellect Design Arena added more than 3 percent intraday Tuesday on order win from Mongolia's Khan Bank.

Khan Bank, the largest commercial bank in Mongolia, has selected company's debt management platform to centralize operations and digitalize its collections process.

10:48 am Block trade: Delta Corp witnesses a block trade on both the exchanges. 31 lakh shares (1.36 percent of equity) trade In 3 blocks on the NSE and BSE at Rs 177-177.25 per share.

10:44 am Rajiv Bajaj speaks ahead of SC verdict: In the final hearing on the unsold BS-III inventory, the Supreme Court today will decide whether auto manufacturers will be able to register vehicles under BS-III norms beyond April 1.

What will be the impact of the judgement on the auto firms? Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Rajiv Bajaj of Bajaj Auto said that the impact depends on quantum of stocks each company has. For example, Toyota has no such stocks as they changed long time ago and Bajaj will have zero stocks of BS-III vehicles by April 1, he said.

10:30 am KKR on Bharti Infratel stake buy: Speaking on the investment in Bharti Infratel, Sanjay Nayar of KKR told CNBC-TV18 that he liked the team and management of the firm. He expects it to be a good investment.

KKR and Canadian Pension Fund together purchased 10.3 percent stake in the firm from Bharti Airtel at Rs 325 per share.

10:20 am Management Interview: Private life insurance company Birla Sun Life Insurance, which has adopted a cluster approach to distributing products, has seen an improvement in persistency and reduction in complaints.

In an interview with M Saraswathy of Moneycontrol, Pankaj Razdan, MD & CEO of the insurer talks about the new product plans of the company and business growth strategies.

10:10 am Market Check: After opening the session on a strong note, positive momentum continued in the market, driven by a rally in banks and midcaps. The Nifty midcap index clocked a record high figure.

The Sensex was up 144.74 points at 29381.89, while the Nifty was up 50 points at 9095.20. The market breadth indicated firm hand of the bulls as 1,410 shares advanced against a decline of 503 shares, while 83 shares were unchanged.

Axis Bank, Wipro, Idea Cellular and Bharti Infratel were among top gainers on both the indices, while ONGC, Coal India and Tech Mahindra were the top losers.

Shares of Bharti Infratel rose nearly 4 percent intraday on Tuesday as investors cheered the buzz of stake purchase by KKR.

According to reports on CNBC-TV18, KKR has purchased 10 percent stake in the firm from Bharti Airtel at a price of Rs 325 per share.

Clean energy player Greenko announced raising USD 155 million in equity funding from an affiliate of GIC and an entity wholly-owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

GIC is investing USD 123.9 million and the ADIA subsidiary the remaining USD 31.1 million, a company release said here.

Axis Bank today said its board has approved raising USD 10 million by allotting debt securities through MTN programme to be launched from Dubai international centre.

The board of directors of the bank has passed a resolution approving the allotment of 3 year senior floating rate notes aggregating to USD 10 million under the MTN programme, the bank said in a regulatory filing.

9:47 am Bharti Infratel spikes: Shares of Bharti Infratel rose nearly 4 percent intraday on Tuesday as investors cheered the buzz of stake purchase by KKR.

According to reports on CNBC-TV18, KKR has purchased 10 percent stake in the firm from Bharti Airtel at a price of Rs 325 per share.

9:39 am Expert Speak: From the side-lines of 20th Annual Asian Investment Conference, Helman Sitohang, CEO-Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse talks about the geopolitical risks and how the markets are coping with the uncertainty post events like Brexit and Trump's election.

Investors are getting used to the new populist approach in the politics and are adjusting to it. They will start focusing more on the value than the politics, he said.

Speaking about India, he said, "India for us has been an important country, I am a big believer in the country, it is one of the largest and fastest growth globally and definitely in Asia. We have seen it growing faster than China".

9:25 am Buzzing Stock: Shares of Dishman Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals were locked at 20 percent upper circuit on Tuesday on the back of USFDA approval for its cancer drug Zejula Capsules.

At 09:22 hrs, the stock was quoting at Rs 278.20, up Rs 46.35, or 19.99 percent. It touched a 52-week high of Rs 278.20.

After ending Monday on a lower note, the market opened on a positive note, driven by a rally in the banks.

The 30-share Sensex was up 109.42 points at 29346.57, while the Nifty was up 43.15 points at 9088.35. The market breadth was healthy as 746 shares advanced against a decline of 189 shares, while 39 shares were unchanged.

Banking stocks such as Axis Bank, ICICI Bank were among the top gainers on both the indices, while GAIL and ONGC were a drag.

IndusInd Bank, HDFC, DCB Bank and Cimmco touched their 52-week highs. Dishman Pharma surged 20 percent and was locked in upper circuit on the back of a product approval by the US drug regulator.

The currency market was closed on account of Gudi Padwa holiday.

Asian markets gained in early morning trade morning as investors shrugged off the disappointment from the current US administration's ability to push through legislation to repeal and replace the Obama-era health-care law. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.82 percent, recovering most of its losses of 276 points, or 1.44 percent, seen yesterday.