Profit booking drags Sensex, Nifty on expiry day, pharma stocks, ITC fall

3:30 pm Market at Close: After witnessing a stellar rally through the week, the market took a breather and ended the April series on a negative note, with the Nifty snapping 9350-mark. Likely profit booking due to the rally could have dragged the indices.

The 30-share Sensex was down was down 103.61 points at 30029.74, while the Nifty was down 9.70 points at 9342.15. The market breadth was negative as 1,308 shares advanced against a decline of 1,564 shares, while 168 shares were unchanged.

Lupin, Aurobindo Pharma and ITC were the top losers, while Tata Motors, Infosys, Yes Bank and ACC gained the most.

Shares of Maruti Suzuki closed around a percent lower after the company reported stable numbers, in line with analysts' expectations, while Kotak Mahindra Bank ended a percent higher after its net profit and net interest income beat expectations.

3:24 pm Morgan Stanley on Apollo Hospitals: Apollo Hospitals Enterprises share price gained more than 4 percent intraday after Morgan Stanley has initiated coverage on the stock with an overweight rating and target price of Rs 1,537.

It is the top Asia hospitals pick, says the brokerage house.

It appears to be well positioned to benefit from low penetration, rising affordability and increasingly challenging disease mix, it believes.

Morgan Stanley likes Apollo's full spectrum of healthcare services and sees visible strong EBITDA growth potential.

3:05 pm Buzzing: Lupin share price hit fresh 52-week low of Rs 1,335.30, down 2.6 percent intraday after the US health regulator issued Form 483 with three observations to its Goa plant.

The US Food and Drug Administration inspected this plant between March 27 and April 7, 2017.

The observations as per news reports are 1) failure to review any unexplained discrepancy; 2) no written procedures for production and process controls; and 3) control procedures that monitor output of manufacturing processes not established.

Prima facie, these observations seem procedural and are related to standard operating procedure (SOP), Antique said quoting the company.

The brokerage house further said it is surprised by these kinds of observations given that this is the third inspection in less than two years and the FDA had pointed out SOP-related issues in the previous inspections.

Antique feels at this stage the chances of an escalation seem to be unlikely as the company had recently received final approval from USFDA for anti-depressive Wellbutrin XL (that was filed from Goa plant) on April 8, just after the inspection was completed.

2:42 pm Visa abuse in US: Investigations led by US government on alleged visa abuse will not be limited to Indian IT companies but will also include global firms, tell sources to CNBC-TV18.

According to Indian officials, the probe is largely widespread across the board including top IT companies.

The tech companies have to submit five-year records of H1-B, B1 and L1-B visas and this too will come under the scanner of the US government.

2:15 pm Market Check: Benchmark indices were trading almost flat, but in the green zone, ahead of the crucial expiry in April series of derivative contracts.

The 30-share Sensex was up 8.62 points at 30141.97, while the Nifty was up 9.35 points at 9361.20. The market breadth was negative as 1,317 shares advanced against a decline of 1,429 shares, while 153 shares were unchanged.

Tata Motors, HDFC Bank and Yes Bank were among top gainers on both the indices, while Axis Bank, Tata Steel and Aurobindo Pharma lost the most.

Shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank rose nearly 2 percent intraday after the bank reported better-than-expected rise in net profit and net interest income.

1:35 pm Earnings: Country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki said profit during January-March quarter grew by 15.8 percent to Rs 1,709 crore compared with Rs 1,476.2 crore in same quarter last fiscal.

Net sales during the quarter increased 20.3 percent to Rs 18,005.2 crore, driven by healthy volume growth.

Maruti sold 4.14 lakh units during the quarter, a growth of 15 percent over 3.6 lakh units sold in same quarter last fiscal. Export increased 17.6 percent and domestic volumes grew by 15 percent year-on-year.

1:15 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks remained sluggish after a record session of trade on Wednesday, with the Sensex in the red ahead of F&O expiry.

The Sensex was down 51.62 points at 30081.73, while the Nifty was down 7.60 points at 9344.25. The market breadth was negative as 1,236 shares advanced against a decline of 1,436 shares, while 144 shares remained unchanged.

Yes Bank, along with auto stocks such as Tata Motors and Hero MotoCorp were among top gainers, while Axis Bank, Lupin and Grasim were among top losers.

1:00 pm Market Outlook: ICICI Direct believes the Indian economy is on a strong footing with relatively strong macroeconomic fundamentals, lower inflation/interest rate regime, possibility of a major reform such as GST and a favourable demography supporting sustainable growth.

"While the current index levels of around 30000 of Sensex looks optically high given corporate flat earnings trajectory over last 3-4 years (FY14-17) amid delay in revival of private capex cycle, we must make a note that markets discount future earnings and growth potential," Pankaj Pandey, Head-Research, ICICI Direct said.

He feels earning growth would be the key factor driving the markets from hereon.

Furthermore, he believes that factors such as structural shift towards digitisation of the economy coupled with increased focus on channelisation of financial savings, given the relative attractiveness of equity vs. other asset classes, would keep the Indian financial market buoyant for the next 3-5 years.

12:50 pm IPO subscription: Text book publisher S Chand and Company's Rs 728.5-crore public issue has been fully subscribed on the second day of subscription Thursday.

The issue received bids for 1.06 crore equity shares against the total issue size of 76.85 lakh shares (excluding anchor investors' reserved portion), as per NSE data.

The reserve portion of qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) subscribed 2.68 times and retail investors 1.14 times while the non-institutional investors' reserved category has received only 24 percent subscription.

12:40 pm Europe opening: Markets in Europe opened lower as investors waited to hear from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and digested fresh corporate earnings.

Draghi is expected to announce the ECB's latest monetary policy decision at lunchtime. Analysts do not foresee any change in policy but say there could be a change in tone. Meanwhile in Japan, the central bank has raised its economic forecasts but kept its policy unchanged.

12:33 pm Earnings estimates: Two-wheeler maker TVS Motor Company's fourth quarter profit is seen falling 12 percent year-on-year to Rs 103 crore while revenue may grow only 0.5 percent to Rs 2,827 crore due to slow volume growth.

Overall analysts expect a lacklustre quarter as volume growth continued to be in low single digit, slowing down growth to 2.3 percent in Q3 due to demonetisation.

Demonetisation continued to impact volumes in Q4 as well. Total sales volumes in Q4 increased 2.1 percent YoY (down 6 percent QoQ) to 6.75 lakh units.

Analysts say unfavorable product mix, higher discounting of BS-III vehicles may impact margin during the quarter. Higher raw material cost pressure may also impact margin.

12:12 pm Market Check: The NSE Nifty continued to be rangebound ahead of expiry of April futures & options contracts.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 51.66 points at 30,081.69 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 7.90 points to 9,343.95. About 1361 shares declined against 1186 advancing shares on the BSE.

Yes Bank, Tata Motors, Power Grid, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Hero Motocorp were top gainers among largecaps while Axis Bank, ITC, Tata Steel, Lupin, Reliance Industries and Grasim were under pressure.

11:55 am Interview: Kapil Agarwal, Joint MD, UFO Moviez is very excited about the coming 2-3 weeks and also for FY18 as a whole. Tomorrow the movie Baahubali 2 will release, which is expected to be a blockbuster movie despite being a regional movie, said Agarwal.

It is already matching the inventory sales of movies like Sultan, Dangal and the likes, said Agarwal.

According to him, it will be a blockbuster week for advertiser too. The movie has attracted more interest from advertisers already. Normally, for such blockbuster movies in two-three weeks booking of over Rs 6-10 crore in terms of advertising.

Overall for FY18, the ad revenue growth will be around 30 percent, said Agarwal backed by good range of movie releases in the year, about 2-3 movies each quarter.

11:40 am Earnings estimates: Country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki is expected to report a healthy 53 percent growth year-on-year in profit at Rs 1,739 crore for January-March quarter despite contraction in margin. Steep increase in other income post Ind-AS may boost bottomline.

According to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18, revenue is seen rising 21 percent to Rs 18,621 crore compared with year-ago quarter, driven by strong volume growth.

Maruti sold 4.14 lakh units during the quarter, a growth of 15 percent over 3.6 lakh units sold in same quarter last fiscal. Export increased 17.6 percent and domestic volumes grew by 15 percent year-on-year.

Analysts expect 6 percent increase in realisations due to better product mix and lower discounting QoQ.

11.20 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks continued to consolidate after rallying for previous three consecutive sessions with record closing high. Investors digested global optimism and further earnings recovery.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 34.44 points at 30,098.91 while the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 0.40 points to 9,351.45 ahead of expiry of April derivative contracts later today.

The broader markets outperformed benchmarks but the market breadth remained negative. The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.2 percent each. About 1266 shares declined against 1185 advancing shares on the exchange.

11:00 am HUDCO IPO: State-run Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has decided to launch its initial public offering on May 8 and set a price band at Rs 56-60 per share.

The IPO comprised sale of 20 crore equity shares (10 percent paid-up capital) by the central government through an offer for sale (OFS).

The issue will close on May 11 and anchor investors' portion will open for subscription on May 5.

The company aims to raise Rs 1,121 crore at lower end of price band and Rs 1,201.1 crore at higher end of price band.

The object of the offer is to carry out the disinvestment of 2 crore equity shares by the central government. Hence, the company will not receive any proceeds from the offer.

10:43 am SEBI on commodity trading: SEBI permitted options trading in commodity derivatives to enhance liquidity even as the regulator indicated that it might take longer before deciding on allowing institutional investors into commodities segment.

Describing the decision on options trading as a "very big step towards further deepening the commodities derivatives market", Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi said it would be implemented quickly.

These decisions were taken at the Sebi's board meeting, first one to be chaired by Tyagi, here.

10:25 am Aadhaar-PAN update: The government on Wednesday clarified to the Supreme Court that the permanent account number (PAN) will not be invalidated retrospectively if it isn't linked with the Aadhaar.

PAN will be invalidated from July 1, 2017 and not from when one had applied for it, Mukul Rohatgi, government's top law officer attorney said, according to a report in the Livemint.

Earlier this month, the government had made Aadhaar number compulsory for filing income tax returns and also to apply for a new PAN.

According to the new Finance Act, 2017, the PAN number can be considered void if it is not linked with the Aadhaar.

10:10 am Market Check: Benchmark indices slipped in the red, as a result of implied volatility due to F&O expiry of March derivative contracts.

The Sensex was down 49.23 points at 30084.12, while the Nifty was down 11.95 points at 9339.90. The market breadth was negative as 1,010 shares advanced against a decline of 1,030 shares, while 98 shares were unchanged.

Auto stocks Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, and Tata Motors DVR were among the top gainers, while Lupin, Axis Bank and Hindalco lost the most.

Shares of Adani Enterprises witnessed 13 percent surge after it was out of the F&O ban.

9:45 am IPO: The initial public offer of text book publisher S Chand and Company was subscribed 52 percent on the first day of bidding Wednesday.

The IPO received bids for 39,80,174 shares against the total issue size of 76,85,284 shares, as per NSE data.

The portion set aside for qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) was subscribed 60 percent and non institutional investors, 23 percent. The retail investor category was also subscribed 60 percent.

S Chand had raised nearly Rs 219 crore from anchor investors on Tuesday. The price band for the offer is Rs 660-670 a share.

9:30 am FII View: Laurence Balanco of CLSA says the Nifty continued to work its way higher following the breakout to new all-time highs with the move above 8,989-9,191 resistance.

"On the upside, we are focused on the following targets - 10,350 and 11,547 and finally 12,000 which is a measured move target after breakout from the March 2015 to-date consolidation," he says.

There are similarities between March 2015-to-current consolidation pattern and the one between November 2010 & November 2013 before the prior breakout to new all-time high, he feels.

9:15 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks opened Thursday's trade on a flat note after yesterday's record closing high and ahead of expiry of April futures & options contracts.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 42.84 points at 30,176.19 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 7.60 points at 9,359.45.

Lupin fell nearly 2 percent in opening on USFDA observations for Goa plnat but recovered immediately.

Adani Ports rebounded 1.5 percent after losing 2 percent in previous session. Tata Motors gained momentum further, up over a percent ahead of April sales data due next week.

Kotak Mahindra Bank gained over a percent ahead of earnings later today. HUL, M&M, Hero Motocorp and GAIL were other gainers while Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, BPCL, Hindalco and Bharti Infratel fell on profit booking.

The Indian rupee extended gains further as it has opened at 64.05 per dollar today, higher by 7 paise over 64.12 a dollar in previous session.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said global equity markets were continuing to rally reflecting risk-on sentiment and Asian currencies were also rallying on the back of the equity market rally.

The rupee is gaining with strong custodial flows. So he expects the USD-INR pair to trade in a range of 63.90-64.20/dollar for the day.

Markets in Asia were mostly lower following the lower close on Wall Street as investors parsed details on US President Donald Trump's highly-anticipated tax reform plans.