Sensex gains 231 points, Nifty ends above 9350 on ICICI Bank support

3:30 pm Market Closing: Benchmark indices closed higher, with the Nifty and Bank Nifty at record closing high, backed by ICICI Bank that rallied 9 percent post earnings.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 231.41 points at 30,126.21 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 47.95 points at 9,359.90, the highest ever closing level.

The market breadth was balanced as about 1428 shares advanced against 1431 declining shares on the BSE.

3:13 pm Market Outlook: The Nifty has delivered 14 percent returns YTD
CY17, led by positive global cues, the BJP's strong performance in state elections, pragmatic budget, strong macroeconomic backdrop and continued healthy liquidity.

However, this rally has come without concurrent changes in earnings estimates; on the contrary, we had cut Sensex EPS estimates for FY18/19 by 4 percent each in recently released Q4FY17 Preview Strategy report, Motilal Oswal says.

While early Q4FY17 results have shown strong trends, it believes progress
of monsoon, currency movement and smooth GST implementation will be the key catalysts for market.

The research house has turned cautious and increased weights in sectors
that offer relative valuation comfort (healthcare, oil & gas). It believes the market at current valuations lacks margin of safety (especially mid-caps), and thus caution and stock selection become even more important.

3:00 pm Results: Battery manufacturer Exide Industries today reported a 5.95 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 164.78 crore for the fourth quarter ending March 31.

It had posted a net profit of Rs 175.21 crore in the January-March period of 2015-16, Exide Industries said in a BSE filing.

Total income from operations rose 11.36 per cent to Rs 2,225.43 crore during the quarter under review as against Rs 1,998.36 crore in the year-ago period.

For the entire 2016-17 fiscal, the company reported a a net profit of Rs 693.64 crore. It had posted a profit of Rs 624.46 crore in the previous year.

2:45 pm Earnings: Country's largest housing finance company Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) said its standalone profit during January-March quarter fell 21.6 percent to Rs 2,044.20 crore compared with Rs 2,607.05 crore in same quarter last fiscal. The same grew 20.16 percent sequentially.

The profit in Q4FY16 included gain (Rs 1,513.41 crore) on sale of stake by the company in HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company to Standard Life Mauritius Holdings.

Provisions during the quarter increased 26.5 percent sequentially to Rs 148 crore but declined sharply by 72.8 percent compared with Rs 545 crore in corresponding quarter of last fiscal.

2:15 pm Steel Policy: The Cabinet approved the National Steel Policy on Wednesday, under which priority will be given to Indian steelmakers in government tenders for infrastructure projects. The policy aims at increasing supply of domestic coking coal to cut dependence on imports by half and production of 300 million tonnes of the alloy by 2030-31.

TV Narendran, MD, Tata Steel, India & SEA says, "Indian steel industry is poised to grow from the current level of 60 kg per capita to 160 kg per capita consumption by 2030-31, as envisaged by the National Steel Policy 2017, released by Ministry of Steel, Government of India."

He believes that the focus on infrastructure lead growth will not only support the demand growth of steel but will also help us achieve world class cost efficiencies outside our factory gates.

2:06 pm Market Check: Benchmark indices extended their gains in the afternoon session, driven by a further rally among banks.

The Sensex was up 247.22 points at 30142.02, while the Nifty was up 44.90 points at 9356.85. The market breadth was narrow as 1,419 shares advanced against a decline of 1,322 shares, while 150 shares were unchanged.

ICICI Bank, Axis Bank were top gainers on both indices, while Tata Motors, ONGC, HCL Tech and Hindalco lost the most.

1:45 pm Brokerages on ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank share price rallied nearly 9 percent intraday despite continued pressure on asset quality and higher credit cost. The rally was driven by solid growth in fourth quarter core profitability due to better-than-expected NII, further moderation in slippages (excluding one cement account) & lower watchlist and healthy capital adequacy ratio & retail loan growth.

Analysts say they remained bullish on the stock due to attractive valuations and on hope of moderation in slippages in FY18 that will be resulted in lower non-performing assets. However, higher slippages from its corporate book is a key risk going forward because absolute NPA is likely to be elevated, they feel.

After fourth quarter earnings, global brokerage houses (barring JP Morgan) expect the stock to give 17-38 percent returns over 12-month.

1:24 pm BPL moves on: Consumer electronics firm BPL has ended its three-year deal – which was to end in 2018 - with online marketplace Flipkart. BPL has now shifted to Amazon India where it will sell its big electronic products like washing machines and televisions online.

BPL- a popular TV brand from the 1990s – was apparently unhappy with lack of visibility on Flipkart, says a media report. The company also blamed low prominence which resulted in lower-than-expected sales, says a Livemint report.

BPL's Chairman and Managing Director Ajit Nambiar declined to comment on the tiff with Flipkart.

1:00 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks continued to hold morning gains, aided by banking & financials, FMCG and healthcare stocks. However, selling pressure in oil, select technology and auto stocks limited upside.

The 30-share BSE Sensex gained 168.95 points at 30,063.75 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 25.85 points to 9,337.80 while the broader markets underperformed benchmarks, gaining 0.3 percent.

ICICI Bank share price touched 52-week high of Rs 298, up more than 9 percent after fourth quarter earnings and on hopes of entire NPA resolution in FY18 & recovery in FY18.

Entire banking space was also on buyers' radar after the Cabinet approved for amendments to Banking Regulation Act. Axis Bank surged nearly 4 percent and SBI was up over 2 percent while HDFC Bank fell 1 percent.

Tata Motors, Reliance Industries, TCS, ONGC, Infosys and M&M were other losers.

12:50 pm Europe Update: European markets opened higher after being buoyed by a televised political debate which saw centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron maintain his lead on euroskeptic opponent Marine Le Pen ahead of this Sunday's French election.

France's CAC, Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE were trading 0.2-0.5 percent higher.

12:35 pm Stock of the day: ICICI Bank share price rallied nearly 9 percent intraday despite continued pressure on asset quality and higher credit cost. The rally was driven by solid growth in fourth quarter core profitability due to better-than-expected NII, further moderation in slippages (excluding one cement account) & lower watchlist and healthy capital adequacy ratio & retail loan growth.

Analysts say they remained bullish on the stock due to attractive valuations and on hope of moderation in slippages in FY18 that will be resulted in lower non-performing assets. However, higher slippages from its corporate book is a key risk going forward because absolute NPA is likely to be elevated, they feel.

After fourth quarter earnings, global brokerage houses (barring JP Morgan) expect the stock to give 17-38 percent returns over 12-month.

12:20 pm Market Check: Benchmark indices were trading steady in the green zone, driven by a rally in banks. The Bank Nifty was up over 1 percent.

The Sensex was up 138.54 points at 30033.34, while the Nifty was up 21.40 points at 9333.35. The market breadth was narrow as 1,404 shares advanced against a decline of 1,191 shares, while 127 shares were unchanged.

ICICI Bank and Axis Bank were top gainers on both the indices, while Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, Hindalco and HCL Tech lost the most.

11:40 am Buzzing stock: Shares of Amtek Group companies soared between 7 and 9 percent intraday on Thursday as investors bet on buzz of investors seeking stake in the firm.

Amtek Auto rose 7.3 percent, while Castex and Metalyst Forgings rose 7.8 percent and 8.96 percent, respectively.

DA Capital, SSG Capital Management are said to be bidding for promoters' stake in Amtek Group firms, says a report in The Economic Times. The lenders' consortium, which controls the company, sought to sell the stake. The deal, pegged to be Rs 5,000 crore, has the potential to dilute promoters' stake by half and the buyer may also assume major portion of the debt.

11:15 am Market Check: Benchmark indices were trading strong, with the Nifty hovering around 9350-mark.

The Sensex was up 177.52 points at 30072.32, while the Nifty was up 31.40 points at 9343.35. The market breadth was narrow as 1,458 shares advanced against a decline of 961 shares, while 120 shares were unchanged.

ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and Grasim were top gainers on both the indices, while Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, Hindalco and BPCL lost the most.

10:55 am Earnings Estimates: Housing finance company HDFC's fourth quarter profit on standalone basis is likely to fall 23.2 percent to Rs 2,003.2 crore compared with Rs 2,607.1 crore in same quarter last fiscal.

The profit in Q4FY16 was boosted by gain (Rs 1,513.41 crore) on sale of stake in HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company to Standard Life Mauritius Holdings.

Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, may grow 15.3 percent year-on-year to Rs 2,846.4 crore in the quarter ended March 2017, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18.

Key things to watch out for would be net interest margin, asset under management (AUM) growth and asset quality.

10:32 am Services PMI: Indian service sector activity continued to expand during April, supported by ongoing growth of new work, and companies hired additional staff over the month. However, in all three cases, the rates of increase weakened, says Nikkei IHS Markit.

The headline seasonally adjusted Nikkei Services PMI Business Activity Index was down from 51.5 in March to 50.2 in April. Expansion has now been registered for three successive months, but the latest reading was the lowest in this period.

10.16 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks maintained uptrend in morning, with the Sensex trading higher by more than 150 points, backed largely by banking & financials sector on hopes of moderation in slippages in current financial year.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 187.82 points at 30,082.62 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 37.80 points to 9,349.75. The market breadth remained strong as about two shares advanced for every share falling on the BSE.

HDFC Bank was up 0.4 percent ahead of fourth quarter earnings due later today.

9:50 am Earnings Poll: Housing finance company HDFC's fourth quarter profit on standalone basis is likely to fall 23.2 percent to Rs 2,003.2 crore compared with Rs 2,607.1 crore in same quarter last fiscal.

The profit in Q4FY16 was boosted by gain (Rs 1,513.41 crore) on sale of stake in HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company to Standard Life Mauritius Holdings.

Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, may grow 15.3 percent year-on-year to Rs 2,846.4 crore in the quarter ended March 2017, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18.

9:40 am IPO: The initial public offer of IRB InvIT Fund was subscribed 7 percent on the first day of issue on Wednesday.

The offer received bids for 1,72,75,000 shares against the total issue size of 25,09,90,397 shares, data available with the NSE showed.

The institutional investors' category was subscribed 4 percent while that of other investors 10 percent.

The IPO, the first in the InvIT space, will close on May 5. It has a price band of Rs 100-102.

9:30 am FII View: Derek Higa of William O'Neil & Co says Asia-Pacific markets continue to trade positively near 52-week highs and the research house remains bullish on the region.

There is now a 3 percent cushion between the MSCI Asia and the 50-DMA, where the brokerage house views the support to be.

The advance/decline line remains neutral but the research firm anticipates will move upward again as volume picks up to the upside, Derek says.

9:15 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks gained strength in early trade Thursday after seeing consolidation in past four consecutive sessions. Cabinet's approval to National Steel Policy 2017 and amendments to Banking Regulation Act boosted market sentiment.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 148.38 points at 30,043.18 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 35.75 points at 9,347.70. About 738 shares advanced against 247 declining shares on the BSE.

Nifty Bank gained after ICICI Bank's earnings and Cabinet's approval to amendments to Banking Regulation Act. ICICI Bank surged over 5 percent while Bank of Baroda, PNB, Canara Bank and SBI gained 1-2 percent.

The rupee opened 5 paise lower against the dollar at 64.20, primarily due to some strength in the greenback after the onclusion of the 2-day meet of the US Federal Reserve.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank says US FoMC considered weak Q1 data as transitory, indicating a June hike in Fed rates is on track. As a result, the dollar has posted marginal gains against the yen in particular.

The rupee is consolidating after sharp gains in March and April. He expects the USD-INR pair to trade in a range of 64.10-64.40/dollar for the day.

Asian markets were mixed after the US Federal Reserve 'stuck to a hawkish bent overnight and as metals prices tumbled. Australia's ASX 200 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.5 percent each while Japan's Nikkei gained 0.7 percent.