Sensex ends flat but Midcap outperforms; Indiabulls Housing up 4%

3:30 pm Market Closing: Equity benchmarks closed flat after consolidation as investors looked fresh triggers.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 0.77 points at 31,662.74 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 13.70 points at 9,929.90.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.5-0.8 percent. About 1,396 shares advanced against 1,175 declining shares on the BSE.

3:28 pm Buzzing: ITC shares declined for 4th consecutive session today, down more than 4 percent in four sessions.

3:20 pm Management interview: The subscriber additions for the company in the first quarter were lower than estimates but average revenue per user (ARPUs) were encouraging with a growth of 10-11 percent quarter on quarter, Jawahar Goel, CMD, Dish TV India said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

He said the lower subscriber numbers was mainly due to suspension of subscribers. He said there are fears that the ARPUs could also reduce in this disruption.

The disruption will also have an impact on the EBITDA but introduction of GST will bring in some relief from entertainment tax. Expect normalization in business in the next two months, he said.

3:10 pm Inflows from domestic equity MFs: Domestic equity mutual funds received inflows of USD 3.9 billion in August, the highest ever in any month. Including ETFs, inflows stood at USD 4.1 billion, Morgan Stanley said in its report.

In the month of August, equity flows were positive for the 17th straight month.

"Year-to-date, domestic mutual funds have received equity inflows of USD 18.6 billion (tracking at USD 2.3 billion per month). By the end of the month, equity mutual fund AUM stood at USD 111 billion, and as a percentage of market cap rose to 5.3 percent, its highest level since July 2000," the research house said.

Similarly, equity ETF assets rose to new highs of USD 8.4 billion. Year-to-date, ETF inflows stood at USD 2.6 billion (Rs 16,900 crore), it added.

3:00 pm Buzzing: Punj Lloyd shares surged nearly 19 percent intraday after its joint venture bagged a Rs 1,177-crore project from the National Highways Authority of India in Myanmar.

"A joint venture between Punj Llyod and Varaha Infrastructure has won the bid to construct the Yagyi-Kalewa road section in Myanmar at a cost of Rs 1,177 crore," the PTI said quoting senior NHAI official.

The NHAI has awarded its first international project in Myanmar.

"Joint venture has been declared by NHAI as the provisional lowest bidder in the tender for upgradation of Yagyi-Kalewa section in Myanmar to two lane with earthen shoulder on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode," the company said in its clarification note.

The project has been awarded by the NHAI at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a 3-day visit to Myanmar to help strengthen bilateral ties.

2:50 pm Sugar production: India's sugar production is estimated to rise 24 percent to 25.1 million tonnes in the next marketing year starting October on higher sugarcane area, according to industry body ISMA.

Sugar production of India, the world's second largest producer after Brazil, is estimated at 20.2 million tonnes in the ongoing 2016-17 marketing year (October-September).

The production is expected to rise in 2017-18 on the back of higher cane area because of good monsoon. Sugar production is estimated at 25.1 million tonnes in 2017-18 as against 20.2 million tonnes in the current year, an ISMA spokesperson said.

The government had allowed duty free import of 5 lakh tonnes of sugar in April-May this year to boost domestic supply. It is planning to allow more imports to check prices during upcoming festive season. India's sugar demand is 24-25 million tonnes annually.

2:41 pm Forex reserves: The Reserve Bank is expected to buy forex reserves at every opportunity to combat global contagion, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report said.

The report said the rupee is expected to reach Rs 66.75/USD level by December. According to BofAML, the RBI has bought about USD 16 billion in the spot market since April.

"We continue to expect the RBI to recoup forex reserves to combat global contagion. The import cover looks comfortable at about 11 months on 1-year forward basis, well above the 8 months we deem required for INR stability," Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) said in a research note.

One of the key factors that require the RBI to recoup forex include moderation in capital flows on account of rich equity valuations. Moreover, FPI G-sec limits are almost exhausted.

2:35 pm Buzzing: Shares of Music Broadcast gained 4.3 percent intraday as it has entered into collaboration with Apple Music.

Radio City, a part of Music Broadcast, has entered in to exclusive collaboration with Apple Music to offer curated playlists to Apple Music users.

"The exclusive tie-up will allow music lovers across the country to enjoy a world-class music experience through dynamic playlists curated by the FM authority in India," as per company release.

"Radio City will curate playlists that reflect six distinct themes, giving music fans an opportunity to enjoy music that resonates with their personal tastes," it added.

2:33 pm SEBI nod to SBI Life Insurance: SBI Life Insurance has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India for an IPO of up to Rs 8,400 crore ($1.3 billion), with launch targeted for the September 20-22 period.

The launch period is subject to approval from the Registrar of Companies, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The IPO will involve 120 million secondary shares, or 12 per cent of the insurer's equity capital. State Bank of India, which currently owns 70.1 per cent of the insurer, will sell 80 million shares and BNP Paribas Cardif, holder of a 26 per cent stake, will sell 40 million.

2:20 pm Market Check: Frontline indices continued to be rangebound, with the Nifty eyeing 9950.

The Sensex was up 14.90 points at 31676.87, while the Nifty was up 19.35 points at 9935.55. The market breadth was narrow as 1406 shares advanced against a decline of 1024 shares, while 133 shares were unchanged.

M&M, Dr Reddy's Labs, Indiabulls Housing, Eicher Motors were the top gainers, while Tata Motors, Tata Motors DVR and BPCL lost the most.

1:58 pm Govt seeks to raise no of pvt businesses in GST: The government has tasked taxmen with bringing half the 6 crore private businesses in India in the GST net, up from less than a crore at present, and also make the IT system glitch free, an official source has said.

The target was set at the recent second edition of the two-day annual meet of tax officers, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.

A key to achieving the target is putting in place a permanent mechanism of almost real-time data exchange between the departments that handle direct tax - income and corporate - and the one which handles indirect levies like customs and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

1:35 pm Market Check: Flattish movement on the market continued, with the Nifty trading above 9900-mark.

The Sensex was down 9.47 points at 31652.50, while the Nifty was up 5.95 points at 9922.15. The market breadth was narrow as 1345 shares advanced against a decline of 1038 shares while 125 shares were unchanged.

Midcaps outperformed benchmark indices. M&M, Sun Pharma, Indiabulls Housing and Eicher Motors were the top gainers on both indices, while Tata Motors, NTPC, Tata Motors DVR and BPCL were the top losers.

1:30 pm Buzzing Stock: Shares of Indiabulls Housing gained over 4 percent intraday on Thursday as investors cheered a target upgrade for the stock.

Global research firm CLSA, in its report, upgraded the stock's target price to Rs 1,500, implying an upside of 19 percent.

The global brokerage house added that housing loan scale-up may help drive growth.

Further, it sees AUM/earnings growth at 30/25 percent CAGR over FY17-20.

1:15 pm USFDA inspection: Cadila Healthcare shares rallied nearly 5 percent intraday after getting zero observations from the US health regulator for Moraiya plant.

Sources told CNBC-TV18 that the US Food and Drug Administration has issued zero observations for Moraiya unit (Gujarat) after its re-inspection.

The USFDA had re-inspected this facility in 2017.

1:04 pm Trending news in September: Edelweiss said in 2017, Indian equities have rallied 20 percent, same as MSCI EM.

However, only 2 percent of India's returns are due to earnings growth versus 12 percent of MSCI EM. In fact amongst EM countries, India has witnessed maximum re-rating with lowest earnings growth.

It feels higher commodity prices could weigh on margins. During FY14-17, Indian manufacturing companies witnessed high gross margin expansion. However, some of it could reverse given the rise in commodity prices. Auto sector seems to be most vulnerable in this regard although agro chemicals and cement may also see some pressure on margins.

12:56 pm Future Group stocks gain: Future Consumer, Future Enterprises, Future Lifestyle and Future Market Networks shares rallied 5-14 percent.

12:55 pm Buzzing: Bharat Forge shares surged more than 4 percent intraday after the sharp increase in class 8 truck orders in North America.

Preliminary Class 8 truck orders for August increased sharply by 50 percent (up 14 percent over July) to 20,700 units compared to same month last year.

"Class 8 orders again met expectations as market momentum continues to build ahead of 2018. August orders should help fill up remaining 2017 build slots," FTR Transportation Intelligence said in its release.

This is the best August order performance since 2014.

12:43 pm Market Check: Equity benchmarks turned flat in afternoon due to further selling in Reliance Industries, HDFC, ICICI Bank and ITC.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 0.40 points at 31,662.37 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 7.30 points at 9,923.50.

But the broader markets continued to trade strong as the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.6 percent each. About 1,357 shares advanced against 975 declining shares on the BSE.

12:35 pm Europe trade: European markets opened slightly higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street after congressional leaders unexpectedly agreed to extend the federal government's borrowing limit until December.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged up by around 0.2 percent shortly after the opening bell, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump backed a surprise deal with congressional Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a three-month extension of both government funding and the debt limit. US stocks rose on the news as the deal appeared to eliminate fears of a near-term government shutdown.

Meantime, the euro continued to eke out gains ahead of the European Central Bank's (ECB) policy decision later on Thursday.

12:20 pm ECB's stimulus: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is set to start laying the groundwork for stimulus reduction when policymakers meet later today, giving investors some hints but probably holding off on any major commitment.

Concerned that strong signals could trigger market volatility and undo its plans, ECB policymakers are seen shifting their message only incrementally, setting up for a bigger move in October or December, before the bank's 2.3 trillion euro (USD 2.74 trillion) bond purchase scheme expires at the end of the year.

In the ultimate decision over extending or winding down the purchases, Draghi will have to resolve a dilemma: euro zone economic growth is on its best run in a decade, yet inflation is weak and will miss the ECB's target for years to come.

Indeed, a central bank source told Reuters the ECB is likely to trim its inflation forecasts on Thursday while modestly upgrading growth projections.

12:05 pm JLR's car in electric version: All new Jaguar Land Rover cars will be available in an electric or hybrid version from 2020, Britain's biggest carmaker said, as it speeds up plans to electrify its model range.

Last year, the company, owned by India's Tata Motors, said it would offer greener versions of half of its new line-up by 2020, but it has now ramped up its plans.

Demand for electric models continues to rise sharply and in July Britain said it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to cut pollution, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

Carmakers are racing to tap into growing demand for low-emissions models with Nissan launching a revamped version of its Leaf electric vehicle on Wednesday in a bid to better take on Tesla's Model 3.

11:59 am IPO: The public issue of Dixon Technologies has fully subscribed on the second day.

The Rs 600-crore IPO has oversubscribed 1.18 times, as per data available on the National Stock Exchange.

The issue received bids for 28.11 lakh equity shares against issue size of 23.76 lakh shares (excluding anchor investors' portion that already received good response).

On day one yesterday, the issue was subscribed 0.78 times as the reserved portion of qualified institutional investors saw subscription of 1.34 times and retail 0.78 times.

11:53 am Housing sector disruption: Shrugging off any slowdown in housing credit, the chief of the country's largest mortgage lender, Keki Mistry, VC & CEO of Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) says demand for housing credit remains strong.

Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and goods and services tax (GST) has got nothing to do with the slowdown at least till June because RERA and GST were introduced after July 1. There is plenty of demand from individuals who are looking to buy a house, he said.

Average loan size is about Rs 26 lakh, similar to last year level and the growth is coming from PAN India. Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, many other cities are doing very well, he added.

According to him, new project launches slowed down in July, August due to RERA. There are several projects which may be ready, but can't be disbursed as not registered under RERA.

RERA creates so much confidence for home buyers so disruptions in housing market right now will be very short-lived said Mistry.

11:43 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks were mildly higher in late morning trade. The selling in HDFC, Tata Motors, ITC and ICICI Bank capped market's gains.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 29.13 points at 31,691.10 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 15.40 points to 9,931.60 but the broader markets continued to gain 0.7 percent.

BPCL, Tata Motors and NTPC were down 1-2 percent while Bank of Baroda, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hindalco Industries, Sun Pharma, Hero Motocorp, Axis Bank, Eicher Motors and Indiabulls Housing gained 1-3.5 percent.

11:30 am Management interview: "2016 was a low period for the North American truck market but truck demand expected to improve from 2017 onwards," Baba Kalyani, CMD of Bharat Forge said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

He further said the company is running plants at full capacity.

"Q1FY18 performance was subdued but we have seen a jump in commercial vehicle sales in Q2 and expect sales to rise," he said.

He feels GST issues are behind the company. "We are seeing strong upward move in all verticals," he said.

He thinks India will emerge as a major defence manufacturer in the future. "We are looking at all opportunities including BEML and will be interested in buying stake in BEML," Kalyani said.

11:15 am Stake sale: IDBI Bank has invited fresh bids for sale of its 13.71 percent stake in SIDBI, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting Cogencis.

11:05 am Trending news in September: Edelweiss said off late India's exports have slowed down sharply, while that of EMs are holding up. Specifically, agri-sector is taking a significant brunt amid strong rupee. There is jump in import volumes across products (pulses, wheat, sugar) despite bumper output.

Impact of GST destocking in Q1FY18 is muted as slower manufacturing growth has been offset by higher trade services growth; and with WPI now out of deflation, distortions in real GVA are largely behind.

10:59 am Buzzing: Shares of NBCC gained nearly 3 percent intraday on order win worth Rs 464 crore.

The company has signed an agreement with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India for planning, designing & construction of expansion of Sports Injury Centre, New Delhi amounting Rs 464 crore.

10:50 am Maruti market share: It could have been Renault and not Suzuki to own half of the Indian car market had the French car maker put in some serious thoughts about the invitation from the government of India to form a joint venture in early 80s.

By end of July Maruti Suzuki's (MSIL) domestic market share stood at an enviable 51 percent, the best from the time Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) became a majority shareholder in the joint venture. Its best-ever market share came in 1997-98 when Maruti Udyog (as it was known then) clocked 83 percent share.

Maruti's closest competitor Hyundai, which entered India in 1998, has only 16 percent share, as of today. Renault, which ultimately entered India in 2005 through joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) to make the Logan, has not covered much distance either. By end of July the French company had a share of just 3 percent while the JV with M&M was dissolved in 2010 itself.

10:41 am IPO: ICICI Bank shares gained more than 1 percent intraday after CNBC-TV18 report said the IPO of its general insurance company will open for subscription in the coming week.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company will launch its initial public offer of up to 8,62,47,187 equity shares on September 15.

The issue consists of offer for sale of up to 3,17,61,478 equity shares by promoter ICICI Bank, up to 5,44,85,709 shares by investor Fal Corporation. The issue also include a reservation of up to 43,12,359 equity shares for purchase by ICICI Bank shareholders.

The issue will close on September 19.

ICICI Lombard is the largest private-sector non-life insurer in India based on gross direct premium income in fiscal 2017.

DSP Merrill Lynch Limited, ICICI Securities and IIFL Holdings are global co-ordinators and book running lead managers to the issue.

CLSA India Private Limited, Edelweiss Financial Services and JM Financial Institutional Securities are book running lead managers to the issue.

10:35 am Stocks in news: Stocks that are buzzing at this hour are Eicher Motors, NBCC, Sicagen India, Wipro.

10:25 am Trending news in September: Edelweiss said the Fed rate hike expectations have been pushed out amidst persistent weakness in US core inflation. This is resulting in weaker Dollar and lending fillip to risk assets – EM bonds, EM FX, EM equities and commodities.

Recently, international food prices have seen a sharp correction. This augurs well for domestic food inflation (strong correlation historically). However, the flip side could be further weakness in nominal agri GDP – which is already at decadal lows. Weak nominal incomes could weigh on debt servicing ability of farmers, it added.

10:15 am Buzzing: Shares of Sicagen India rose 4.4 percent intraday on board approval to buy remaining stake in Danish Steel Cluster.

The company's board at its meeting held on September 6 has approved the proposed transaction to acquire remaining 40 percent stake in Danish Steel Cluster.

10:06 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks traded off opening highs in morning due to selling pressure in HDFC and Tata Motors. Even index heavyweight Reliance Industries lost some opening gains due to profit booking as the stock rallied more than 7 percent in previous six consecutive sessions.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 75.94 points at 31,737.91 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 25.55 points at 9,941.75 amid consolidation.

The broader markets continued to outperform benchmarks as the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.7 percent each. About three shares advanced for every share falling on the BSE.

Indian equities continued to get support from positive global cues, especially after political developments out of Washington. President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke with his party to support a package that included a short-term debt ceiling extension. If Congress passes the package, which also includes relief funding for Hurricane Harvey, it would prevent a default on the federal debt.

9:55 am Acquisition: Reliance Industries forayed into new materials business by acquiring assets of Kemrock Industries.

"Reliance participated in an on-line e-bidding process held recently by Allahabad Bank being leader of the consortium of 11 banks to sell / dispose off assets of 'Kemrock Industries & Exports Limited' of Vadodara (Gujarat) and has been declared as the winner in the said bid," it said in its filing.

This participation is a part of Reliance's efforts to enter the Composites business and establish a leadership position in this large and growing market in India.

Composites are used in a variety of applications and industries such as renewable energy, mass transportation, infrastructure and a host of other industrial products.

The assets will pave the way for Reliance to foray into new materials (Composites and Carbon Fibre) and further strengthen its petrochemicals business portfolio, the company said.

9:45 am Rupee gains: The Indian rupee traded higher by 6 paise at 64.04 per dollar versus previous close of 64.10.

Mohan Shenoi of Kotak Mahindra Bank said the rupee has been trading in a very tight range for the past few weeks which is likely to continue.

USD-INR trading range for the day is 63.90-64.20, according to him.

The dollar lost some ground after edging up against the Japanese yen after getting a boost from trump's surprise deal with the democrats on extending the debt limit.

9:42 am New LNG import terminal: Petronet LNG will build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Sri Lanka in collaboration with Japanese and Lankan companies.

The Sri Lankan government issued a letter of intent to the Indian government in this regard on September 1.

9:33 am Partnership: HCL Technologies has announced a partnership that includes purchase of select assets with Alpha Insight, a products and solutions company headquartered in London, with expertise in business flow monitoring and operational intelligence.

The IT firm said that the proposed asset purchase consideration shall be up to EUR 3.25 million, including payments subject to certain financial milestones.

9:25 am Buzzing: Shares of Wipro added 1 percent in the early trade as it has bagged a 5-year IT applications management contract.

The company has won a 5-year IT applications management contract from Outokumpu, which is global leader in stainless steel, headquartered in Finland.

The company will provide applications management services for Outokumpu's SAP landscape along with legacy applications support to cover Outokumpu locations, globally.

9:15 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks rebounded in opening trade Thursday after sell-off in previous session, tracking positive global cues.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 110.97 points at 31,772.94 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 37.90 points to 9,954.10.

The broader markets outperformed benchmarks as the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices gained 0.8 percent each. About five shares advanced for every share falling on the BSE.

Reliance Industries gained nearly 1 percent to hit 52-week high of Rs 832.70 after the stock adjusted for bonus issue in the proportion of one bonus share for every one share held.

Indiabulls Housing Finance surged 2.5 percent again as CLSA raised target price

Eicher Motors, Aurobindo Pharma, Asian Paints, Adani Ports and Dr Reddy's Labs gained 1 percent each.

Bharat Forge gained 3.4 percent as total class 8 truck orders in the North America rose 50 percent YoY.

Fortis Healthcare, Motherson Sumi, Shriram Transport, NBCC, Muthoot Finance, India Cements, GMR Infrastructure, CESC, HPCL, IOC and Petronet LNG gained up to 5 percent.

Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.