Sensex, Nifty close flat amid volatility; Wockhardt most active

3:30 pm Market Closing: Equity benchmarks ended flat amid volatility on Thursday, but the midcap run continued for sixth consecutive session today.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 21.10 points at 33,756.28 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 3.90 points to 10,440.30.

About 1,687 shares advanced against 1,015 declining shares on the BSE.

3:16 pm Buzzing: Steel Strips Wheels shares gained 2.5 percent as it has bagged a new exports order from Egypt for its truck wheels plant in Chennai.

Total order size is 32,000 wheels to be dispatched from its new truck wheels plant in Chennai from January 2018 onwards.

Order value of this export order is USD 2.15 million.

3:12 pm NHPC in focus: NHPC informed exchanges that board of directors today has directed to alter Memorandum of Association of the company to enable it to apply CERC for trading license.

The amendment to Memorandum of Association will be subject to the approval of the shareholders of the company by way of a special resolution and other statutory or administrative approvals, if any required, the company said.

3:10 pm Order Win: Indian Hume Pipe company has secured 3 work orders aggregating to Rs 257.26 crore from Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Tranformation (AMRUT). The stock was up 3.5 percent.

2:59 pm Expansion: Consumer electrical goods maker Havells today announced its foray into the water purifier segment with the launch of six products priced between Rs 10,499-23,999.

The company has set up a plant to roll out water purifiers at its Haridwar-based unit, which is a part of Rs 100 crore capex, said a top company official.

"We will start shipping to our 50 distributors from tomorrow," said Havells India Executive VP Narendra Choudhary adding that few more models are in the pipeline, which would be launched in the coming months.

2:52 pm Stake Sale deal: Reliance Infrastructure today announced signing of definitive binding agreement with Adani Transmission Limited (ATL) for 100% stake sale of its Mumbai Power Business which includes integrated business of generation, transmission and distribution of power for Mumbai.

Total deal value is at Rs 13,251 crore. This comprises of business valued at Rs 12,101 crore and regulatory assets approved so far of Rs 1,150 crore.

In addition, regulatory assets under approval estimated at Rs 5,000 crore and net working capital on closing estimated at Rs 550 crore will flow directly to Reliance Infra. Total consideration value is estimated at Rs. 18,800 crore.

2:48 pm Projects Development: The government has given "in-principle" approval for 19 greenfield airports, of which some would be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the country's civil aviation sector was growing leaps and bounds but the safety of air passengers will never be compromised.

Emphasising that air travel is growing leaps and bounds, Raju said during Question Hour that the number of aircraft in the country was around 548 compared to about 395 in 2014.

2:35 pm Europe Trade: European markets were mixed after the US Congress approved an overhaul of the US tax code that will cut corporate tax rates.

The sweeping changes to the tax code will see the corporate tax rate drop from 35 percent to 21 percent but the bill's critics say it favors the wealthy and analysis shows it will add nearly USD 1.5 trillion to the US deficit.

2:26 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks continued to trade around flatline in afternoon due to lack of domestic and global cues, but the broader markets continued their outperformance.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 4.89 points at 33,772.49 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 3.50 points at 10,447.70 while the Nifty Midcap extended gains to 0.9 percent.

About two shares advanced for every share falling on the BSE.

2:20 pm Bond Yields: Indian bond prices fell to their lowest in nearly 1-1/2 years after minutes from the last Reserve Bank of India meeting showed some members issuing sharp warnings on inflation, though shares were largely flat after setting records in the previous session.

The yield for the benchmark 10-year bond rose 6 basis points to 7.28 percent.

Minutes from the RBI's December 6 meeting showed two members, both central bank officials, specifically warning that India could no longer afford to being accommodative on inflation, which analysts saw as raising the prospect of rate hikes.

2:10 pm Buzzing: Global brokerage house CLSA has initiated coverage with buy rating on Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management and set a target price at Rs 325 per share as mutual funds are in a sweet spot with rising penetration.

The stock price rallied 5.4 percent intraday to hit a fresh 52-week high of Rs 287.95.

Robust earnings growth and high dividend payouts will aid investor returns, the investment bank feels.

CLSA expects company's AUM/revenue/net profit to grow at a CAGR of 23/28/26 percent over FY17-20 and dividend yield to rise to 3.1 percent by FY20 (against 1.6 percent in FY17).

Reliance Nippon is expected to leverage retail strength and topline growth is largely driven by rise in share of equity, the research house said.

1:59 pm Solar Power Target: The government is confident of achieving the target of 100 Giga Watt (GW) of solar power capacity by 2022, Power Minister R K Singh said today.

As against the target of installing 100 GW of solar power capacity as on December 15, a capacity of 16,676 MW has been installed with another 6,500 MW capacity under installation, he said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

The trajectory of bidding of the rest of solar power capacity has been finalised as 20,000 MW in 2017-18, 30,000 MW in 2018-19 and 30,000 MW in 2019-20.

"The government is confident of achieving the target of 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022," Singh said.

1:46 pm Sugar prices weak: Sugar tumbled by Rs 40 per quintal at the wholesale market in the national capital today following huge availability of stocks.

Marketmen said bloated ready stocks on steady inflow of arrivals from mills, sparked by limited offtake by stockist and bulk consumers such as soft drink and ice cream makers mainly led to fall in sweetener prices.

A couple of days ago, the government had withdrawn stocks holdings limits on sugar dealers in view of bumper production and ample availability of sugar in the market.

1:26 pm Indian Economy: India is expected to be a USD 6.5-7 trillion economy by 2030, and at the current exchange  rate it would touch USD 10 trillion by 2035-40, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) Bibek Debroy said today.

The per capita income in India by 2030 will however be just USD 4,000, still less than many other countries, he said.

"In the year 2030, India's national income will be around USD 6.5-7 trillion. If exchange rate remains what it is today then by 2035-40, India will be USD 10 trillion economy."

And if exchange rate appreciates then India will be USD 10 trillion economy before 2035," Debroy said at Skoch summit here.

1:10 pm 2G spectrum case: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will appeal against the judgement of the special court that acquitted 19 people in the 2G spectrum allocation money laundering case, agency sources said.

They said the agency will study the order and will knock on the doors of the high court armed with their evidence and investigation.

Sources said it has to be seen if the ED case has been rejected by the court merely because the predicate offence probe of CBI has been rejected or there were other reasons to do so.

The special court of O P Saini acquitted 19 accused, including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi in the ED's money laundering case relating to the 2G scam.

12:55 pm USFDA Approval: Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc has received final approval from the US health regulator to market Nifedipine extended release tablets used in treatment of hypertension and chest pain.

The company has received the approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to market the drug in the strengths of 30mg, 60mg and 90 mg, Zydus Cadila said in a BSE filing.

The company will produce the drug at the group's formulations manufacturing facility at SEZ, Ahmedabad.

12:46 pm Order Win: Gayatri Projects in a JV has bagged a Rs 1,339 crore road project contract in Jammu and Kashmir from National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The company has secured the contract in joint venture with public joint stock company 'Kyivmetrobud' i.e Gayatri-KMB (JV), from NHAI, Gayatri Projects said in a BSE filing.

The contract is for construction of stand along ring road/bypass around Jammu city.

12:24 pm IPO: India's Lodha Developers is looking to raise up to USd 1 billion through an initial public offering that is likely to be launched next year, two people with knowledge of the plan told IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication.

India's main stock indexes have surged almost 30 percent this year, bolstered by strong foreign inflows, spurring companies to raise a record of more than $11 billion through IPOs so far this year.

The company had planned an IPO of 28 billion rupees (USD 437 million) in 2010, but it was shelved due to a weak stock market.

The real estate developer has hired Citic CLSA, Kotak and Morgan Stanley for the IPO, the people said, adding that more banks were likely to join the syndicate, IFR said.

12:12 pm Market Update: The benchmark Sensex got back to its base level after running up high today as a spell of choppiness continued. However, the Nifty barely managed to keep its head above water.

Auto, banks and FMCG saw profit-booking.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 8.57 points at 33,768.81 and the 50-share NSE Nifty gained 1.30 points at 10,445.50 while the Nifty Midcap extended gains, rising 0.77 percent.

About 1,525 shares advanced against 875 declining shares on the BSE.

Gainers included Sun Pharma and L&T. M&M lost 2.67 percent, along with HUL and Infosys.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net sold shares worth Rs 1,505.04 crore yesterday. But domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 146.17 crore.

Asian markets turned lacklustre after the passage of a sweeping US tax cut legislation.

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady despite growing signs of strength in the economy

12:00 am Reaction on 2G case: The Essar Group today welcomed the judgement of the special court acquitting its promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

"We are thankful to the court for the judgement as it vindicates our stated position and the court has appreciated it," an Essar spokesperson said in a statement.

Besides Ruias, the court also acquitted Vikash Saraf, one of the Essar Group Directors, Loop Telecom Promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, three companies-- Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile (India) Ltd and Essar Teleholdings Ltd.

11:40 am RBI to maintain status quo in 2018?: The Reserve Bank of India's policy rates are likely to remain unchanged in 2018 despite higher inflation, a recovering growth and elevated oil prices, says a Nomura report.

According to the Japanese financial services major, strengthening of the growth recovery could push a few Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members towards a "tightening bias".

Minutes of the December 6 policy meeting show that despite upside risks to inflation, most MPC members voted for a pause because of growth concerns, Nomura said.

RBI yesterday released the minutes of its December meeting. The MPC voted 5-1 in favour of leaving the repo rate unchanged at 6 per cent, with Ravindra Dholakia again dissenting and batting for a 25 bps rate cut.

11:30 am Patent Win: Suven Life Sciences has secured a product patent each from Canada and India for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

These patents are valid through 2034 and 2028, respectively, the company said in a BSE filing.

"We are pleased by the grant of these patents to Suven for our pipeline of molecules in the CNS (central nervous system) arena, which are being developed for cognitive disorders with high unmet medical need with a huge market potential globally," Suven Life CEO Venkat Jasti said.

Suven Life said the granted claims of the patents are being developed as therapeutic agents and useful in treatment of cognitive impairment associated with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson and Schizophrenia.

11:20 am Resignation: Mortgage firm PNB Housing Finance today said its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jayesh Jain has resigned from the company.

"Jayesh Jain has decided to step down as the Chief Financial Officer and key managerial personnel of the company. His last working day is January 5, 2018," PNB Housing Finance said in a BSE filing.

PNB Housing Finance, however, did not elaborate.

11:10 am Gold Update: Tracking a firm trend overseas, gold prices advanced by 0.19 percent to Rs 28,546 per 10 grams in futures trading today as speculators built more bets.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange, gold for delivery in February rose Rs 53, or 0.19 percent, to Rs 28,546 per 10 grams in a business turnover of 337 lots.

On similar lines, the yellow metal for delivery in April was trading higher by Rs 54, or 0.19 per cent, to Rs 28,545 per 10 grams in 13 lots.

11:00 am 2G Scam Verdict: Former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi were today acquitted by a special court in the 2G spectrum scam case.

DB Realty (up 20 percent), Unitech (up 14 percent) and Sun TV Network (up 5 percent) were biggest gainers after the verdict.

Fifteen other accused in the case and three companies were also acquitted.

Others acquitted in the case are former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also acquitted in the case.

Besides them, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- were also accused and acquitted in the case.

10:35 am QIP closes: LT Foods in today's board meeting has decided to close the qualified institutional placement issue that was opened on December 18.

The board has approved the issue price at Rs 75 per share, for issuance of 5.31 crore equity shares that will be allotted to qualified institutional buyers.

10:15 am Buzzing: Infrastructure company IVRCL said it has entered into a pact with Singapore-based Cube Highways and Infrastructure to sell its entire stake in two subsidiaries for Rs 726.18 crore. The stock rallied 17 percent.

"The company has entered into a share purchase agreements with Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte Ltd for sale of the entire stake in two subsidiary companies viz., Salem Tollways Ltd (STL) and Kumarapalayam Tollways Ltd (KTL)," IVRCL said in a statement.

"The value of IVRCL's stake in STL...shall be computed on the basis of enterprise value of Rs 342.95 crore," it said.

10:05 am Rupee Trade: The rupee wiped out early gains to trade flat at 64.11 against the dollar today after the US Congress gave its final seal of approval to a sweeping tax legislation.

Dubbed as the biggest overhaul of the US tax code in 30 years, the Bill slashes taxes for corporates as well as the middle class.

In the opening session, the domestic unit went up 10 paise to 64.01.

Yesterday, it had lost 7 paise at 64.11 against the US currency due to dollar demand from importers.

9:55 am Market Update: Equity benchmarks continued to consolidate in morning, with the Nifty hovering around 10,450 levels but the broader markets continued to outperform.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 6.79 points at 33,784.17 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 9.20 points to 10,453.40.

The Nifty Midcap index gained half a percent. About three shares advanced for every share falling on the BSE.

9:51 am USFDA Approval: Taro Pharma, the subsidiary of Sun Pharma, has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for Clindamycin Phosphate & Benzoyl Peroxide Gel.

The drug is indicated for the treatment of moderate acne.

9:41 am Buyback: Pidilite Industries has informed exchanges that a meeting of the board of directors will be held on December 26 to consider the proposal to buyback the fully paid-up equity shares of the company.

The trading window of the company will remain closed with immediate effect and shall re-open only after 48 hours from the announcement of outcome of the Board Meeting to Stock Exchanges, it said.

9:31 am Stake sale: Mortgage lender HDFC on Wednesday said it has sold 6.3 percent of equity in Computer Age Management Services Pvt Ltd (CAMS) to Warburg Pincus affiliate company Great Terrain Investment Ltd for Rs 209.50 crore.

"Computer Age Management Services (CAMS) is the target entity whose shares are being sold by the Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC)," HDFC said in a regulatory filing.

Warburg Pincus is the US-based private equity investing firm.

Further, HDFC said its associate HDFC Bank is also a shareholder in CAMS, who is also selling a part of its shareholding in CAMS to the same purchaser at the same price at which the Corporation is selling its share in CAMS.

9:21 am Buzzing: Morgan Stanley has initiated its coverage with Overweight on HDFC Standard Life and set a target price at Rs 425 per share.

The research house expects premium growth to normalise at 17.5 percent in FY19-20, after 30 percent growth in FY18.

The stock gained 1.5 percent.

9:15 am Market Check: Equity benchmarks rebounded in opening on Thursday, with the Nifty reclaiming 10,450 level, backed by select auto, technology, metals and pharma stocks.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 64.49 points at 33,841.87 and the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 20 points to 10,464.20. About 984 shares advanced against 265 declining shares on the BSE.

Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, Wipro, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were early losers. Hero MotoCorp, GAIL, Hindalco, Eicher Motors, Maruti Suzuki and UPL were early gainers

Mahindra and Mahindra was down 1.4 percent as stock trades ex-bonus today. Nifty Midcap was up 0.5 percent.

Reliance Nippon, Pidilite Industries, PVR, Ajanta Pharma, Reliance Communications, Monnet Ispat, Gokaldas Exports, Videocon Industries, Wockhardt and Unitech rallied 1-6 percent while Bank of India and Motherson Sumi were down 1 percent each.