Sensex closes lower, Nifty below 8900; banks, telecom, auto drag
3:30 pm Market Closing:Benchmark indices closed lower for the first time in last seven consecutive trading sessions, dragged by banks, telecom and auto stocks. The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 80.09 points at 28812.88 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 42.80 points to 8896.70 while the broader markets outperformed benchmarks despite weak breadth.
Axis Bank was the biggest loser among Sensex stocks, down 3.6 percent followed by ICICI Bank, L&T, HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Maruti and Tata Motors while Reliance Industries gained 4.7 percent.
3:19 pm Motilal Oswal upgrades JSPL: Motilal Oswal has upgraded Jindal Steel & Power to buy and also raised target price to Rs 180 (from Rs 88 earlier).
The brokerage house says, company’s Angul site can accommodate much larger 12mtpa capacity, which implies that new capacity addition would require low specific capex, shorter execution cycle, and deliver superior internal rate of return. The site is strategically located in an oversupplied iron ore region and is close to ports.
While there are some risks (steel and coking coal prices, slower production ramp-up) to its estimates, there could be upside if any of several anticipated events (access to iron ore inventories at Sarda mines, captive iron ore mines in auction, PPA for idle 1,500MW capacity, etc) play out, the research firm says.
3:06 pm Nifty breaks 8900: Equity benchmarks extended losses in last hour of trade, with the Nifty slipping below 8900 level, dragged by telecom, banks and infra stocks.
The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 85.05 points at 28807.92 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 46.85 points to 8892.65.
3:00 pm Rupee hits 3-month high: The Indian rupee set a three-month peak and the Thai baht hovered at a four-month high, as investors looked to US President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress later this week for fresh catalysts.
The Thai baht rose to 34.85 per dollar. That matched Friday’s peak, which was the highest in almost four months.
The Indian rupee touched a high of 66.645, its strongest level since November 10.
Emerging Asian currencies such as the baht and Indian rupee held firm ahead of Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress due on Tuesday.
2:55 pm Interview: Mannapuram Finance has picked up Nucleus Software’s Finone Neo Solution, which is a loan life cylce management product. Nucleus is a provider of lending and transactions banking solutions.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Vishnu Dusad, MD and CEO of the company said after the cloud offering, more than 100 non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) have made enquires about Finone Neo Solution.
There has been a degrowth in the compay’s revenue in the last three quarters. Dusad expects financial year 2018 to be a better year for the company.
The company has a cash balance of Rs 400 crore and to use that money it is actively looking at acquisitions. “We are now actively looking at acquisitions in the next 2-3 quarters.”
2:50 pm Merger buzz: IndusInd Bank is not the only one interested in striking a deal with Bharat Financial. The newly-listed RBL Bank is also interested in a merger with Bharat Financial, sources with direct knowledge to the development said.
Sources said IndusInd has been negotiating deal valuations with the non-banking finance company.
2:34 pm S&P on Bharti-Telenor: Acquisition of Telenor’s India operations will help telecom giant Bharti Airtel improve its market and spectrum position without any material increase in debt, S&P Global Ratings has said.
Its rating on Bharti Airtel (BBB-/stable/–) is unaffected by the company’s plans to acquire the India operations of Telenor ASA, it said in a statement. Generally, BBB indicates relatively lesser credit risk and exhibits adequate protection parameters.
“The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will help Bharti Airtel improve its market and spectrum position without any material increase in debt,” it added.
2:20 pm Expert speak: The market is witnessing strong inflows from domestic as well as foreign investors and will continue to trend higher, Gautam Trivedi, MD and CEO of Religare Capital, said.
“Inflows have been so strong that the earnings have taken a backseat when it comes to deciding the movement in the market.” The market is likely to correct if BJP loses state elections in Uttar Pradesh, he said, adding that the quantum of any such correction will depend on the nature of the loss.
Nevertheless, even such a correction should be bought into, he said. He is neutral on the pharma space and suggested investors stay stock-specific for the sector. He likes Cadila , Aurobindo and Sun Pharma from the space.
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2:00 pm Market Check
The market continues to remain subdued after in late afternoon trade, with banks and auto stocks dragging the indices.
The Sensex was up 38.63 points at 28931.60 on the BSE, while the Nifty was down 10.55 points at 8928.95. The market breadth continued to remain narrow, with 1,324 shares having advanced, 1,336 shares having declined, while 220 shares remained unchanged.
Reliance, Infosys and Aurobindo Pharma were top gainers on the indices, while Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank and Zee Entertainment were the top losers.
GMR Infrastructure was higher by 5.4 percent intraday after its subsidiary converted its debt into equity by allotting equity shares to the lenders. The consortium of lenders of GMR Chhattisgarh Energy (GCEL), subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure, adopted strategic debt restructuring plan (SDR), under which GCEL has allotted equity shares to all the lenders.
Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corporation fell over 2 percent intraday, following reports of withdrawal of tax sops at its refinery. The Odisha government, on February 22, withdrew tax incentives to the mammoth Rs 34,555 crore worth Paradip refinery, news agency PTI reported. This has made the oil PSU reconsider its plans to invest another Rs 52,000 crore in the state.
The big index-mover, Reliance, soared over 6 percent intraday after Morgan Stanley upgraded its target price citing not just better telecom business, but also an improvement in energy segment as well.
Meanwhile, on the global markets front, European indices have opened in the green, with FTSE, CAC and DAX trading higher around 0.30 percent.