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Friday, March 21, 2014

Sensex, Nifty eke out small gains
21-Mar-14: Key benchmark indices registered with small gains after moving in a narrow range in intraday trade. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, garnered 13.66 points or 0.06%, off about 115 points from the day's high and up close to 25 points from the day's low. The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market was positive.

The Sensex has risen 633.63 points or 3% in this month so far (till 21 March 2014). The Sensex has risen 583.07 points or 2.75% so far in calendar 2014 (till 21 March 2014). From a 52-week low of 17,448.71 on 28 August 2013, the Sensex has risen 4,305.04 points or 24.67%. From a record high of 22,040.72 on Tuesday, 18 March 2014, the Sensex has lost 286.97 points or 1.3%.

Coming back to today's trade, tyre stocks jumped, with Apollo Tyres, CEAT and MRF hitting record high. Metal and mining stocks edged higher on renewed buying.

The market edged higher in early trade on firm Asian stocks. The Sensex trimmed initial gains in morning trade. The Sensex regained positive zone soon after sliding into the red for a brief period in mid-morning trade. Key benchmark indices moved in a narrow range in positive zone in early afternoon trade. Key benchmark indices hovered in positive zone in afternoon trade. A bout of volatility was witnessed as key benchmark indices trimmed gains in mid-afternoon trade.

The stock exchanges are conducting a special live trading session tomorrow, 22 March 2014, as the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is testing its software. Trading will take place from 11:15 IST to 12:45 IST.

The S&P BSE Sensex garnered 13.66 points or 0.06% to settle at 21,753.75, its highest closing level since 19 March 2014. The index jumped 130.02 points at the day's high of 21,870.11 in early trade. The index fell 10.19 points at the day's low of 21,729.90 in afternoon trade.

The CNX Nifty garnered 10.10 points or 0.16% to settle at 6,493.20, its highest closing level since 19 March 2014. The index hit a high of 6,522.90 in intraday trade. The index hit a low of 6,485.70 in intraday trade.

The BSE Mid-Cap index garnered 54.64 points or 0.81% at 6,769.74. The BSE Small-Cap index garnered 58.44 points or 0.87% at 6,785.11. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.

The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 9676 crore, which was much higher than Rs 2386.55 crore on Thursday, 20 March 2014, as the government sold 9% stake in Axis bank in a block deal on BSE today, 21 March 2014.

The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market was positive. On BSE, 1,579 shares rose and 1,257 shares fell. A total of 142 shares were unchanged.

Pharma stocks were mixed. Cipla (up 0.16%) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (up 0.2%) gained. Dr Reddy's Laboratories (down 0.13%) and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 1.68%) declined.

Lupin rose 0.45% after the company announced during market hours that its US subsidiary -- Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. -- has launched its Niacin Extended‐Release Tablets USP, 500 mg, 750 mg, 1000 mg strengths having received final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday, 20 March 2014. Lupin's Niacin Extended‐Release Tablets USP, 500 mg, 750 mg, 1000 mg strengths are the AB‐rated generic equivalent of AbbVie Inc.'s Niaspan Tablets 500 mg, 750 mg, 1000 mg and used with diet to reduce elevated TC, LDL‐C, Apo B and TG levels, and to increase HDL‐C in patients with primary hyperlipidemia and mixed dyslipidemia. Niaspan Tablets had annual US sales of approximately $1 billion (IMS MAT Dec, 2013).

Commenting on the approval, Mr. Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director, Lupin said: We are happy to launch this product having received approval from the FDA yesterday. The launch bears testimony to our commitment to serving our customers and patients by bringing high quality, affordable medicines to the market.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) lost 2.2% to Rs 885.75. The stock hit high of Rs 913.70 and low of Rs 882.55. RIL's weightage in FTSE indices will reportedly fall when the index provider rejigs the composition of its benchmarks after the close of markets today, 21 March 2014.

RIL in video recorded Hindi transcript uploaded on YouTube has denied allegations of benefits from the Gujarat government.

Index heavyweight and cigarette maker ITC rose 0.49% to Rs 357.65 in volatile trade. The stock hit high of Rs 358.70 and low of Rs 352.70.

IT stocks edged higher after positive US economic data overnight. The US is the biggest outsourcing market for the Indian IT firms.

Wipro surged 3.09% at Rs 567.95. The scrip hit high of Rs 577.10 and low of Rs 554.45.

IT major Infosys rose 0.07%. The company said after market hours on Thursday, 20 March 2014, that Mr. Chandra Shekar Kakal, Senior Vice President & Member of the Executive Council, has conveyed his intention to resign from the services of the company.

TCS rose 0.83%, with the stock extending Thursday's 3.28% gain. The company after market hours on Wednesday, 19 March 2014, announced the go-live of a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) application programme with PT Garuda Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. (Garuda Indonesia Airlines), Indonesia's national airline, via its aircraft maintenance subsidiary GMF Aeroasia.

HCL Technologies (up 1.35%) and Oracle Financial Services Software (up 0.62%), edged higher. Tech Mahindra declined 0.7%.

Auto stocks edged higher. Maruti Suzuki India (up 0.54%), Tata Motors (up 2.38%), and Ashok Leyland (up 4.52%) edged higher.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) declined 0.8%. The company on Thursday, 20 March 2014, said that the United States District Court in Atlanta, USA, issued an order on 14 March 2014 denying the plaintiffs' motion for class certification in a lawsuit brought by US automobile dealers against M&M. The plaintiffs in Ackerman vs. Mahindra & Mahindra, Ltd. took legal action against M&M based on agreements they had made with Global Vehicles USA, Inc., a former distributor for the company. The plaintiffs sought to represent all dealers who entered into agreements with Global Vehicles to sell Mahindra vehicles in the United States. The court concluded that a number of factual and legal issues regarding dealer claims must be resolved on a case-by-case basis, and that this case was inappropriate for class certification. M&M said that this court order is a significant achievement for the company in its defense of these claims, as these claims can now proceed in litigation only on an individual basis. M&M is pleased with this result, and remains convinced that the dealer claims brought against it in this and other suits have no merit, the company said in a statement.

Shares of most two wheeler makers gained. Bajaj Auto rose 0.51%. Hero MotoCorp fell 1.94%.

TVS Motor Company jumped 3.21% to Rs 96.40 after scaling a record high of Rs 100.65 in intraday trade.

Most bank stocks edged higher. Among private sector banks, HDFC Bank (up 0.42%) and Federal Bank (up 2.26%) gained. ICICI Bank (down 0.16%), Yes Bank (down 0.46%) and Kotak Mahindra Bank (down 0.96%) declined.

Axis Bank edged higher in choppy trade amid huge volumes on reports that the government has sold about 4.22 crore shares, constituting a 9% stake in India's third-largest private-sector bank by assets, via block deals on BSE today, 21 March 2014. The stock rose 2.69% to Rs 1,393.40. The scrip hit high of Rs 1,410.60 and low of Rs 1,313.25. On BSE, 5.26 crore shares changed hands on the counter, compared with average daily volume of 2.46 lakh shares in the past one quarter.

The government holds stake in Axis Bank via a trust fund called Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI). The share sale was launched on Thursday, 20 March 2014, in the indicative price band of roughly Rs 1,290 to Rs 1,357 per share. As on 31 December 2013, SUUTI's total holding in Axis Bank stood at 9.72 crore shares, constituting 20.72% stake.

Axis Bank's weightage in FTSE indices will reportedly increase when the index provider rejigs the composition of its benchmarks after the close of markets today, 21 March 2014.

Among PSU bank stocks, Punjab National Bank (up 1.38%), State Bank of India (SBI) (up 1.47%), Union Bank of India (up 1.26%), Bank of India (up 0.7%) and Bank of Baroda (up 2.67%) gained.

Canara Bank rose 0.21% after the bank said after market hours on Thursday, 20 March 2014, that as per the powers delegated by the board of the bank, the Bond Committee has decided to raise additional capital of Rs 1000 crore through issue of BASEL-III complaint Tier-II Bonds (Series-II). The bank has received reaffirmation of rating AAA/Stable (pronounced 'CRISIL Triple A rating with Stable Outlook') from CRISIL and confirmation of rating '[ICRA] AAA (hyb)' (Pronounced ICRA Triple A Hybrid with Stable Outlook) from ICRA for the proposed issue of the bonds, Canara Bank said.

Realty stocks edged higher. DLF (up 2.39%), Housing Development Infrastructure (HDIL) (up 5.16%), D B Realty (up 1.07%), and Unitech (up 3.17%) gained.

Metal and mining stocks gained. Sesa Sterlite (up 1.53%), Hindustan Zinc (up 0.62%), Jindal Steel & Power (up 1.68%), Hindalco Industries (up 3.31%), Hindustan Copper (up 4.31%), JSW Steel (up 3.67%), Tata Steel (up 3.43%), Steel Authority of India (SAIL) (up 3.35%) and National Aluminum Company (up 2.15%) edged higher. NMDC fell 2.05%.

Tyre stocks surged. Goodyear India (up 2.37%) and JK Tyre & Industries (up 8.49%) gained.

CEAT surged 13.87% to Rs 436 after hitting a record high of Rs 444.90 in intraday trade.

Apollo Tyres gained 4.47% to Rs 143.60 after hitting a record high of Rs 143.80 in intraday trade.

MRF gained 4.03% to Rs 22,300 after hitting a record high of Rs 22,448.90 in intraday trade.

In the foreign exchange market, the rupee edged higher against the dollar on optimism a recovering economy will lure inflows even as the US Federal Reserve keeps cutting stimulus. The partially convertible rupee was hovering at 60.92, compared with its close of 61.34/35 on Thursday, 20 March 2014.

Government bond prices rose after Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said that the central bank has not yet moved to an inflation target, and was still exploring the suggestions on the subject drafted by a panel with the government. A panel headed by Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Urjit Patel recommended in January moving to an inflation target, with an aim to eventually bring down consumer-price based inflation to 4% with a 2% band on either side. We haven't moved to inflation targeting as yet, Rajan said at an event in Mumbai today, 21 March 2014. The yield on 10-year benchmark federal paper, 8.83% GS 2023, was hovering at 8.7955%, lower than its close of 8.8188% on Thursday, 20 March 2014. Bond yields and bond prices move in opposite direction.

The Reserve Bank of India will announce the First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2014-15 on 1 April 2014. Citing price pressures, the Reserve Bank of India raised its key lending rates by 25 basis points after Third Quarter Review of Monetary Policy for 2013-14 on 28 January 2014.

The next major trigger for the stock market is the outcome of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Lok Sabha elections will be held between 7 April 2014 and 12 May 2014 in nine phases. The counting of votes will be take place on 16 May 2014. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31. Along with the Lok Sabha election, Andhra Pradesh (AP), including the regions comprising Telangana, Odisha and Sikkim will go to polls to elect new assemblies. AP, Odisha and Sikkim assemblies come to end on June 2, June 7 and May 7 respectively.

European stocks edged higher on Friday, 21 March 2014, in line with firm Asian stocks and overnight gains in US stocks. Key benchmark indices in France, Germany and UK were up 0.38% to 0.53%.

Britain posted a larger-than-forecast budget deficit in February as government spending increased at its fastest annual pace for almost a year. Expenditure exceeded revenue by 9.3 billion pounds ($15.3 billion), compared with 9.2 billion pounds a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in London today.

Greece's credit rating was maintained at six steps below investment grade by Standard & Poor's, which said the country's debt remains large even as its government's fiscal performance improves. The country's long-term local currency debt was kept at B-, with a stable outlook, S&P said in a statement. Steps the Greek government has taken to strengthen the institutional framework and improve policy effectiveness have enhanced external and fiscal performance, the New York-based rating company said. Greece's external vulnerabilities persist given its high level of external debt, deflating economy, and limited monetary flexibility.

Asian stocks edged higher on Friday, 21 March 2014, with investor sentiment boosted by overnight gains in US stocks. Key benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea were up 0.03% to 2.72%. In Taiwan, Taiwan Weighted index fell 0.23%. The Japanese stock market was closed for a holiday.

HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics' gauge of Chinese manufacturing will be released on Monday, 24 March 2014.

China equity funds had a record outflow of $1.5 billion for the week ended 19 March 2014, of which $1.3 billion came from exchange-traded funds, according to reports.

The China Beige Book survey, published by New York-based CBB International, signaled the nation's economy slowed this quarter, with industries including retail and mining showing weaker revenue growth. Loans through non-traditional channels became more expensive, it said.

China's cabinet said this week it will speed up construction projects and other measures to support the economy after data showed moderating growth in industrial production and investment. The government is targeting 7.5% growth this year, which would be the slowest pace since 1990.

Trading in US index futures indicated that the Dow could advance 43 points at the opening bell on Friday, 21 March 2014. US stocks rose on Thursday, 20 March 2014, as reports on leading indicators and regional manufacturing fueled optimism in the economy, overshadowing concern that interest rates may rise in the middle of next year.

The Conference Board's gauge of the US economic outlook for the next three to six months climbed 0.5% in February, the biggest gain since November, data showed. The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing gauge rose to 9.0 in March from minus 6.3 the prior month. Separate data showed purchases of previously owned homes declined in February to the lowest level since July 2012.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) next undertakes monetary policy review at a two-day meeting on 29-30 April 2014. The Federal Reserve on 19 March 2014 said after the conclusion of a monetary policy review that it will trim its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $55 billion. The Federal Reserve will end its bond-buying program before the end of the year with an interest-rate increase likely to follow in around six months, Chair Janet Yellen said on 19 March 2014. Quarterly Fed forecasts on 19 March 2014 showed more officials predicting that the benchmark interest rate, now close to zero, will rise to at least 1% by the end of 2015 and 2.25% a year later.

Fitch Ratings today, 21 March 2014, affirmed the United States' credit ratings at AAA with a stable outlook, removing the distant danger that it might downgrade the world's largest economy. The action resolves the negative watch that Fitch had placed on the United States back in October, when political wrangling over the debt ceiling had raised the risk of default. Fitch's sensitivity analysis does not currently anticipate developments with a material likelihood, individually or collectively, of leading to a rating downgrade, it said in a statement. Fitch said the latest crisis over the debt limit had not adversely affected US Treasury yields or the appetite of foreign investors for the debt. Therefore Fitch does not believe the role of the US dollar, sovereign financing flexibility or debt tolerance has been materially damaged, it said.

Fitch noted the United States had greater debt tolerance than other triple-A peers owing to the unparalleled financing flexibility provided by being the issuer of the world's reserve currency and benchmark fixed-income asset. Strong fiscal consolidation has been achieved, the agency added. It expected the US budget deficit to decline to 2.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2014 fiscal year, from 4% in fiscal 2013 and 6.7% in 2012. But Fitch cautioned there were still risks to the ratings outlook, including if authorities failed to address rising expenditure pressures from an ageing population and higher interest rates later in the decade.

Russia's credit rating outlook was cut to negative by Fitch Ratings, citing the potential impact on a slowing economy of widening US and European Union sanctions imposed as it absorbs Ukraine's Crimea region. Fitch followed a similar move by Standard & Poor's yesterday. Both companies affirmed the former Soviet republic at BBB, the second-lowest investment grade, on par with Brazil.

US President Barack Obama raised the stakes in an East-West confrontation over Crimea on Thursday by targeting some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest long-time political and business allies with personal sanctions. The extension of visa bans and asset freezes into Putin's inner circle came as Moscow rushed to consolidate the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, seized from Ukraine last month, and to boost its military presence in the region.

Russian troops took over three Ukrainian warships in Crimea on Thursday, using stun grenades in one incident. Kiev also said it had begun withdrawing its border guards, surrounded and outnumbered by Russian forces, from Crimea to the mainland.

Successful legal challenges against European Union (EU) sanctions over the past year have made the bloc wary of taking aggressive actions against Russian businessmen and companies as it works to contain Moscow's ambitions in Ukraine. EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday, 20 March 2014, agreed to apply asset freezes and visa bans on 12 more Russian officials, but stopped short of penalizing any powerful oligarchs or companies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said legal concerns were the main reason leaders had avoided targeting people outside Russia's political and military circles. We in Europe are bound to having an obvious connection to Crimea-i.e. the offense that is at the base of the sanctions. That's a different legal situation from the US, she told journalists after the meeting. Concerns over legal challenges to EU sanctions have increased over the past year after the bloc's courts struck down financial sanctions against several individuals and companies.

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