Markets edge lower ahead of US Federal Reserve's minutes

Benchmark indices ended lower amid choppy trades as investors across the globe are closely-watching the release of the US Federal Reserve's latest minutes. Further, weakness among software shares dampened the sentiments among local investors.

New York Fed President William Dudley said the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as soon as September, prompting investors to pause after rallies in recent weeks.

The S&P BSE Sensex ended lower 59 points at 28,005 and the Nifty50 slipped 19 points to settle at 8,624. Broader markets, however, outperformed the benchmark indices – BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were up almost 1% each.

Nikhil Kamath, Co-Founder & Director, Zerodha said, "We continue to see considerable call buildup around the 8700 levels, this suggests that smart money may not be betting on a big rally to take the markets much higher above 8700 in the near future. PCR ratio is around the 0.91 levels which could also mean overall retail outlook is still positive and most retail participant expect the markets to move up from this juncture."

Among global peers, European shares little changed in early trading on Wednesday, with Austrian brickmaker Wienerberger, Danish brewer Carlsberg and UK insurer Admiral Group all sliding after publishing their results.

Chinese shares slipped after leaders approved a plan to give foreign investors more access to Chinese equities through Hong Kong. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite index closed 0.02% lower. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index ended 0.48% lower.

Back home, shares of metal companies were in focus with the Nifty Metal and S&P BSE Metal index, up nearly 2% each, hitting their respective 52-week highs.

Tata Steel, Hindalco Industries, JSW Steel and APL Apollo Tubes were trading at their 52-week highs, while Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Coal India and NMDC were up more than 2% each.

Tata Steel has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) to set up a research centre in IIT Madras Research Park as part of its long term strategic roadmap in the area of advanced materials. The stock was up over 3%.

Hero MotoCorp said before market hours today that Sunil Kant Munjal's tenure as Joint Managing Director of the company ended on 16 August 2016. The stock gained over 2%.

On the losing side, TCS, Adani Ports, Infosys, Asian Paints and Wipro were 1%-3%.

Infosys extended yesterday’s losses and was down around 2% after a key client Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) scrapped a project to set up a separate bank in the United Kingdom, for which IT major was a key technology partner.

Shares of Cipla took a breather today after witnessing a sharp rally on Tuesday. The company announced an improvement of around 200 basis points in base business EBITDA (earnings before interest, depreciation and taxes) margin. The stock slipped 0.5%.

Among other shares, Religare Enterprises rebounded after hitting its all-time low price of Rs 224 on the bourses after a huge block deal has been executed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange).  

KNR Constructions rallied over 8%, extending its Tuesday 3% gain on the BSE, after the company said it has strong engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order book position of Rs 4,258 crore as on June 30, 2016 (Q1FY17) comprising of Rs 3,528 crore in roads sector and Rs 730 crore in irrigation.

OCL India gained over 3% on the BSE after net profit of the company in June 2016 (Q1FY17) nearly doubled at Rs 105 crore, on the back of strong operational performance.

Shares of Zee Learn and Tree House Education & Accessories rose between 10%-15% after their respective boards approved a revised share swap ratio for the merger.

With Capital Market input

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