Nifty ends at 8,650 ahead of Aug F&O expiry; Midcaps outperform

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Markets finished the session on a marginally higher note amid choppy session as investors turned cautious ahead of August F&O expiry and signals on key policy rates from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a meeting scheduled this week.

The S&P BSE Sensex ended up 70 points at 28,060 and the Nifty50 rose 18 points to settle at 8,650. In the broader market, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices ended up nearly 1%, outperforming the benchmark indices.  

Commenting on today's rangebound trade, Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services said, "Stocks remained unusually calm on the eve of August derivatives expiry, but the expiry dynamics did ensure that market breadth remained positive, with about 950 stocks rising in NSE as against around 600 stocks declining. Sharp recovery in European Markets from the day’s lows also prompted a surge in Indian equities towards close, but reports of amendment in India-Singapore tax treaty kept upsides on check. Incidentally, FIIs had turned net sellers in the last two days in both equities and derivatives for the first time this month."

Globally, European stocks edged lower as investors traded cautiously ahead of a key speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday.

In Germany, the latest data showed that the German economy slowed in the second quarter, as investment dropped after a strong start to the year.

Asian stocks witnessed a mixed trend ahead of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's speech later this week, which could provide hints about the timing of the next rate hike from the Fed.

Oil prices fell early on Wednesday as an unexpected build in US crude stocks weighed on markets, along with concerns that Chinese crude demand could falter as Beijing clamps down on alleged tax evasion in the oil industry.

Back home, shares of pharmaceutical companies, mostly the midcap companies were on roll with Divis Laboratories, Ajanta Pharma, Natco Pharma and Torrent Pharmaceuticals from the BSE500 index hitting their respective lifetime highs in an otherwise range bound market on the BSE. However, Lupin was the top Sensex loser, down over 2%.

Bajaj Healthcare, Medicamen Biotech, Neuland Laboratories, NGL Fine Chem and Vinati Organics too, touched their multi-year highs on the bourses. Sequent Scientific was locked in upper circuit of 20% at Rs 146, while Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Hikal, Ipca Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma gained between 5%-7%.

Maruti Suzuki India rose around 3% as the Japanese yen weakened against the dollar and upward revision of price target by a foreign brokerage.

Infosys gained almost 2% on reports that the company may get incremental revenue of $60 million in the current financial year as part of Goods Services and Tax Network project.

Meanwhile, Tata Consultancy Services and its US affiliate have paid Orange County, California, $26 million to settle a lawsuit over what the latter termed as a "failed replacement" to the county's automated property tax system. The stock slipped by 1%.

Among other shares, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Infotech was down 1% at Rs 638, trading at its lowest level since listing in July this year.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) moved higher by nearly 4% to after the company announced that its board will meet on Monday, August 29 to consider issue of bonus shares.

Majesco surged around 8% on back of heavy volumes after the company announced that Elafris has joined the Majesco Partner EcoSystem to enhance insurers’ customer communication and payment experience.

Welspun India was locked in lower circuit for the third straight trading session down 10% at Rs 59.30 on the BSE, after a media report that US-based retailer, Wal-Mart, which said it would review the supply chain and cotton certification records of the company and take suitable action - if any quality issues are found in Welspun's supplies.

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