Metal & mining stocks shine

Key benchmark indices held firm in early afternoon trade on sustained buying demand in index pivotals. At 12:15 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 130.54 points or 0.45% at 29,462.70. The Nifty 50 index was up 32.80 points or 0.36% at 9,119.10. Gains in ICICI Bank, ITC and State Bank of India boosted sentiment on the domestic stocks.

Domestic stocks drifted higher in early trade on positive Asian stocks. Key benchmark indices extended early gains and hit fresh intraday high in morning trade. Indices hovered in a small range with positive bias in mid-morning trade.

The BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.37%, underperforming the Sensex. The BSE Small-Cap index was up 0.68%, outperforming the Sensex.

The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was positive. On the BSE, 1,438 shares rose and 1,071 shares fell. A total of 161 shares were unchanged.

Cipla shed 0.6%. In its clarification on media reports titled "USFDA issued import alert on Cipla's Tadalafil drug made at Bhagwanpur unit," Cipla during market hours today, 24 March 2017 said that the company niether directly or indirectly imports for sale or sell Tadalafil tables in US market nor has not authorised any third party for it. Cipla is not associated with referenced import alert of Tadalafil product or its source at Bhagwanpur site at Uttaranchal for the US market, the company said. Accordingly, this event has no impact on Cipla, it added.

Metal and mining stocks gained. JSW Steel (up 1.12%), Vedanta (up 0.58%), Tata Steel (up 0.31%), Steel Authority of India (Sail) (up 1.53%), Hindustan Zinc (up 0.89%), Jindal Steel & Power (up 1.12%), Hindalco Industries (up 0.62%), NMDC (up 2.29%), Hindustan Copper (up 0.15%) edged higher. National Aluminium Company (down 0.34%) declined.

Copper edged lower in the global commodities market. High Grade Copper for March 2017 delivery was currently off 0.09% at $2.6420 per pound on the COMEX.

Most FMCG stocks fell. Godrej Consumer Products (down 1.37%), GlaxoSmithkline Consumer Healthcare (down 0.84%), Colgate-Palmolive (India) (down 0.19%), Hindustan Unilever (down 0.13%), Marico (down 0.34%), Nestle India (down 0.64%), Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care (down 1.18%), Bajaj Corp (down 0.37%) declined. Jyothy Laboratories (up 1.2%), Britannia Industries (up 0.41%), Dabur India (up 0.44%), Tata Global Beverages (up 0.23%) rose.

KSK Energy Ventures was locked at 5% upper circuit at Rs 9.36, with the stock recovering on bargain hunting after recent slide. Shares of KSK Energy Ventures had declined 13.56% in the preceding four trading sessions to settle at Rs 8.92 on 23 March 2017, from its close of Rs 10.32 on 17 March 2017.

Majesco surged 4.21% after the company said it has secured a multi-year contract from a tier one insurer. As a part of the agreement, the insurer will leverage Majesco's enterprise consulting services and the business transformation framework, application development & management services and the technical reference architecture, and testing services with the automation test framework and testing repository to support the vision laid out by the company for their underwriting and policy platform. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 23 March 2017.

Asian Oilfield Services hit an upper circuit limit of 5% at Rs 240.85 after the company received letter of award of contract worth Rs 108.97 crore from ONGC for 2D seismic data acquisition in unappraised on land areas of sedimentary basins of India for Sector 6 (Ganga). The announcement was made during trading hours today, 24 March 2017.

On the economic front, India's current account deficit (CAD) at US$ 7.9 billion (1.4% of GDP) in Q3 of 2016-17, was higher than US$ 7.1 billion (1.4% of GDP) in Q3 of 2015-16 and US$ 3.4 billion (0.6% of GDP) in the preceding quarter. The data was released by government after market hours yesterday, 23 March 2017.

Despite a slightly lower trade deficit on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis, the CAD widened primarily on account of a decline in net invisibles receipts. Net services receipts moderated on a y-o-y basis, primarily owing to the fall in earnings from software, financial services and charges for intellectual property rights.

Overseas, Asian stocks were trading on a mixed note as investors await a delayed vote on US health care reform, which is seen as a proxy for the success of US President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda. US stocks closed slightly lower yesterday, 23 March 2017 as a delay in a closely watched health-care vote raised questions about the President Donald Trump's administration's ability to win passage of its ambitious legislative agenda.

The vote to dismantle the Affordable Healthcare Act, which was previously set for Thursday, is now expected to occur Friday. Traders see the success or failure of the legislation as a bellwether for Trump's ability to deliver on tax reform and infrastructure spending plans.

Investors also grappled with mixed economic data. Filings for unemployment benefits rose to a seven-week high, while purchases of new homes increased in February to a seven-month high.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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