The News International Team
03:30 pm Market closing: After a volatile day, the Sensex ended up 68.22 points at 29448.95, and the Nifty was up 15.10 points at 8937.75. About 1417 shares have advanced, 1450 shares declined, and 190 shares are unchanged. Sun Pharma, HUL, HDFC twins and Cipla were top gainers in the Sensex. Hindalco, Coal India, GAIL, TCS and Sesa Sterlite are major laggards.
03:10 pm ECB’s growth plan: Keen to keep a low profile over the Greek crisis, the European Central Bank will focus on improved growth prospects when it meets on Thursday and unveil some but not all the details of its 1 trillion euros-plus bond buying plan.
Meeting in Cyprus, the ECB will keep rates on hold, likely lift growth forecasts to reflect a string of positive data surprises but cut inflation projections as it incorporates the full effect of a dramatic oil price fall, backing its case to buy 60 billion euros worth of bonds a month from March to spur inflation.
The bank has a long way to go to convince markets. Only half of the economists polled by Reuters think bond buying will help inflation rise towards the target of close to but below two percent and half think the purchases will be extended beyond September 2016.
02:50pm GMR rights issue: GMR Infrastructure today said its Rs 1,400 crore rights issue will open on March 24.
“The management committee of the board of directors of the company has approved and adopted the letter of offer (LOF) and issue schedule, for the issue of equity shares having face value of Re 1 each by the company on a rights basis to its existing shareholders,” GMR Infrastructure informed BSE. The closing date for the rights issue is April 8, 2015.
The issue seeks to mobilise over Rs 1,400 crore consisting of 93.45 crore fully paid up equity shares of face value of Re 1 each. The equity shares are being offered on a rights basis to the eligible equity shareholders in the ratio of 3 equity shares for every 14 equity shares held on the record date of March 12.
02:25pm Bupa on insurance biz: British private healthcare group Bupa is eager to expand quickly in India’s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented, the firm’s chief executive said on Thursday.
Bupa, which operates globally and gets 70 percent of its revenue from health insurance, said in January it planned to raise its stake to a new maximum of 49 percent in its joint venture with Max India, from the current maximum for a foreign investor in insurance of 26 percent.
Bupa was the first foreign company to announce plans to raise its holding in an insurance venture after the rule change was announced in late 2014. The bill was passed in India’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
“The health insurance market is still quite a nascent market, there is tonnes of headroom for growth,” Stuart Fletcher told Reuters by telephone.
“We are doing all the preparatory work to be able to move quickly as soon as the ordinance is turned into statute.”
02:00pm Market Check
The market gets hit by another bout of volatility today. The 30-share BSE Sensex fell more than 200 points before showing a marginal recovery while the midcap and smallcap traded mildly in the green.
The Sensex declined 41.91 points to 29338.82 and the Nifty slipped 22.50 points to 8900.15. The market breadth is weak as about 1203 shares have advanced and 1487 shares declined on the BSE.
Aditya Narain of Citi expects the market to move higher from here. FIIs are overweight on India by 400-600 basis points, he says, adding a December 2015 Sensex target is 33000.
Globally, China and Hong Kong markets took a beating after China lowered growth target to 7 percent for 2015. This will be the lowest growth target in 11 years, down from the 7.5 percent last year. European markets are flat today.
In an ongoing spectrum auction, the government is assured of mopping up more than Rs 60,000 crore from the bids in the first day itself. The 900 mhz spectrum saw intense bidding with all spectrum assured of getting sold at prices on an average 30 percent higher than reserve price.
Pipavav Defence tanked 10 percent while Reliance Infrastructure gained nearly 3 percent. Both the stocks are in the news after Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Systems along with Reliance Infra announced acquiring Pipavav Defense in an all cash deal last evening. Reliance Infra will first invest Rs 819 crore for 17.66 percent stake at Rs 63 per share and subsequently launch an open offer for an additional 26 percent stake at Rs 66 a share.
In the midcap space, eClerx Services, AstraZeneca, Sun Pharma Advanced, Info Edge and Strides Arcolab rallied 7-14 percent while Fortis Healthcare, Parsvnath, Chambal Fertilisers and Sobha fell 3-4 percent.