The News International Team
12:35pm Market Update: The market extended losses in afternoon trade with the Nifty breaching 8300 level, dragged by index heavyweights like Reliance Industries, HDFC and ITC. Telecom stocks too plunged with the Bharti Airtel falling 4 percent and Idea Cellular down over 6 percent on fears of debt burden post spectrum auction.
The Sensex shed 88.75 points to 27368.83 and the Nifty lost 35.60 points to 8306.55. The BSE Midcap dropped 1 percent as more than two shares declined for every share advancing on the exchange.
12:20pm Gold demand: Gold bullion purchases across Asia slowed this week as a long rally in prices discouraged buyers, with traders keeping a close watch on top consumer India ahead of a festival that usually sparks strong demand for the metal.
Before dipping on Friday, spot gold had rallied the seven days through Thursday in the longest winning stretch since 2012 on a softer dollar and caution from the Federal Reserve over US interest rate hikes.
The softness in demand comes ahead of April’s Akshaya Tritaya festival, when it is considered auspicious to buy gold.
Local prices in India were either on par or at a small premium of USD 1 an ounce to the global benchmark on Friday, lower than premiums of up to USD 2.50 in mid-March.
12:00pm Market Check:
The market gave up morning gains to trade flat on the first day of the April series. The Nifty continued to hover around the 8350 level supported by IT stocks. However, the BSE Midcap Index underperformed benchmarks, down half a percent.
The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 25.58 points to 27483.16 and the 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 2.20 points to 8339.95. Declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of 1433 to 955 on the BSE.
Telecom stocks continued to be in focus on account of the details emerging from the telecom auctions. Idea Cellular was the highest spender at Rs 30,306 crore. Apart from this, Bharti Airtel spent Rs 29,310 crore with Reliance Communications from the listed space shelling out Rs 4,299 crore. Macquarie says given the biggest overhang related to spectrum auction is behind, they have increased their target price for both Bharti and Idea Rs 460 and Rs 215, respectively.
Among frontliners, Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy’s Labs, BHEL, PNB, Bank of Baroda, Cairn India and Idea Cellular plunged 2-5 percent. ITC, HDFC, Axis Bank, Sun Pharma, M&M and Hero Motocorp were down 1-1.8 percent. However, Infosys, HDFC Bank, TCS, L&T, NTPC and Hindalco Industries rallied 1-3 percent.
JSPL jumped 5 percent. The Delhi High court raised an eyebrow over the government’s decision to cancel coal block bids from JSPL and BALCO yesterday calling the move unfair and asking the government what changed its stance on the possibility of carterlisation and also on why a re-auction has not been considered.
Oil ministry sources indicated that upstream subsidy burden is likely to be zero in the fourth quarter. Oil ministry is seeking a Rs 5,000 crore compensation from centre in Q4, but the finance ministry is yet to formally communicate its decision on the subsidy sharing mechanism. CNBC-TV18 also learnt that gas price is likely to be cut to USD 5.02 from earlier USD 5.61 per mmbtu from April 1.
Globally, Asian markets traded mixed on geopolitical concerns. Japan’s Nikkei hit a two-week low due to weak inflation data. In commodities, Brent crude slipped more than a percent to USD 58 a barrel as supply threat eased.