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Nifty fails to hold 7500, Sensex ends flat amid weak global cues


Moneycontrol Bureau

The market started off truncated week on a flat note. The Nifty failed to hold 7500-mark amid choppy trade and weak global cues. Index heavyweights Reliance Industries, ITC and HDFC supported equity benchmarks while banks, infra and select technology stocks saw selling pressure.

It was a consolidation day after more than 6 percent rally last week. The 30-share BSE Sensex rose 12.75 points to 24659.23 while the Nifty fell 0.05 points to 7485.30. The broader markets too ended flat.

Nilesh Shah of Kotak Mutual AMC says the Nifty is unlikely to revisit lows of 6800 unless catastrophic events take place. He advised clients to be marginally overweight on equities post Budget.

Global markets saw consolidation and profit taking after last week’s rally. European markets like CAC and DAX fell 1.6 percent each followed by FTSE with 1 percent loss while in Asia, Hang Seng and Nikkei declined more than 0.7 percent each. However, Shanghai bucked the trend, closing in green despite exports fell 25.4 percent in February, the biggest fall since 2009.

Oil prices edged lower today after Kuwait said it would only agree to an output freeze if all major producers take part and Goldman Sachs analysts poured cold water over the prospects for a sustained rally. Brent crude futures fell 0.6 percent to USD 40.6 a barrel.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says the government has withdrawn (Budget) proposal to tax Employee Provident Fund but retained tax proposal for NPS.

Commodities stocks saw buying interest today. In oil space, Reliance Industries was the leading contributor to Sensex’s gains, up 2 percent and GAIL gained 2.5 percent. Sugar stocks like Balrampur Chini, Dwarikesh Sugar & Dalmia Sugar hit 52-week high, rising 7-17 percent.

Metals stocks like Tata Steel, Vedanta and Hindalco rose 1-5 percent on surge in iron ore prices.

Lupin shares climbed 2 percent as Nomura upgraded the stock to buy from neutral, saying generic Fortamet and Glumetza (diabetes medicines) offer strong near-term earnings support to the company. The brokerage also increased target price to Rs 2,110 apiece from Rs 2,080 earlier, implying 19 percent potential upside.

Natco Pharma was up 1.7 percent as Kotak Securities has initiated buy on the stock with a target of Rs 563 (implying a 17 percent upside), citing strong hepatisis C portfolio and US revenue.

Maruti Suzuki lost 3 percent. The company launched compact SUV Vitara Brezza today, the first launch of 2016.

SBI was down 2.5 percent. Debt Recovery Tribunal has passed orders on SBI’s plea, saying Diageo cannot disburse money to Vijay Mallya till March 28 and Mallya can’t withdraw USD 75 million settlement received from Diageo till case disposed off.

Among others, ITC and HDFC gained more than 1.5 percent while ICICI Bank, HUL, Axis Bank, Cipla and Hero Motocorp fell 1-2.5 percent.

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