The Indian equity market shut shop with marginal gains on Thursday amid highly volatile trading session. Traders and investors exercised caution ahead of a long weekend. Markets are closed on Friday for Holi, followed by the regular weekend holidays.
Cement, infrastructure and metal stocks witnessed considerable amount of selling pressure as a result the market tanked heavily in intra-day trades. On the other hand, FMCG and Pharma shares saw unabated buying support. The index heavyweights, banking and IT shares had a mixed trading session.
Commenting on the current market situation, Amar Ambani, Head of research at IIFL, said, "The indices appear to be struggling at new peaks. Rating agencies too require a lot more to be done by the government before any upgrades happen. In fact, RBI cited that though the new GDP series portray a picture of a robust economy, the broad tangible growth indicators such as credit off-take, capacity utilization, consumption trends and imports traction point to a weaker recovery. Though immediate triggers for the market may be lacking the Jan IIP, Trade data and Feb inflation data next week will be in focus."
The Sensex opened 56 points higher at 29,437, and after gaining around 100-odd points from the previous close, the benchmark index pared gains and slipped into the negative zone. A heavy bout of selling in mid-noon deals saw the index tank to a low of 29,162 - down around 220 points from the previous close.
However, a sharp recovery in the late trade saw the BSE index rally to the day's high of 29,518 - up 356 points from the day's low. The Sensex finally ended with a gain of 68 points at 29,449. The HDFC twins were the biggest contributors, with 88 points.
The NSE Nifty swung in a range of 108 points, from a low of 8,849 the index zoomed to a high of 8,958, before settling with a gain of 15 points at 8,938.
The India VIX (Volatility) index was down another 5 per cent at 14.4375.
The broader market out-performed the key benchmark indices. The CNX Midcap index gained 0.8 per cent at 13,350, and the Smallcap index soared over a per cent to 5,833.
The breadth was marginally negative at close. Out of 1,692 stocks traded on the NSE, 764 declined and 713 advanced today.
Meanwhile, the government today reported 7 per cent higher direct tax revenue for the period April-February 2015, at Rs. 5.07 lakh crore when compared with Rs. 4.74 lakh crore in April-February 2014. Corporate Tax collection was up 10 per cent at Rs. 3.80 lakh crore versus Rs. 3.45 lakh crore in the same period.
Pharma and FMCG shares were the major gainers in trade today. The CNX Pharma index surged 2.5 per cent to 12,633, while the FMCG index added 1.3 per cent to 21,006. The Bank Nifty was up 0.5 per cent at 19,748. The Metal index, however, slumped 1.8 per cent to 2,475.
Sun Pharma was the top gainer in the Nifty-50 space, up 3.5 per cent at Rs. 1,041 - a new life-time high. Lupin too surged over 2.5 per cent to Rs. 1,835. Cipla advanced 1.8 per cent to Rs. 740, and Dr.Reddy's added 1.4 per cent to Rs. 3,437.
Among other pharma shares, Glenmark Pharma soared nearly 5.5 per cent to Rs. 842. GSK Pharma rallied 4.2 per cent to Rs. 3,273. Aurobindo Pharma, Piramal Enterprises and Divi's Labs gained around 2 per cent each.
FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever was the other major gainer in the Nifty-50, the stock jumped 2.5 per cent to Rs. 939. ITC added 0.8 per cent to Rs. 347.
Rasoya Proteins zoomed 9 per cent to Rs. 0.60. Marico and Colgate Palmolive jumped over 4 per cent each to Rs. 402 and Rs. 2,065, respectively.
Britannia moved 3 per cent higher to Rs. 2,217. United Breweries added 2.5 per cent to Rs. 1,026, and McLeod Russel was up 1.3 per cent at Rs. 243.
Among other Nifty stocks, Bank of Baroda and HDFC Bank rallied over 2 per cent each to Rs. 184 and Rs. 1,087, respectively. HDFC advanced 1.9 per cent to Rs. 1,393.
HCL Technologies spurted over a per cent to Rs. 2,060 after company entered into a joint venture agreement with Tele 2, one of the leading European telecommunications operator today.
Mahindra & Mahindra, Wipro and BPCL were the other prominent gainers.
On the other hand, metal stocks were the major losers on the back of the world's largest consumer of metals, China lowering its 2015 GDP target to 7 per cent from 7.5 per cent.
NMDC, which, announced a price cut recently slumped another 4 per cent to Rs. 127. Hindalco plunged 3.7 per cent to Rs. 148.
Coal India, SAIL, Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, GMDC, Jindal Saw and Jindal Steel dropped 1-2 per cent each, in the metal space.
UltraTech Cement was the major Nifty loser, down 4 per cent at Rs. 3,176. Grasim shed 2.5 per cent at Rs. 3,784. ACC slipped 1.8 per cent to Rs. 1,694, and Ambuja Cements declined 0.5 per cent to Rs. 273.
Cairn India tumbled over 2 per cent to Rs. 364 after the company announced cut in capital expenditure (capex) from the projected $ 1.2 billion to $ 500 million for FY16.
TCS too dropped 2 per cent to Rs. 2,690. Gail India, Infosys, Bharti Airtel and Punjab National Bank were the other major losers.
In the broader market, Reliance Infrastructure today advanced 3.2 per cent to Rs. 490 after the company acquired nearly 18 per cent stake in Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering for Rs. 819 crore. The company has also announced an open offer to buy additional 26 per cent equity at Rs. 66 per share. On the other hand, Pipavav Defence was locked at the 10 per cent lower circuit at Rs. 68.85.
Adani Power jumped 5 per cent to Rs. 59.35 on reports that the firm won the Jitpur coal mine in Jharkhand for a closing bid of Rs. 302 per tonne. Similarly, Usha Martin gained 0.5 per cent at Rs. 28.65 after reportedly winning the e-auction of Brinda and Sasai coal block.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts spurted over 2 per cent to Rs. 275 after the company opened its new resort in Madhya Pradesh for an investment of Rs. 35 crore. Reports further stated, that the company plans to invest Rs. 500 crore in next two years to build nine additional resorts across the country.
United Spirits zoomed to a fresh all-time high at Rs. 4,080 on the back of positive momentum at the counter following a favourable High Court verdict, with regards the Scheme of Arrangement to sell its Chennai-based distillery unit to Enrica Enterprises. The stock eventually ended flat Rs. 3,859.
Aban Offshore surged 4.3 per cent to Rs 501 after it said that the company's subsidiary arm successfully redeemed $ 216 million of outstanding bonds.
Titagarh Wagons rallied 4 per cent to Rs. 735 after the company's board approved raising up to Rs. 250 crore through issuance of the equity shares.
KEC International was up a per cent at Rs. 88.65 on bagging orders worth Rs. 1,243 crore in its Transmission & Distribution, Railways and Cables business.
Zee Media Corporation ended with a gain of 0.3 per cent at Rs. 17.35 after the company's board approved the proposed rights issue of equity shares and fixed March 17, 2015, as the Record Date for the same.
SML Isuzu was locked at the 20 per cent upper circuit at Rs. 1,204 after the company reported more than two-fold jump in sales for February, 2015 on year-on-year basis.
Alok Industries zoomed 14.5 per cent to Rs. 9.91 on the back of multiple block deals of around 1.6 crore shares on the BSE and the NSE in the price range of Rs. 8.80-8.85.
Around 56 stocks registered a fresh 52-week high today. Prominent among these were - Ambika Cotton, Apollo Hospitals, Bajaj Finserve, BEML, Britannia, Colgate Palmolive, eClerx, Emami, Eveready Industries, Glenmark Pharma, Godrej Consumer Products, Gujarat Pipavav, HCL Technologies, Indoco Remedies, Lupin, Logix Microsystems, Madhucon Projects, Marico, Mastek, Maxwell Industries, United Spirits, Page Industries, Pidilite Industries, Raj Rayon, Ranbaxy, Sadbhav Engineering, Shasun Pharma, Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company, Strides Arcolab, Sun Pharma, Techno Electric & Engineering Company, Thomas Cook, WABCO India and Wockhardt.
A total of 22 stock recorded a new 52-week low today. Adhunik Metaliks, Amtek Auto, Oswal Chemicals, Educomp Solutions, Ess Dee Aluminium, Everonn Education, The Oudh Sugar Mills, Phoenix Mills, PSL, Shree Ganesh Jewellery House, Tara Jewels and Uttam Value Steels were some of the prominent stocks.