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Markets end flat ahead of Q3 results, IIP data

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ended flat as investors turned cautious ahead of the third quarter earnings which are expected to remain muted and November industrial production data. The markets traded in a narrow range for most part of the trading session.

The BSE benchmark index- ended at 16,176, higher by 11 points and the 50 share ended at 4,861, up 11 points. The Sensex traded in a narrow range of 117 points.

Hindalco was the top gainer among the Sensex stocks, up nearly 6% to end at Rs 130 after Novelis Inc, also part of the Aditya Birla Group, renewed its can-body sales agreement with Coca-Cola Bottlers' Sales & Services Company (CCBSS). Sterlite Industries also jumped 4.8% to Rs 100.

DLF, Tata Steel, Hero MotoCorp, Reliance Industries, Bajaj Auto, State Bank of India, Sun Pharma and Larsen & Toubro also ended the day on a positive note with gains of 0.8-3.4% each.

On the other hand, TCS was the top loser, down 2.5% to close at Rs 1,137. Jindal Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bharti Airtel, Cipla, Infosys, Tata Power and ITC were also among the laggards.

Renewed buying interest was visible in the mid-cap and small-cap pockets. Both the indices outperformed the benchmark indices. The BSE mid-cap index added 1% or 54 points to close at 5,505 and the small-cap index shut shop higher by 79 points at 6,075 levels.

Sunteck Realty was the top gainer from the mid-cap space, up 13.5% to Rs 292. HDIL jumped 13.2% to end at Rs 71. Wockhardt, KSK Energy, Indiabulls Power, Shree Global Tradefin, Indiabulls Real Estate and Jet Airways were also among the prominent gainers.

Real estate sector stocks were on the buzzer today on anticipation of a rate cut by the central bank and positive announcements by certain companies in the sector. The BSE Realty index was the top sectoral gainer, up nearly 5% or 69 points at 1,547 levels. Metal index also ended higher by 2.3% at 10,310levels. Banking, oil & gas, capital goods, consumer durables, power and healthcare stocks also witnessed some bit of buying.

Anant Raj Industries, Sobha Developers, Unitech, Oberoi Realty, Parsvnath Developers, Prestige Estates and Phoenix Mills were the top gainers among the realty stocks.

On the other hand, IT stocks were under pressure ahead of the Infosys results which are to be announced tomorrow. The BSE IT index ended lower by 1.4% at 5,832 points. Teck and FMCG indices also ended lower.

From the IT pack, HCL Tech, Wipro and Infosys were the laggards.

However, analysts at Angel Broking expect EBITDA margin of the entire tier-I IT pack to improve because of sharp INR depreciation against USD. Infosys is expected to record margin expansion of 159 basis points (bps) q-o-q to 32.6% despite the flowing in of the negative impact of promotions given during the quarter. “We prefer diversified players such as Infosys, TCS and HCL Tech in tier-I IT companies," they add.

In a recent report, analysts at Nomura suggest that Infosys will post on-par growth compared to peers such as TCS in the near-term (which have been more upbeat on commentary). This coupled with bigger potential gains from rupee depreciation and low expectations built into valuations makes them positive on the stock. They reaffirmed a Buy rating on the stock with a target price of Rs 3,300.

Among the individual stocks, Sangam India surged 7% to Rs 36 on receiving Rs 63 crore toll projects from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

NMDC moved higher by 2.2% at Rs 173 after the company signed a contract for By Product Plant (BPP) package for the upcoming 3-MTPA integrated steel plant at Nagarnar, with the consortium lead by Shriram EPC Ltd (SEPC).

Wockhardt soared 11% to Rs 337, extending its Tuesday 3% gain, after the company said it has received final approval from the US health regulator to market generic Fluticasone nasal spray used for treating allergic nasal inflammation in the American market.

The overall market breadth was extremely positive as 1,868 stocks advanced while 951 declined.

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