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Key benchmark indices were hovering near the flat line in mid-afternoon trade. At 14:25 IST, the barometer index, the S&P Sensex, was down 2.11 points or 0.01% at 29,316.99. The 50 index was down 8.20 points or 0.09% at 9,096.95. Stocks gyrated in a small range so far during the trading session in a listless session of trade amid divergent trend in various index constituents.

Domestic stocks struggled for direction so far during the session amid largely lower global cues. Key indices alternately hovered between the negative and positive terrain with the movement restricting within a tight range around the flat line so far. Key benchmark indices were trading with small losses in afternoon trade after European stocks started day's trade with a negative bias.

The Mid-Cap index was up 0.41%. The Small-Cap index was up 0.47%. Both these indices outperformed the

The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was positive. On the BSE, 1,419 shares rose and 1,321 shares fell. A total of 176 shares were unchanged.

Power generation stocks gained. CESC (up 4.18%), NTPC (up 1.82%), (up 1.56%), Reliance Infrastructure (up 0.46%), Company (up 1.68%), (up 0.12%), NHPC (up 0.32%), JSW Energy (up 1.64%) edged higher. Jaiprakash Power Ventures (down 0.21%) and Adani Power (down 0.3%) fell.

State-run coal-mining giant Coal India was up 1.34% at Rs 282.85. Coal India issued clarification to the stock exchanges with respect to news appeared in media on 17 April 2017 titled "177 mines of Coal India downgraded on quality concerns. The company said that coal is a heterogeneous mineral, susceptible to qualitative variation particularly in Indian context because of its origin and formation. As per earlier practice, annual declaration of grade proposed by coal companies on the basis of own sample collection and analysis at government accredited laboratories, which was being approved by Coal Controller in due course.

As per statutory provisions, subject of maintenance of grades requires monitoring which is vested with Coal Controller Organization (CCO). Annual declaration of grades is a routine exercise, being carried out by coal companies as per directives and methodology prescribed by CCO, Coal India said. During FY16-17, 52 mines/seams were regarded. Again, during reassessment another 22 mines were regarded, the company said.

During FY17-18, as per directives of government, Coal Controller announced new methodology for declaration of grade. Under revised methodology, sampling and analysis of different seams/loading points was carried out through academic institutions and based on their results, CCO finalized the grades, Coal India said.

Independent certification of coal grade through CCO and analysis through CIMFR will help Coal India to achieve consumers' confidence and satisfaction besides less slippages in future, the company said. Re-calibration of entire grading methodology is also going to help government in its mission to make cheap power available to common person, it added. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 18 April 2017.

Shares of state-run power transmission major of India gained 4.42% to Rs 211.30.

Shares of state-run power sector finance firms also moved higher. Rural Electrification Corporation was up 1.85% at Rs 198.60. was up 0.42% at Rs 155.85.

Jain Irrigation Systems rose 7.13% after the company said it acquired 80% stake in two US-based entities. The consideration for transaction will be paid in cash not exceeding $48.50 million and subject to net working capital adjustments at the time of closing. Transaction is expected to be closed in the next few weeks. The announcement was made during trading hours today, 19 April 2017.

Jain Irrigation Systems (JISL), through its US-based wholly owned subsidiary, agreed to acquire 80% stake in two US-based entities. Two of the United States' largest micro-irrigation dealers - Agri-Valley Irrigation, Inc. (AVI) and Irrigation Design and Construction, Inc. (IDC), have entered into an agreement to merge ownership of their businesses into a newly formed distribution company. The new organization is an un-paralleled leader in design, construction, service, and innovative Ag Technology. This entity will provide a unique platform to help growers implement state-of-the-art irrigation technology and achieve "More Crop Per Drop". AVI and IDC have been long tenured stable companies with operations in United States of America.

RPP Infra Projects was up 1.26% after the company said its consortium with Siemens won order in Bangladesh. The announcement was made during market hours today, 19 April 2017.

The consortium of Siemens and RPP Infra Projects won order from Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB). The joint bid was submitted by Siemens and RPP Infra Projects PGCB in respect of design, supply, erection, testing and commissioning of 230 KV and 132 KV substations on turnkey basis. Scope of the order for RPP Infra Projects will be in the civil work with the share worth about Rs 97 crore.

Meanwhile, India is pegged to be the fastest growing economy in the world in 2017-18 and will be a key driver for global growth, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday, 18 April 2017.

Retaining its growth forecast of 7.2% for India for the fiscal year 2018, the IMF, in its World Economic Outlook, also estimated that India would grow at 7.7% in 2018-19 and said that 8% growth in the medium-term is within reach. It pegged India's growth rate at 6.8% in FY 2017.

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its first stage forecast of southwest monsoon for 2017, yesterday, 18 April 2017, said that quantitatively, the monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96% of the long period average (LPA) with an error of 5%. Forecast assessment suggests 38% of probability for near normal monsoon rainfall, it added. IMD will issue the update forecasts in early June 2017, as a part of the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.

The June-September southwest monsoon is critical for the country's agriculture because a considerable part of the country's farmland is dependent on the rains for irrigation.

Overseas, European shares were trading higher as a rebound in basic resources stocks and some positive first-quarter results outweighed weakness in oil and gas stocks. Asian stocks edged lower after British Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise decision to hold early elections.

May called for an early general election in June, reversing her earlier stance, in hopes of securing a stronger parliamentary mandate for Britain's formal exit from the European Union. Meanwhile, Theresa May will today, 19 April 2017 ask the House of Commons to support her call for a June general election.

US stocks declined yesterday, 18 April 2017, as investors unloaded stocks following disappointing financial reports from Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday, 18 April 2017 titled Buy American, Hire American while on a trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he called on federal agencies to overhaul the H-1B visa program. The order addresses to take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse within the US immigration system in order to protect workers.

In US economic news, manufacturing output fell in March for the first time since last August, according to a batch of industrial-production data released yesterday, 18 April 2017. Also, a reading on housing starts, which measure the number of new-home construction projects that broke ground during a given month, was slightly weaker than expected in March.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 19 2017. 14:32 IST