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NSE Intra-day chart (14 March 2019)
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Market Commentary 15 March 2019
Markets to get positive start tracking firm cues from Asian peers


Indian equity benchmarks ended the volatile day of trade with slender gains on Thursday. Markets started the session on an optimistic note with the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) statement that it will inject long-term liquidity worth $5 billion into the system through foreign exchange swap arrangement with banks for three years, in order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system. Some support also came with report that the private companies in manufacturing sector posted a 24.9% growth in net profit in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal on annual basis, benefitting from lower tax provisions. Traders also took some comfort with report that the RBI has relaxed norms for imports of capital and non-capital goods by raising the trade credit limit to $150 million under the automatic route. Providing some support to the markets, ICRA in its report stated that Small finance banks (SFBS) are likely to grow at 25-30 percent over the medium-term and if they can arrange additional external capital of Rs 4,000-6,000 crore till FY23. However, markets lost momentum and parted all of their initial gains to end almost flat with Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) report that private corporate investment plans have fallen for the seventh year in a row on account of economic slowdown, poor project appraisals and huge corporate leveraging. Sentiments also remain dampened with report that India's annual wholesale price inflation (WPI) in the month of February surged to 2.93 percent, on account of rise in the prices of food and fuel products, after falling to a 10-month low of 2.76 percent in January. Traders also took a note of the chairman of RBI Committee on Digital Payments, Nandan Nilekani's statements that India is still very far away from being a less-cash economy and security issues around digital payments system needed to be addressed to make the mode more acceptable. Finally, the BSE Sensex rose 2.72 points or 0.01% to 37,754.89, while the CNX Nifty was up by 1.55 points or 0.01% to 11,343.25.


The US markets ended mostly lower on Thursday on renewed concerns about a potential trade deal between the US and China. A meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be delayed until at least April indicating that a bilateral trade deal will not be finalized this month. The report comes after Trump said on Wednesday that he was in no rush to strike a trade agreement and there remained the possibility that he could walk away, even as he expressed optimism about progress in talks. Besides, uncertainty about Brexit also kept traders on the sidelines, with members of parliament voting in favor of delaying Brexit after they rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a deal. On the economic front, after reporting a notable rebound in new home sales over the two previous months, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial pullback in US new home sales in the month of January. The Commerce Department said new home sales plunged by 6.9% to an annual rate of 607,000 in January from a revised rate of 652,000 in December. Meanwhile, first-time claims for US unemployment benefits increased by more than expected in the week ended March 9, according to a report released by the Labor Department. The report said initial jobless claims rose to 229,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 223,000. Besides, a report released by the Labor Department showed US import and export prices both rose by more than anticipated in the month of February. The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6% in February after inching up by a revised 0.1% in January. Nasdaq dropped 12.49 points or 0.16 percent to 7630.91 and S&P 500 was down by 2.44 points or 0.09 percent to 2808.48, while Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 7.05 points or 0.03 percent to 25709.94.


Crude oil futures ended higher for fourth straight day on Thursday after recent data revealed a weekly decline in domestic supplies. However, Brent crude ended lower in the wake of a reported delay in the US-China trade discussions and a slowdown in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) output cuts. A meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be delayed until at least April. Meanwhile, OPEC, in a monthly report said that output by its members fell in February, though at a significantly reduced rate than the month prior and well-below the group's pledge to the market. Benchmark crude oil futures for April gained 35 cents or 0.6 percent to settle at $58.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. However, May Brent crude lost 32 cents or 0.5 percent to settle at $67.23 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Consolidating its strong recovery, Indian rupee ended higher against dollar on Thursday, on persistent selling of the American currency by banks and exporters. Investors sentiment was supported with report that the RBI has relaxed norms for imports of capital and non-capital goods by raising the trade credit limit to $150 million under the automatic route. Traders overlooked data showing that Inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 2.93 percent in February over the previous month due to hardening of prices of primary articles, fuel and power. On the global front, dollar gained on Thursday as the pound fell after a tense vote on Brexit that failed to deliver much clarity on where Britain's relationship with the European Union was headed. Finally, the rupee ended at 69.34, 20 paise stronger from its previous close of 69.54 on Wednesday.


The FIIs as per Thursday's data were net buyers in equity segment, while they were net sellers in debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 8364.38 crore against gross selling of Rs 6151.38 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 813.07 crore with gross sales of Rs 2505.65 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 2.90 crore against gross selling of Rs 3.27 crore.


The US markets ended mostly lower on Thursday as investors continued to weigh global trade tensions and concerns about slowing economic growth. Asian markets are trading in green on Friday as investors digested new developments on the US-China trade front and reacted to a vote from lawmakers that could potentially delay the U.K.'s exit from the European Union. Indian markets ended Thursday's choppy trading session almost flat amid mixed global peers and spurt in crude oil prices. Today, the markets are likely to make a positive start following firm trade in Asian peers tracking improved global sentiment after UK lawmakers voted to delay Brexit. Traders will be taking encouragement with a private report that the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) $5 billion plan to swap rupees for dollars with domestic banks will help achieve its twin objectives of pushing interest rates down while also preventing a sharp appreciation in the rupee. Traders may take note of the RBI's statement that financial sector regulators discussed ways to address challenges pertaining to the quality of credit ratings and other issues concerning the economy. It added that the sub-committee reviewed the major developments on the global and domestic fronts that impinge on the financial stability of the country. Meanwhile, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar has underlined the need to mobilise funds from all sources especially corporates to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Kumar further said the focus should be on conscious capitalism wherein corporates go beyond chasing bottomline and focus on ensuring maximum social return. Besides, investors will be eyeing Balance of Trade data to be released later in the day. There will be some buzz in the banking sector stocks with ICRA's report that after four years of consecutive losses, the state run banks are likely to report a profit of Rs 23,000-37,000 crore in the next financial year, with their gross non performing loans declining to 8.1-8.4 percent by March 2020. There will be some reaction in insurance industry stocks with IRDAI data showing that India's life insurance industry witnessed a rise of 32.7 per cent in its collective new premium income at Rs 18,209.50 crore during February 2019. There will be some buzz in the power sector stocks with report that fresh capacity addition in thermal power has fallen woefully short of the targets. Only 2129.75 Mw capacity has been added during April-January of this fiscal, denoting only 44 per cent of the actual capacity of 4850 envisaged for the period.


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