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Market Commentary 31 March 2017
Markets to make a flat but positive start

The final day of March series F&O expiry turned out to be a good session for the Indian equity indices as they managed to settle with gains of over quarter a percent. Sentiments were buoyant after Lok Sabha passed 4 GST-related laws, marking another step towards the rollout of the single national tax on July 1. The unified tax regime is expected to boost economic growth by about 0.5 percentage points in its first year of implementation. While the model law is available, few fundamental aspects, such as the states where tax has to be paid by service providers having multiple offices, treatment of current excise incentives, offset of tax already paid on transition stock, etc, are still unclear. The four bills, passed by the lower house, would now be presented before the upper house of parliament. Further, inventors got some confidence with Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal's statement that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is a key economic reform that will facilitate the ease of doing business. The code provides for a market determined, time-bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and ease of exit, wherever required. Meanwhile, Aviation stocks gained traction after India's Minister of State for Aviation Jayant Sinha said the government will provide Rs 2.05 billion ($31.57 million) financial support to boost airline travel between smaller cities. Further, some auto stocks including Hero MotoCorp recovered from steep losses after the country's top court banned sale of new vehicles with older Euro III fuel technology from April 1. A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Wednesday said that health of millions of citizens was more important that commercial interests of manufacturers and directed the government not allow registration of polluting BS-III vehicles after March 31. Finally, the BSE Sensex surged 115.99 points or 0.39% to 29647.42, while the CNX Nifty was up by 29.95 points or 0.33% to 9,173.75.


The US markets closed higher on Thursday, as financial shares rallied following a positive reading of economic growth and the tech-heavy Nasdaq returned to finish at record highs after a month-long wait. On the economy front, the US grew slightly faster at a 2.1% pace in the fourth quarter and corporate profits rose again, offering further evidence that the economy entered 2017 on stronger footing than it did a year earlier. Gross domestic product, the official scorecard for the economy, was revised up from 1.9% annual rate of growth owing to higher spending on gasoline and travel-related services. Consumer spending in the fourth quarter was raised to a 3.5% from 3%, largely accounting for the revision to GDP. Originally the government had estimated the gain in spending at just 2.5%. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in late March dropped by 3,000 and stood at 258,000, keeping new claims near the lowest level in decades. New jobless claims have been under the key 300,000 threshold for 108 straight weeks, the second longest stretch since the early 1970s. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 69.17 points or 0.33 percent to 20,728.49, the Nasdaq was up 16.79 points or 0.28 percent to 5,914.34, while S&P 500 gained 6.93 points or 0.29 percent to 2,368.06.


Crude oil futures continued their surge on Thursday once again breaching the $50 a barrel mark, as Kuwait signaled support for the six-month extension of OPEC's supply quota plan. Supply interruption from Libya due to fighting around oil fields has also boosted prices of the commodity. Meanwhile, there are speculations that OPEC will extend its production-cut deal beyond June. OPEC had agreed in November last year to curb its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day between January and June. Benchmark crude oil futures for May delivery moved higher by $0.85 to $50.36 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for May delivery ended higher by $0.50 at $52.92 on the ICE.


Indian rupee ended marginally weaker against the US dollar on Thursday on account of buying of American currency by banks and importers. Besides, dollar's gains against other currencies overseas too put some pressure on the rupee, but gains in the local equity market capped the losses. On the global front, euro dipped against dollar on Thursday as easing inflation in Spain and Germany led investors to row back further on expectations of when the European Central Bank might tighten monetary policy. Final


The FIIs as per Thursday's data were net buyers in equity and debt segments both. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 9353.32 crore against gross selling of Rs 8673.26 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 3013.44 crore with gross sales of Rs 1980.54 crore.


The US markets closed in green with tech heavy Nasdaq setting record closing high in the last session, following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than previously estimated economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Asian markets have made a mixed start with some indices trading in red. The Japanese market was however trading higher by over half a percent after Japan's core consumer prices rose slightly for a second month in February, while the jobless rate dropped to the lowest level since 1994. The Indian markets snapped the March series on a strong note supported by short covering and some positive economic development on the domestic front. Today, the start of the new series is likely to be flat but in green on mostly positive global cues. Markets are likely to get some support with GST development, as with GST rollout looking imminent from July 1 after the Lok Sabha's approval, the Centre and states will sit together today to finalise rules and regulations of the new indirect tax regime. The GST Council has already approved five sets of rules relating to registration, payments, refund, invoice and returns. The aviation stocks will keep buzzing, as the UDAAN scheme has been rolled out and five airlines will operate on 128 routes connecting over 30 unserved airports under the regional connectivity scheme wherein fares are capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights. There will be some buzz in coal and mining stocks too, on report that the government plans to amend the rules for auctioning of coal mines through competitive bidding. However, there will be some concern in export oriented stocks, as exporters are apprehensive that their liquidity will get hit and costs would go up once the GST regime is in place in three months time.


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  • TCS has collaborated with SATS to develop a smart watch solution that is believed to be the world's first mobile solution for airport technical ramp operations.
  • Reliance Industries has completed the sale of its entire 76% stake in African fuel retailer Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp to Total SA of France for an undisclosed sum.
  • Aurobindo Pharma has received final approval from the USFDA to manufacture Abacavir Sulfate and Lamivudine tablets, 600 mg/300 mg.
  • BHEL has successfully commissioned yet another coal-based supercritical thermal unit of 800 MW in Karnataka.


News Analysis