The market remains extremely sluggish amid lackluster trades this morning with investors not showing any keen interest in picking up stocks. After recent strong gains, Wall Street edged lower overnight and the mood on the Asian bourses is quite cautious with a slightly negative bias at present.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, moving in and out of negative territory since trade commenced this morning, is currently up 14.60 points or 0.1% at 17,446.45. The National Stock Exchange's Nifty index is up 6.50 points or 0.12% at 5276.40.
According to a survey, India's services sector grew at its fastest pace in six months during January as new business swelled, extending the previous couple of months' positive trend into the new calendar year. The HSBC Business Activity Index, compiled by Markit and based on a survey of around 400 firms, bounced to 58.0 in January from 54.2 in Decembe, the third month the index has been above the 50-mark separating growth from contraction.
Realty stocks, which opened on a weak note, have edged higher on renewed buying in the sector. Healthcare and power stocks are also trading firm. Select automobile, information technology, FMCG and consumer durables stocks are up in positive territory with smart gains.
Metal stocks are mostly trading lower. Bank, capital goods and oil stocks are also displaying some weakness. After a subdued start, midcap and smallcap stocks have moved higher on strong buying enquiries.
Mahindra & Mahindra, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Bharti Airtel and Coal India are up 2% - 2.3% now. Hindustan Unilever, BHEL, Cipla, DLF, NTPC and Bajaj Auto are trading higher by 1% - 1.5%. Infosys is up nearly a percent at Rs 2778. Tata Power, HDFC, Tata Consultancy Services, GAIL India and Hero Motocorp are up with modest gains.
Reliance Industries is down with a loss of about 0.8% at Rs 821.50. The company has secured a US$400 million equivalent loan from Italian export-credit agency SACE SpA, for expansion of its petrochemical capacity. SACE has guaranteed the loan granted to Reliance for the expansion and upgrading of the production capacity of its petrochemical plants, a gasification plant and refinery off-gas cracker as part of an investment plan in India worth over USD 11 billion," the company said in a statement.
JSW Ispat, up more than 6%, is the top gainer among BSE 'A' Group stocks. Marico, Jubilant Foodworks and Neyveli Lignite Corporation are up 5.5% - 6%. Engineers India, Jain Irrigation Systems, Cummins India, Apollo Hospitals, Biocon, Wockhardt, Bharat Forge, Oil India, CESC, IDFC, Mphasis and Tata Global Beverages have also moved up sharply.
Fortis is up nearly 4% at Rs 109.65 on strong buying. The company is reportely planning to hive off its non-core business and related assets into a separate company that is likely to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange as a business trust to raise about $300 million, or Rs 1,500 crore.