Markets end lower for third straight day; Bhari Airtel gained 6%

Benchmark indices continue to trade on flat note with a positive bias and are fluctuating in a narrow range as the gains in HDFC, HUL and Bharti Airtel have helped offset the losses in metals, select auto and pharmaceutical shares.
At 2:03PM, the 30-share Sensex was up 22 points at 28,732 and the 50-share Nifty was up 8 poi:nts at 8,720.
In the broader market, both the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices down 0.2% each have performed worse than the front-liners. Market breadth in BSE is negative with 1,591 declines against 1,067 advances.    
On the macro-economic front, India’s current-account deficit held near the widest since the quarter through June 2013 as falling oil prices were insufficient to offset a drop in exports. The October-December shortfall in the broadest measure of trade was $ 8.2 billion compared with $ 10.2 billion the previous quarter, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement on Tuesday.
India’s trade deficit widened to $ 39.2 billion during the quarter from $ 38.6 billion in the September quarter as exports fell 7.3% while imports declined 4.5%. Gold shipments are seen surging after the government last month refrained from raising a record tariff.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday cleared the contentious land acquisition Bill, along with nine amendments proposed by the government.
Further, foreign institutional investors turned net sellers in equities worth Rs 748 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional stock exchange data.  
Buzzing Stocks
8 out of the 12 sectoral indices of BSE are trading lower. BSE Metal index, down around 1.6% is the top loser followed by BSE Realty and BSE Healthcare indices, down 1% and 0.7% each.
Metal shares are under pressure in today’s session with Hindalco, down over 5% emerging as the top loser.  Hindalco is one of the accused in the coal scam along with its managing director Debu Bhattacharya and Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla  and have been summoned to the court on April 8th. Tata Steel and Sesa Sterlite have declined around 1.5% and 2% each.
Select auto stocks are trading lower. Tata Motors is down 1.7% and Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto have declined around 0.5% each. Maruti Suzuki on Tuesday said it would be recalling 33,098 vehicles, including its popular models Alto 800 and Alto K10. According to the company’s statement to the stock exchanges, the recall is to inspect and replace the ‘right hand door latch assembly’
Among oil and gas shares, ONGC has shed around 1.4% while GAIL has gained over 1% and RIL is up 0.1%.  Global crude oil prices rebounded on Wednesday after data showed US crude stocks fell for the first time in two months.  

Select pharma shares are trading down on profit-booking. Cipla has declined over 2% and Sun Pharma has shed 1.4%.
On the gaining side, Bharti Airtel is among the top gainers and is trading higher by 2.6%, FMCG major HUL is up around 2% and HDFC has gained around 0.8%.
IT shares are trading mixed. Wipro has gained over 1%, Infosys is up 0.2% while TCS has declined around 1%.
Among capital goods stocks, L&T has declined around 1% and BHEL is trading flat. L&T Metallurgical and material handling business has secured orders worth Rs 1,242 coroe across various business segments during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014-15, according to company’s release to BSE.
Global Markets
Among Asian markets, Japanese share prices shook off a dismal performance on Wall Street the previous day to post gains on Wednesday. The Nikkei index closed around 0.3% higher. The Hang Seng index lost around 0.7% on China’s investment, retail sales and factory output all missing forecasts in January and February and falling to multi-year lows reinforcing expectations of more interest rate cuts and other policy loosening to avert a sharper slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. Shanghai Composite index gained around 0.1%.
European markets have opened higher halting the previous session’s sell-off ahead of earnings reports from some big corporates. FTSE 100 index has gained 0.4%, German DAX index is 0.7% higher and French CAC 40 has gained over 1%.