Sensex closes flat, metal stocks fall

Mumbai, March 11 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex), witnessed fluctuating movement in Wednesday’s trade and closed flat for the day — down 51 points or 0.18 percent.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed the day’s trade on a flat note — and in red. It was down 12.10 points or 0.14 percent at 8,699.95 points.

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 28,725.75 points, closed the day’s trade at 28,659.17 points, down 50.70 points or 0.18 percent from the previous day’s close at 28,709.87 points.

The Sensex had touched a high of 28,843.23 points and a low of 28,608.18 points in the intra-day trade.

Healthy buying was observed in technology, entertainment and media (TECK), realty and power sectors. However, metal, healthcare, capital goods, oil and gas and information technology (IT) stocks came under heavy selling pressure.

The S&P BSE TECK index was up 25.40 points, realty index gained 7.18 points and power index was marginally higher by 2.48 points.

However, the S&P BSE metal index was down 161.29 points, followed by healthcare index which was lower by 139.67 points, while capital goods index fell by 95.40 points, oil and gas index declined by 80.24 points and IT index decreased by 42.44 points.

On Tuesday, the Sensex closed 135 points or 0.47 percent down while on Monday it plunged 604 points or 2.05 percent. The Indian markets have reacted negatively to the sharp increase in the US non-farm payroll data for January.

The Indian markets were anxious as rapid increases in non-farm payroll data might lead to an increase in inflation. This can make the US Federal Reserve raise interest rates sooner than previously expected.

With higher interest rates, foreign institutional investors will be led away from emerging markets such as India.

According to analysts, the markets witnessed a volatile session tracking the global cues. The rupee’s fall against the US dollar also kept the markets under pressure.

“As we see, India has been impacted along with EMs with global concerns. This consolidation will be a healthy opportunity for the long-term. The US interest rate hike will bring an important change to the cost of liquidity. Hence, till this change, we will see currency volatility,” said Vinod Nair, head-fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.

“As far as the domestic factor is concerned, we will look at the performance of the budget session — in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Added to this, the expectation for fourth-quarter has been downgraded due to poor third-quarter results.”

Shrikant Chouhan, head-technical research, Kotak Securities said the market opened higher on Wednesday on the back of positive news flow on current account deficit which came in lower than expectations of the street.

“However, positive opening failed to hold initial gains due to weakness in Asian markets and weaker trend of Indian currency against the dollar,” said Chouhan.

The major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: Bharti Airtel, up 5.97 percent at Rs.389.85; NTPC, up 2.63 percent at Rs.154.05; Mahindra and Mahindra, up 2.48 percent at Rs.1,257.45; Gail, up 1.58 percent at Rs.389.80; and Hindustan Unilever, up 1.34 percent at Rs.969.45.

The losers were: Hindalco, down 5.51 percent at Rs.130.45; Sesa Sterlite, down 2.33 percent at Rs.193; Tata Steel, down 1.88 percent at Rs.325.85; Cipla, down 1.63 percent at Rs.717.80; and Tata Motors, down 1.62 percent at Rs.551.10.

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