Sensex ends 66 points lower amid choppy trades

Markets ended lower, amid a choppy trading session as institutional investors booked profits on caution ahead of the two-day US Federal Reserve policy meet which begins tomorrow while further contraction in February WPI data weighed on investor sentiment.

The 30-share Sensex provisionally ended down 66 points at 28,438 and the Nifty ended down 15 points at 8,633.

(Updated at 2:30PM)

Markets trimmed losses and were trading  flat as gains in IT shares helped offset most of the losses in index heavyweights after Feburary WPI data further contracted to -2.06% in February, amid falling crude oil prices. Further, investors remained cautious ahead of the two-day US Federal Reserve meet which begins on Tuesday.

At 2:30PM, the Sensex is up 11 points at 28,514 and the Nifty is up 3 points at 8,651.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 66.98 crore on Friday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 71.55 crore on Friday, as per provisional data.

The Indian rupee gained 16 paise to 62.79 against the US dollar on Monday at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market on fresh selling of the US dollar by exporters.

Oil prices fell on Monday, with U.S. crude dropping nearly 3 percent to a six-year low as the dollar hit fresh highs and spare oil storage capacity runs low around the world.

The BSE IT index was the top sectoral gainer up 1.5% followed by Realty and Consumer Durables. Metal, Capital Goods, FMCG, Power, Oil and Gas indices were among the top losers.

Metal shares were among the top losers as growth in China’s fiscal revenue cooled to its slowest in at least a year between January and February as China’s foundering economy dampened tax collection and other key sources of government income. Sesa Sterlite, and Hindalco are down 4-4.5% each.

State Bank of India was trading flat. The bank’s Executive Committee of Central Board on Friday approved issue of 10,04,77,012 equity shares at Rs 295.49 per share, ranking pari-passu with the existing equity shares of the bank in all respects, on preferential basis to the Government of India, for a consideration of Rs. 2970 crore.

Oil and gas shares remained under pressure tracking fall in global crude oil prices. Reliance Industries and ONGC were down 0.7-0.9% each.

IT stocks are trading firm with TCS, Wipro and Infosys gaining 0.4-3% each. Infosys was up 2% on reports that the company plans to focus on the products business and is in the process of including core banking software Financle in its products and platform business EdgeVerve. Wipro Infotech is planning to launch business process outsourcing (BPO) services in India with a focus on transaction processing.

Auto stock were trading with marginal gains. Bajaj Auto gained on hope that it will re-introduce its popular scooter brand Bajaj Chetak in the market. The stock is up 1.1%.
Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp were up 0.2% each.

Oil and Gas majors Reliance Industries and ONGC are trading lower up to 0.65 on slide in crude oil prices.

In the broader market, the BSE Mid-cap and Small-cap indices were down 0.3-0.8% each.

Market breadth was weak with 1,849 losers and 943 gainers on the BSE.

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