The new fiscal commenced on a cautious note on Friday with the market benchmark Sensex closing 72 points lower at 25,269.64 as depressed stocks in Asia and Europe forced investors to book profit while selling in heavyweights energy and IT stocks also added to the fall.
Both the indexes fell for the first time in five weeks as BSE Sensex dropped 67.92 points or 0.26% while NSE Nifty shed 3.45 points or 0.04%.
On Thursday, in its worst show in four fiscals, Sensex had ended 2015-16 with a yearly plunge of 9.36%, leaving investors poorer by nearly Rs 7 lakh crore as global headwinds and foreign fund outflows pounded domestic equities.
Moreover, in the first outflow of overseas funds from Indian capital markets in seven years, foreign investors took out an estimated Rs 18,000 crore during fiscal 2015-16.
On the day, massive plunge in Tokyo, resumption in fall of oil prices, investors waiting for US jobs data for more cues and caution ahead of domestic earnings season took a toll on the equities.
“S&P lowering of China’s credit outlook or Japan’s survey showing worsening business sentiment could be dismissed as country specific issues but with Q4 results impending, investors’ caution this week has not been surprising,” said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas.
Besides, market ignored expansion in eight core sectors to a 15-month high of 5.7% in February due to sharp pick-up in natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, cement and electricity generation.
The 30-share Sensex after a lower opening at 25,301.70 slipped further to 25,119.35 before closing at 25,269.64, 72.22 points or 0.28% down. The gauge had gained 441.40 points in last two sessions.
The 50-share NSE Nifty after cracking below 7,700-mark, touched a low of 7,666.10 on profit-booking but settled 25.35 points or 0.33% down at 7,713.05.
Shares of Maruti Suzuki, country’s largest carmaker, ended 0.11% higher at Rs 3,723.25 after the company posted 15.9% growth in total sales in March.
Among small and mid-cap stocks, Jaipraksh Associates zoomed 11.65% as debt-ridden Jaypee Group announced part sale of cement business to Kumarmangalam Birla-led UltraTech for Rs 15,900 crore.
Shares of infrastructure firm IVRCL remained under selling pressure for a second straight session and slumped 9.70% after a portion of a flyover being built by the company in Kolkata collapsed.
Overseas, Asia edged lower as investors began the new fiscal on a cautious note. Key indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan declined 0.79% to 3.55% while China rose to 0.19%.
Europe opened lower with the UK’s FTSE down 1.09%, Germany’s DAX 1.58% lower and France’s CAC 1.59% in the red.