Coming off its two-month high reached earlier in the session, the BSE Sensex on Tuesday settled lower by a marginal 58 points as investors got down to booking profits after three consecutive days of gains.
The fall in Asian equities only aided the downdraft. In a trade that remained choppy throughout the day mostly due to profit-booking in metal, oil and gas and pharma stocks, the benchmark index opened higher, but slipped thereafter as it ended the day at 27,306.83, down 58.09 points, or 0.21%.
The 50-share NSE Nifty ended down 13.40 points, or 0.16%, at 8,261.65 after shuttling between 8,294.05 and 8,229.20. “Markets opened for the day almost flat over Monday’s closing levels and remained volatile amid lack of volumes and mixed cues from India Inc. Markets remained sideways for most part of the trading session and corrected to some extent towards the end of the session due to profit booking in index majors,” said Achin Goel, head, Wealth Management & Financial Planning, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
In the previous three sessions, the markets rose on the back of continued foreign fund inflows and a mixed bag of earnings by blue-chips so far. As many as 23 out of the 30-pack Sensex ended in the red, and 7 with gains. Investors after remaining buyers in the past three sessions opted to book profit in heavy-weight stocks, brokers said.
The rupee too made things worse as it turned weaker at 65.05 against the dollar. A mixed closing at other Asian markets and a lower opening in Europe added to negative sentiment.
Shares of Hero MotoCorp, the largest motorcycle maker, fell 0.71% ahead of earnings due later in the day. Metal company stocks bore the brunt during the session, with Vedanta Ltd, Tata Steel and Hindalco falling up to 6.42%. Other losers which also contributed to the fall include ONGC, Cipla, M&M, RIL, Bajaj Auto and Sun Pharma. TCS, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Infosys and NTPC bucked the trend, thus cushioning the impact. Sector-wise, the BSE metal index suffered the most by losing 1.80%, followed by oil & gas and realty.
The silver lining was persistent buying from retail investors, which helped broader markets outperform the Sensex, with the mid-cap index rising 0.53% and small-cap 0.18%. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) lapped up shares, net buying Rs 898.23 crore on Monday, provisional data by stock exchanges showed.