Market benchmark Sensex tumbled to a three-week low of 24,685.42 after shedding 215 points on Thursday as investors pursed asset-light strategy on muted expectation of fourth quarter results amid bearish overseas cues on Federal Reserve highlighting the risks facing the global economy. Besides, the NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,600-mark.
“The market is losing traction despite the FOMC minutes reaffirming a cautious stance on future US rate hikes as foreign economies and their financial markets are fragile,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit BNP Paribas. Foreign investors turned neutral and started selling in small quantities led by muted expectations of fourth quarter results, he added.
Meanwhile, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the rupee does not face any “serious challenge” of depreciation and will find its own level after initial bouts of volatility.
Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki slipped 3.44% owing to Japanese Yen’s strength against the greenback, that is likely put pressure on the firm’s margins.
Power equipment maker BHEL rose by nearly 5% after the company commissioned an all-time high power generation capacity of over 15,000 MW and booked new orders worth Rs 43,727 crore in 2015-16, the largest in five years.
Broader markets too saw profit-booking, dragging the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices down by up to 0.45%. The Sensex resumed higher at 24,998.79 and hovered in a range 25,013.13 to 24,647.48 before ending at 24,685.42, showing a loss of 215.21 points or 0.86%, its weakest closing since March 17.
The NSE 50-share Nifty fell by 67.90 points or 0.89% to close at 7,546.45. Shares of Nagarjuna Oil Refinery surged 20% as state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is looking at buying equity stake in Nagarjuna Group’s Cuddalore refinery.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth Rs 493.56 crore on Thursday, as per provisional data.
In overseas markets, Asia witnessed a mixed trend. Key indices in China and Taiwan fell by 0.27% and 1.38% while those in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea firmed up between 0.08% and 0.29%.
European stocks were trading narrowly mixed with indices, like France falling by 0.07%, while Germany’s DAX and the UK’s FTSE were trading higher by 0.01% to 0.11%.
Back home, of the 30-share Sensex pack, 18 scrips ended lower while 12 gained.
Major lossers were Adani Ports (3.36%), Maruti (2.81%), HDFC (2.58%), L&T (2.24%), ITC (1.99%), Infosys (1.62%), Wipro (1.59%), Tata Steel (1.37%), HUL (1.26%), ICICI Bank (1.19%), SBI (1.01%), Bajaj Auto (0.92%) and Bharti Airtel (0.88%).
However, BHEL rose 4.65% followed by Coal India 1.94%, Lupin 1.41%, Dr Reddy’s 1.05%, ONGC 0.83%, RIL 0.63% and NTPC 0.40%.
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, consumer durables fell by 2.03%, IT (1.18%), capital goods (1.18%), auto (1.17%), FMCG (1.17%), teck (1.13%), finance (0.90%), industrials (0.86%) and telecom (0.79%) while energy rose by 0.57%, healthcare 0.57% and oil&gas 0.13%.
The market breadth turned negative as 1,454 shares ended lower, 1,116 closed higher while 117 ruled steady. The total turnover rose to Rs 2,956.03 crore from Rs 2,208.10 crore on Wednesday.