Benchmark equity indices - Sensex and Nifty - struggled to hold gains and ended a tad lower on Wednesday as focus shifted back to the rising coronavirus infections. Reversing the trend after five straight sessions of gains, Sensex closed 58 points lower at 37,871 and Nifty ended 29 points down at 11,132. On Tuesday, Sensex ended 511 points higher at 37,930 and Nifty closed 140 points up at 11,162.
Sectorally, gains in banking, media and pharma indices were capped by losses incurred in PSU Bank, realty, auto and IT sectors that fell over 1% each, followed by marginal declines in FMCG, financials and metal stocks. Bajaj Finance, followed by HUL, Maruti, IndusInd Bank, SBI, Tech Mahindra, L&T, Infosys and HDFC duo were among the top losers today, while Axis Bank, Sun Pharma, NTPC and ITC were among the gainers.
Concerns over the economic impact of rising coronavirus infections in many countries, especially in the two largest economies - US and China have driven investment inflows into safe-haven assets from equities. This also led to Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) Gold futures hitting a lifetime high of Rs 50,060 per 10 gm today, tracking heightened buying sentiment from global markets.
Meanwhile, Bajaj Holdings, Larsen & Toubro, MTNL, Network 18, Rallis India are among the top companies that will be reporting their April-June quarterly earnings today. Jindal Steel & Power, and Bajaj Auto ended later in red after announcing Q1 results, while Alembic Pharma closed in green territory post its Q1 FY21 earnings during today's session.
On the currency front, Indian rupee ended almost unchanged at 74.76 per dollar on Tuesday, as against the earlier close of 75.75 per dollar.
Overseas, European shares erased the economic stimulus-backed rally and reversed the trend to red, triggered by a fall in Asian indices. The spread of the coronavirus in the US and other hotspots heightened concerns that economic recovery is far from assured in the near term. The United States also reported more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday leading to Nasdaq's closing in the red.
What experts say
Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said, "The spike in US-China tensions hit the global markets while a surge in virus infections globally also impacted sentiment."
In India, the focus of investors is back on surging domestic coronavirus cases that neared 1.2 million in the nation. Worldwide, there are 15,097,649 confirmed cases and 619,558 deaths from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.
On today's market movement, Ajit Mishra, VP - Research, Religare Broking said," Markets ended marginally lower in a range-bound session, taking a breather after the recent up move. After the initial uptick, the benchmark oscillated in a range however movement on the stock-specific front kept the traders busy. Nifty has almost tested the 11,250 today so some consolidation cannot be ruled out."
"Nifty is trading near the crucial hurdle and hence it is wise for traders to book profits and take some money off the table. The near term supports for the index are placed around 11040 and 10960 whereas resistance is seen in the range of 11200-11250," said Ruchit Jain, Senior Analyst, Technical and Derivatives, Angel Broking.