Benchmark equity indices - Sensex and Nifty - closed in red on Wednesday on global sell-off, border tensions with China and concerns around coronavirus vaccine. Sensex tanked 171 points, tracking losses in index heavyweights HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Infosys amid weak global cues.
After dipping 430.09 points during the day, the 30-share BSE index recovered some lost ground and ended 171.43 points or 0.45 per cent lower at 38,193.92. The NSE Nifty ended 39.35 points or 0.35 per cent down at 11,278.
On Tuesday, Sensex ended 51.88 points or 0.14 per cent lower at 38,365.35; while the NSE Nifty slipped 37.70 points or 0.33 per cent to 11,317.35.
SBI was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding over 4 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finserv, Axis Bank, ONGC, ITC, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Bank and HDFC Bank. On the other hand, Tata Steel, Reliance Industries, IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharma and Asian Paints were among the gainers. Earlier today, Reliance Industries announced that the US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners picked up 1.75 per cent stake in the retail arm of the company for Rs 7,500 crore.
"After opening with losses and drifting lower, the benchmark indices recovered towards the latter half of trading but still ended the day with losses. With Asian markets all ending in losses, the slight recovery seen in the Indian markets mirrored the positive opening in the European markets. A sell-off in the US tech stocks and a setback to one of the vaccine trials kept markets on edge. Indian markets are expected to be in sync with the global markets and also react to the ongoing border tensions with China. There are currently no fresh triggers for the market and we can expect volatility," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
S Ranganathan, Head of Research, LKP Securities, said, "On a day when the bulls had nothing going for them, with GDP forecast, geopolitical issues and the underperformance of PSU stocks playing against them, we witnessed a spirited comeback in late afternoon trade. Select pivotals led by Reliance took the lead, ably supported by several stocks across sectors, despite the hiccups seen in several cash market stocks."
Domestic equities traded on a negative note tracking weak cues from global equities after late-stage studies of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate were put on temporary hold, traders said. The company said it is investigating whether a recipient's "potentially unexplained" illness is a side effect of the shot.
Tensions have also escalated between Indian and Chinese forces along LAC after reports that shots were fired for the first time in 45 years.
Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended with significant losses. Stock exchanges in Europe, however, were trading on a positive note in early deals. Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.33 per cent higher at $40.31 per barrel. In the forex market, the rupee appreciated 5 paise to close at 73.55 against the US dollar.
"Markets are mirroring the global counterparts and we do not notice this scenario changing any time soon. Nifty has the next major support around 11,100 levels. Since we are seeing a mixed trend on the sectoral front, we suggest preferring defensive viz. FMCG, pharma and IT for long trades during the corrective phase. On the flip side, we may see further deterioration in banking and select PSU stocks," said Ajit Mishra, VP, Research, Religare Broking.
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