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Indian equities sign off 2018 on tepid note; post 3rd straight annual gains

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: December 31, 2018  | 18:23 IST

Mumbai, Dec 31 (PTI) Indian equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty Monday ended the last trading session of 2018 on a sluggish note but clocked gains for the third straight year in a row amid positive cues from global markets and strengthening rupee. Both indices Sensex and Nifty snapped their three-session winning run and closed the final session of the calendar year with marginal losses. The 30-share BSE index fell 8.39 points, or 0.02 per cent, to finish at 36,068.33; while the broader NSE Nifty edged lower by 2.65 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 10,862.55. At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the Indian rupee, however, was trading 16 paise higher at 69.80 (intra-day) against the US dollar. On an annual basis, the Sensex rose 2,011 points, or 5.9 per cent, in 2018. The 30-share index had given a stellar 28 per cent return in 2017. In 2016, it had gained nearly 2 per cent. Similarly, the broader Nifty climbed 332 points, or 3.2 per cent, for the year 2018. The 50-share NSE index had rallied 28.65 per cent in 2017. In 2016, the rise was 3 per cent. On Monday, the biggest gainers in the Sensex pack were Sun Pharma, Bajaj Finance, Vedanta, Yes Bank, Tata Motors, HCL Tech, IndusInd Bank and Kotak Bank, HCL Tech, Infosys and Bajaj Auto. Among losers were ITC, L&T, HUL, TCS, ONGC, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries and HDFC. In 2018, investors' wealth eroded by Rs 7.25 lakh crore due to volatile broader market conditions. The market capitalisation (m-cap) of the BSE-listed companies slumped by Rs 7,25,401.31 crore to Rs 1,44,48,465.69 crore this year. Meanwhile, global shares and commodity prices rose Monday on hopes that US-China trade standoff would ease in the coming year. The year saw the Sensex zooming to a high of 38,989.65 on August 29 and plunging to a low of 32483.84 on March 23. The last day of the year opened with gains tracking positive global sentiment on account of progress in US-China trade deal while global growth uncertainty prompted investors to turn risk averse which was visible in profit booking. Meanwhile, the benchmark Brent crude was trading higher by 1.84 per cent at USD 54.19 per barrel. For the year 2019, movement in crude oil and currency, revival of corporate earnings, Union budget and general elections along with trade war and slowdown in global economy are the factors that will decide the trend of the market, analysts said. Hemang Jani, Head - Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas, said, "The mixed cues from the global markets, the lack of any fresh triggers, ensured that the session remained uneventful. In 2019, the immediate attention could be on the impending general elections, but the basic direction of the market would be, to a large extent, determined by the interest rate policy of the Fed and the RBI, the direction of the oil prices, as also the further developments in the context of the US-China tariff war, and the fears of a hard Brexit." PTI BAL MKJ MKJ

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