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Equity markets stem slide ahead of Fed's interest rate decision; bank, auto stocks spurt

PTI     July 31, 2019

Benchmark indices shook off their recent spell of weakness to close modestly higher on Wednesday, propelled by banking and auto stocks, ahead of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision.

After a choppy session, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 83.88 points or 0.22 per cent higher at 37,481.12. The broader NSE Nifty ended 32.60 points or 0.29 per cent up at 11,118.00.

Market sentiment improved somewhat on expectations that the US Fed will reduce rates in its policy meeting for the first time in a decade, traders said.

Yes Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, soaring 6.04 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel, Hero MotoCorp, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, Power Grid, Tata Motors, SBI and Kotak Bank that gained up to 5.32 per cent.

On the other hand, Axis Bank emerged as the biggest loser, dropping 4.55 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, Reliance, NTPC, Maruti, Tech Mahindra, ONGC, HDFC and HDFC Bank.

"Market reversed after testing the psychological level of 11,000 mark supported by short covering in banks and auto after recent days of fall and prospects of dovish Fed policy.

"Investors' appetite for mid and small caps is yet to find confidence despite consolidation as lackluster earnings and high beta impacted the sentiment. A decisive up move will depend upon ease in liquidity crunch and improvement in fundamentals," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.

Sectorally, BSE metal surged the most at 2.43 per cent, followed by auto (1.26 per cent), oil and gas (1.06 per cent), basic materials (1.40 per cent), healthcare (0.95 per cent), industrials (0.86 per cent), capital goods (0.74 per cent), power (0.63 per cent), information technology (0.60 per cent), utilities (0.67 per cent), FMCG (0.50 per cent), bankex (0.33) and finance (0.28 per cent).

However, telecom, consumer durables, energy and realty lost up to 1.63 per cent.

Foreign investors sold equities worth Rs 644.59 crore on a net basis on Tuesday, as per provisional data with stock exchanges.

On the currency front, the rupee was trading almost flat at 68.84 against the US dollar.

Globally, markets awaited the outcome of the Fed's policy meeting, and also tracked the US-China trade talks.

The US and Chinese officials held their first meeting on Wednesday since they agreed on a trade truce last month. However, hopes for any resolution was dampened as US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to accuse China of going back on commitments.

"My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit," Trump tweeted.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai Composite Index, Hang Seng, Kospi and Nikkei ended in the red.

Equities in Europe were also trading lower in their respective early sessions.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.82 per cent to USD 65.25 per barrel.

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