Markets

INC-JD(S) alliance to pip BJP drags Sensex into the red after 400-pt rally

NEW DELHI: In a highly volatile session on Tuesday, Indian benchmarks erased early gains of over 1 per cent to settle in the red zone, as likelihood of Congress-JD(S) alliance forming government in Karnataka hit investor sentiment in later half of the day.

In the first half of Tuesday's trade, Sensex soared as BJP's prospects to form a government in Karnataka looked bright. However, in the afternoon session, the poll trends indicated that the BJP was falling short of the majority mark, triggering profit-booking across sectors.

Besides, disappointing macroeconomic numbers and mixed global cues weighed on market.

Retail inflation inched up to 4.58 per cent and the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation rose to 3.18 per cent in April, mainly due to a spike in fuel prices, as per data released by the government on Monday.

“Benchmark indices ended a highly volatile session on a flat note. The Nifty index climbed over 1 per cent during the day on hopes of a BJP victory with majority in Karnataka elections. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party, it failed to attain majority, thus increasing the likelihood of a Congress-JD(S) alliance. This dampened the sentiments, as the index corrected sharply from the highs to end flat,” said Jayant Manglik, President, Religare Broking.

“The ongoing corporate earnings season and global developments are likely to dictate the market trend in the near term. With more results scheduled in the next 1-2 weeks, stock specific volatility is likely to remain high. Behaviour of crude oil prices and currency movement will be closely monitored by the market participants. Traders should strictly hedge their leveraged positions,” he added.

The BSE Sensex finished 13 points, or 0.04 per cent, down at 35,544, with 14 stocks advancing and 17 declining.

Nifty50 managed to hold the psychologically 10,800-mark. The index slipped 5 points or 0.04 per cent to settle at 10,802.

The BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices fell more than Sensex, closing 0.81 per cent and 0.65 per cent down, respectively.

The overall market breadth remained negative as 1,611 stocks remained down, compared with 1,028 ending higher.

Tata Motors, ITC, Reliance Industries, State Bank of India and ICICI Bank were among the top drags on Sensex.

On the other hand, HDFC Bank, Tata Consultancy Services, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Tata Steel gave support.

After hitting 52-week high of Rs 1,543.25, Hindustan Unilever closed 0.73 per cent up at Rs 1,516, backed by strong earnings for the quarter ended March. The company yesterday reported 14.2 per cent increase in its standalone net profit to Rs 1,351 crore for the fourth quarter.

Among the sectors, IT, metal and TECK went home with mild gains. On the other hand, realty, industrials, telecom and auto declined up to 1.90 per cent.

Global stocks were subdued on Tuesday, in the wake of uninspiring earnings, while dull macroeconomic indicators failed to cheer up investors.

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