Equity benchmarks capitulated in fag-end trade on Friday to post their sixth straight session of loss as investors fled for safety amid dismal macroeconomic data and persistent selling by foreign investors.
Building on a firm start, the 30-share BSE Sensex rallied over 800 points in afternoon trade but buckled under intense selling pressure to finish 136.69 points or 0.26 per cent lower at 52,793.62 — its lowest closing level since July 30, 2021.
On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty dipped 25.85 points or 0.16 per cent to settle at 15,782.15.
SBI was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, tumbling 3.76 per cent, after the country’s largest lender reported a 41 per cent surge in Q4 standalone net profit at Rs 9,114 crore but failed to meet analysts’ estimates.
ICICI Bank, NTPC, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Finserv, Axis Bank, Maruti and Tata Steel were among the other losers, shedding as much as 2.65 per cent.
In contrast, Sun Pharma, M&M, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Titan, Reliance and Nestle India were among the gainers, climbing up to 3.76 per cent.
On the macroeconomic front, India’s headline inflation soaring to an 8-year high of 7.79 per cent in April on rising food and fuel prices has raised the odds of another interest rate hike by the RBI early next month to tame prices.
However, with factory output growth remaining subdued at 1.9 per cent in March, analysts feel tighter monetary policy runs the risk of crimping economic growth.
“Volatility was once again the order of the day and key indices snapped early gains on late selling pressure in metals, telecom and banking stocks.
“The fall came despite an upsurge seen in other Asian gauges, as the fear of rising inflation and expectations of more rate hikes in the near term weighed on investors’ minds,” said Amol Athawale, Deputy Vice President – Technical Research, Kotak Securities Ltd .
On a weekly basis, the Sensex lost 2,041.96 points or 3.72 per cent, while the Nifty plunged 629.10 points or 3.83 per cent.
“This is the season of headwinds for markets. High inflation in the US and the hawkish Fed has pushed up bond yields, negatively impacting equity markets.
“FPIs continue their selling spree further impacting sentiments. To top it all, CPI inflation for April has come at a disturbingly high level of 7.79 per cent, leaving no option for RBI but to turn hawkish in the coming policy meets,” said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
The broader market managed to end in the green on Friday, with the BSE smallcap gauge jumping 1.28 per cent and midcap gaining 0.79 per cent.
Among BSE sectoral indices, metal fell 2.46 per cent, followed by utilities (2.36 per cent), telecom (2.28 per cent), power (2.20 per cent) and bank (1.29 per cent).
In contrast, auto jumped 2.47 per cent, industrials 1.73 per cent, FMCG 1.64 per cent, healthcare 1.47 per cent and consumer durables gained 1.42 per cent, among others.
World stocks were in better shape as bargain hunting emerged after the recent spell of weakness, even though runaway inflation and growth concerns remained on investors’ radar.
Markets in Asia settled higher, with Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai gaining significantly.
Bourses in Europe too were trading in the positive zone in the afternoon session. Stock exchanges in the US had ended on a mixed note on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the international oil benchmark Brent crude jumped 1.09 per cent to USD 108.6 per barrel.
The rupee pared its initial gains and settled almost flat at 77.49 (provisional) against US dollar on Friday.
Continuing their selling spree, foreign institutional investors offloaded shares worth a net Rs 5,255.75 crore on Thursday, according to stock exchange data. PTI SUM ABM ABM
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