Mumbai: The benchmark Sensex remained range-bound in choppy trade today, ending about 33 points down as investors preferred to stay light ahead of earnings season and macroeconomic numbers amid estimates of slowdown in the country’s GDP growth. Caution prevailed on sustained outflows by foreign funds ahead of earnings season amid a weak trend at the European markets in their late morning trade.
Moreover, a weaker rupee, which depreciated 27 paise to 68.23 against the dollar (intra-day), weighed on sentiments.
The country’s GDP growth is estimated to slow down to 7.1 per cent in the current fiscal, from 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, mainly due to slump in manufacturing, mining and construction sectors, the government data released on Friday showed, although it did not factor in ‘volatile’ post-demonetisation figures. Sensex started off on a strong footing and advanced to a high of 26,860.88 on persistent buying by domestic institutional investors. However, it succumbed to profit-booking at higher levels, falling to 26,701.18, before settling 32.68 points, or 0.12 per cent lower at 26,726.55.
The gauge had lost 119.01 points in the previous session. The broader NSE Nifty, after shuttling between 8,263 and 8,227.75 finally settled lower by 7.75 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 8,236.05. Trading sentiment, which remained somewhat better at the outset along with a firming trend at other Asian bourses and weekend gains in the US, turned weak as participants rushed to lock in gains at every rise, which wiped off the gains. Foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth Rs 255.21 crore on Friday, as per provisional data from stock exchanges. Major losers that dragged down the key indices were Dr Reddy’s, ONGC, M&M, Coal India, Asian Paints, Power Grid, Lupin, GAIL, Sun Pharma, L&T, Hero MotoCorp, Cipla, Bharti Airtel and Axis Bank, falling by up to 3 per cent.
However, ITC Ltd, TCS, Maruti Suzuki, Wipro, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, SBI, RIL, Bajaj Auto and HDFC Bank ended in positive zone and cushioned the fall. Globally, other Asian markets ended higher with Shanghai Composite Index rising 0.54 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.25 per cent. Japanese financial markets remained closed today for public holiday. In Europe, Paris CAC 40 was down 0.58 per cent, while Germany’s DAX shed 0.50 per cent in late morning trade.
However, London’s FTSE was up 0.27 per cent to hit a new record high. Among BSE sectoral indices, oil&gas suffered the most by falling 0.93 per cent, followed by healthcare (0.81 per cent), power (0.51 per cent), infrastructure (0.48 per cent), PSU (0.43 per cent) and metal (0.23 per cent). On the other hand, broader markets outperformed as investors widened their positions, with the small-cap index rising 0.45 per cent and mid-cap index rising 0.23 per cent.