The new fiscal commenced on a cautious note today with the market benchmark Sensex closing 72 points lower at 25,269.64 as depressed stocks in Asia and Europe forced investors to book profit while selling in heavyweights energy and IT stocks also added to the fall.
Both the indexes fell for the first time in five weeks as BSE Sensex dropped 67.92 points or 0.26 per cent while NSE Nifty shed 3.45 points or 0.04 per cent.
Yesterday, in its worst show in four fiscals, Sensex had ended 2015-16 with a yearly plunge of 9.36 per cent, leaving investors poorer by nearly Rs 7 lakh crore as global headwinds and foreign fund outflows pounded domestic equities.
Moreover, in the first outflow of overseas funds from Indian capital markets in seven years, foreign investors took out an estimated Rs 18,000 crore during fiscal 2015-16.
On the day, massive plunge in Tokyo, resumption in fall of oil prices, investors waiting for US jobs data for more cues and caution ahead of domestic earnings season took a toll on the equities.
“S&P lowering of China’s credit outlook or Japan’s survey showing worsening business sentiment could be dismissed as country specific issues but with Q4 results impending, investors’ caution this week has not been surprising,” said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas.
Besides, market ignored expansion in eight core sectors to a 15-month high of 5.7 per cent in February due to sharp pick-up in natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, cement and electricity generation.
The 30-share Sensex after a lower opening at 25,301.70 slipped further to 25,119.35 before closing at 25,269.64, 72.22 points or 0.28 per cent down. The gauge had gained 441.40 points in last two sessions.
The 50-share NSE Nifty after cracking below 7,700-mark, touched a low of 7,666.10 on profit-booking but settled 25.35 points or 0.33 per cent down at 7,713.05.
Shares of Maruti Suzuki, country’s largest carmaker, ended 0.11 per cent higher at Rs 3,723.25 after the company posted 15.9 per cent growth in total sales in March.
Among small and mid-cap stocks, Jaipraksh Associates zoomed 11.65 per cent as debt-ridden Jaypee Group announced part sale of cement business to Kumarmangalam Birla-led UltraTech for Rs 15,900 crore.
Shares of infrastructure firm IVRCL remained under selling pressure for a second straight session and slumped 9.70 per cent after a portion of a flyover being built by the company in Kolkata collapsed.
Overseas, Asia edged lower as investors began the new fiscal on a cautious note. Key indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan declined 0.79 per cent to 3.55 per cent while China rose to 0.19 per cent.
Europe opened lower with the UK’s FTSE down 1.09 per cent, Germany’s DAX 1.58 per cent lower and France’s CAC 1.59 per cent in the red.
Major laggards were Bharti Airtel (4.46 pc), ONGC (2.79 pc), GAIL (2.44 pc), TCS (2.41 pc), Adani Ports (2.00 pc), Dr Reddy’s (1.81 pc), Tata Motors (1.75 pc), Coal India (1.44 pc), M&M (1.25 pc), RIL (1.11 pc), Lupin (1.00 pc), Infosys (0.99 pc), HDFC Bank (0.59 pc) and Tata Steel (0.56 pc).
However, BHEL rose by 2.77 per cent followed by ITC (2.42 pc), L&T (1.82 pc), Axis Bank (1.12 pc), NTPC (0.89 pc), ICICI Bank (0.87 pc) and SBI (0.72 pc).
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, telecom lost 2.40 per cent, oil & gas (1.24 pc), teck (1.23 pc), energy (1.12 pc), IT (1.01 pc), metal (0.69 pc), auto (0.66 pc) and healthcare (0.26 pc) while realty rose by 2.97 per cent followed by capital goods (1.24 pc), FMCG (1.01 pc), power (0.77 pc) and consumer durables (0.70 pc).
Mid-cap and small-cap indices rose by 0.22 per cent and 0.93 per cent, respectively.
The market breadth remained positive as 1,722 stocks ended higher, 816 closed lower while 105 ruled steady.
The total turnover fell sharply to Rs 2,144.57 crore from Rs 2,764.82 crore yesterday.
Meanwhile, Foreign funds (FPP and FIIs) continued their buying spree as they bought shares worth Rs 4,056.62 crore yesterday, as per the provisional data.