Equities close in red amid Omicron scare; realty stocks fall

New Delhi: Rising concerns over the spread of Omicron in India dented the domestic equity indices — S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 — on Friday.

However, positive global cues arrested a further fall in the key indices.

The Sensex and Nifty settled at 57,124 points and 17,003 points, down 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent from their previous close, respectively.

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Barring IT index, all sectoral indices tanked during the day’s trade.

Among the stocks, NTPC, Eicher Motors, ONGC, and Mahindra & Mahindra were the top losers, declining 2.9 per cent, 2.5 per cent, 1.8 per cent, 1.7 per cent, 1.7 per cent, respectively.

On the flip-side, Grasim, HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra, SBI Life Insurance, Asian Paints, and Wipro were some of the top gainers, NSE data showed, rising 2.9 per cent, 2.4 per cent, 2.0 per cent, 0.5 per cent, 0.4 per cent, respectively.

Globally, Asian stocks were mixed after failing to harness tailwind from the US. European shares were nominally higher amid expectations that the Omicron variant won’t derail the economic recovery.

“Nifty logged nominal gains in the penultimate week of 2021, aided by IT and pharma stocks. After a three-day rise, Nifty expectedly corrected, though it did not close at the intra-day low. Advance decline ratio was in the negative but improved from the afternoon lows,” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

On the domestic front, volumes on the NSE were the lowest in 10 months.

Among sectoral indices, IT was the sole gainer while power, realty, capital goods and oil and gas fell the most.

“A range-bound day of trading ahead of Christmas ended the week as this month quite clearly belonged to the IT sector, which stood tall amid extreme volatility as cost-push inflation across sectors is keeping the street worried on the impact in the hands of the consumer,” said S. Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP securities.

“While buoyancy in exports and tax collections coupled with the success of the PLI schemes are positive, there are many sectors where consolidation is waiting to happen, which is where longer term investors need to focus in the present corrective phase,” Ranganathan added.

According to Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services: “Weighed by muted global markets and continued FII selling, domestic indices erased its mid-day gains to slip into the red led by selling pressure in index heavyweights.

“The markets remain highly volatile amid rising Omicron cases, higher monetary policies and inflationary woes. While pharma, realty and energy stocks dragged the indices lower, IT stocks traded firm in the weak market.”

For fresh cues during next week, investors would keep their eyes on the news flow revolving around Omicron, analysts said.

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