Banks stocks, rising trade deficit drag equity indices lower (Roundup)

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Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) Indian equity markets on Friday closed in the negative territory for the third consecutive session as heavy selling pressure in banks, auto, capital goods and metal stocks, along with rising crude oil prices, dampened investors’ risk-taking appetite.

Market observers said macro-data which indicated widening trade deficit in the country, coupled with continued outflow of foreign funds, dented investors’ sentiments.

On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) declined by 93.20 points or 0.88 per cent to 10,452.30 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 34,010.76 points — down 286.71 points or 0.84 per cent from its previous close.

The BSE market breadth was bearish as 2,145 stocks declined as against 667 advances.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 1.20 per cent and the small-cap index by 1.22 per cent.

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“Markets corrected sharply on Friday after failing to cross the recent highs in the morning session. Market sentiments were weak due to a jump in India’s trade deficit in January,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Also, a rise in global crude oil prices affected the market sentiment. Major Asian markets were closed due to a holiday, barring the Nikkei index which ended on a positive note, while European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the green,” he added.

Official data released on Thursday evening revealed that India’s exports plunged by 9.80 per cent to $24.38 billion in January, from $27.03 billion worth of merchandise shipped out in December 2017.

The data showed that the country’s imports during the month under review declined by 2.93 per cent to $40.68 billion in January 2018 from $41.91 billion in December 2017.

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Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market slid despite a positive trend in global market. The alleged fraud in PNB (Punjab National Bank) dented investor’s optimism on banks and expect that the scam may extend to some other banks.”

Following a $1.8 billion fraud detected by PNB, shares of Gitanjali Gems plunged almost 20 per cent while those of PNB closed lower by over 2 per cent.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 30 paise to close at 64.21 against the US dollar from its previous close at 63.91.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 1,065.99 crore while domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 1,127.78 crore.

All the sub-indices of the BSE closed in the red barring the S&P BSE IT index which rose by 8.65 points.

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Sectorwise, the S&P BSE auto index receded by 414.48 points, followed by banking index by 335.88 points, capital goods by 258.50 points, metal index by 242.75 points, and oil and gas index by 187.14 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Friday were: Kotak Bank, up 1.04 per cent at Rs 1,051.75; Infosys, up 0.96 per cent at Rs 1,124.85; Dr Reddy’s Lab, up 0.83 per cent at Rs 2,212.75; Asian Paints, up 0.62 per cent at Rs 1,143.70; and Tata Consultancy Services, up 0.39 per cent at Rs 2,937.20.

Major Sensex losers were: State Bank of India, down 2.55 per cent at Rs 271.75; Yes Bank, down 2.52 per cent at Rs 311.90; ICICI Bank, down 2.31 per cent at Rs 321; Bharti Airtel, down 2.07 per cent at Rs 419.45; and Maruti Suzuki, down 2 per cent at Rs 8,840.

–IANS

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