Caution ahead of quarterly results dents equity markets

Mumbai, April 7 (IANS) Caution ahead of the quarterly results season, along with relentless selling by foreign funds, depressed the Indian equity markets on Thursday.

Consequently, the markets plunged during the late-afternoon trade session.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded in the red. It declined by 41.45 points or 0.54 percent, to 7,572.90 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 24,998.79 points, traded at 24,775.69 points (at 2.45 p.m.) — down 124.94 points or 0.50 percent from the previous close at 24,900.63 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 25,013.13 points and a low of 24,648.21 points during the intra-day trade.

In contrast, the BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of bulls — with 1,232 advances and 1,218 declines.

The barometer index had closed flat on Wednesday. It ended up a mere 17.04 points or 0.07 percent, while the Nifty inched up by just 11.15 points or 0.15 percent.

On Thursday, both the key indices opened on a firm note, on the back of a rebound in global crude oil prices and Wednesday’s positive close to the US markets.

However, the initial gains were ceded as selling and unwinding of long positions ahead of the fourth quarter (Q4) results season dented sentiments.

Besides, selling by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) eroded investors’ confidence.

Data with stock exchanges showed that FIIs have sold stocks worth Rs.1,294.35 crore in the last two sessions.

On the other hand, positive cues from the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes released late on Wednesday evening and a rebound in global crude oil prices helped pare some of the losses.

The FOMC minutes disclosed that the US Federal Reserve has taken a cautious stand on future rate hikes. A hike in the US interest rates is expected to lead away Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) from emerging markets such as India.

“Caution ahead of the earning results season and the relentless selling by the FIIs pulled the equity markets lower in the day’s trade,” Anand James, chief market strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.

“The FOMC minutes and a rebound in global crude oil prices helped pare some losses.”

Vaibhav Agarwal, vice president and research head at Angel Broking, cited: “The broader markets continue to trade on a flat note with both the mid and smallcap indices marginally in the green.”

According to Agarwal, earnings growth would be a key trigger for the markets over the coming days.

“We expect markets to continue to react to global cues which could remain volatile considering the FOMC meeting later this month,” Agarwal noted.

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