Equity markets slip on weak global cues, auto stocks plunge (Roundup)

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Mumbai, May 18 (IANS) After three consecutive days of record highs during the week, the Indian equity markets slipped on Thursday, tracking bearish global cues, a weak rupee and heavy selling pressure in automobile, capital goods and consumer durables stocks.

According to market observers, investors were also cautious over the ongoing two-day meet of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in Srinagar, which will finalise tax slabs on services and commodities in the country.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell below its psychologically important level of 9,500 points to close at 9,429.45 points — down 96.30 points or 1.01 per cent.

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE shed 223.98 points or 0.73 per cent to close at 30,434.79 points. It touched a high of 30,575.83 points and a low of 30,393.72 points during intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was bearish — with 2,059 declines and 687 advances.

The broader markets underperformed the Sensex, with the S&P BSE mid-cap index slipping by 2.16 per cent and the small-cap index by 2.04 per cent.

Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Indian equities failed to hold their own amidst global rout following political turmoil in US and tensions surrounding North Korea. VIX (Volatility Index) rising by almost 10 per cent also prompted investors to lock in profits.”

“The sharp weakness in rupee was also surprising, but was seen supporting IT stocks,” James added.

On the currency front, the rupee weakened by 69 paise to 64.84-85 per US dollar from its previous close of 64.15-16.

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, investors remained cautious ahead of the GST Council meeting in Srinagar on Thursday.

“Banking sector stocks traded with bearish sentiments throughout the session on profit booking led by Yes Bank and Punjab National Bank,” Desai told IANS.

“Sectors like tyre, power, cement and realty witnessed selling pressure and pressurised the market sentiments.”

Sectorwise, the S&P automobile index plunged by 471.41 points, the capital goods index by 377.79 points, and the consumer durables index by 332.82 points.

On the other hand, the S&P IT index was up by 122.13 points and the Teck (technology, media and entertainment) index by 36.77 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Wipro, up 3.47 per cent at Rs 523.60; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 3.38 per cent at Rs 2,534.10; Infosys, up one per cent at Rs 961.70; Lupin, up 0.61 per cent at Rs 1,304.90, and Sun Pharma, up 0.51 per cent at Rs 653.90.

Major Sensex losers were: Tata Motors, down 2.55 per cent at Rs 438.20; Axis Bank, down 2.15 per cent at Rs 491.85; Dr Reddy’s Lab, down 1.96 per cent at Rs 2,678.35; Bajaj Auto, down 1.94 per cent at Rs 2,973.85; and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), down 1.92 per cent at Rs 1,351.30.

–IANS

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