Equity markets spooked as India cuts growth target (Roundup)

Mumbai, Dec 18 (IANS) Key Indian stock market indices were more than a percentage point down on Thursday, spooked by a series of events, notably a sharp cut in the official growth forecast to 7-7.5 percent from 8.1-8.5 percent, global fall in commodity prices and weakness in crude oil.

While the sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday lost 1.10 percent, the Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also logged a similar decline of 1.05 percent.

The day began on a benign note with the 30-share Sensex opening at 25,764.67 points, against the previous day’s close at 25,803.78 points, and touched a high of 25,789.51 points, intra-day.

Soon after, weakness set in. And after the growth forecast was tabled in parliament around noon, Sensex fell further to a low of 25,481.51 points, losing considerable ground, and finally ended at 25,519.22 points — down 284.56 points, or 1.10 percent.

The wider 50-share Nifty closed 82.40 points or 1.05 percent lower at 7,761.95 points.

“The market headed south on profit booking after four consecutive days. The investor sentiment negatively impacted as the government reduced its GDP growth target to 7-7.5 percent from 8-8.1 percent,” said Vinod Nair of Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Gaurav Jain of Hem Securities said apart from the worries over the country’s growth, the continuing weakness in commodity prices globally also raised concerns over the global economic prospects.

In Friday’s trade, heavy selling was seen in IT, TECK and metal sector, while good buying was observed in consumer durables sector. Among the sector-specific indices of the Mumbai bourse, that for IT index fell 1.31 percent,l tech by 1.07 percent and metals went down by 0.89 percent.

But consumer duarbles gained 1.01 percent.

The 100-scrip and 200-scrip indices were down by 0.86 percent and 0.75 percent, respectively. Mid-cap index was marginally up by around 0.08 percent and small-cap stocks ended 0.24 percent lower.

There were only two Sensex gainers on Friday — NTPC, up 0.63 percent at Rs.136.25, and Coal India, up 0.13 percent at Rs.316.55.

The losers were: Vedanta, down 3.21 percent at Rs.84.35; Lupin, down 2.10 percent at Rs.1,785.60; Bajaj Auto, down 1.95 percent at Rs.2,475.10; and Infosys, down 1.90 percent at Rs.1,085.95.

In the Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei closed lower by 1.90 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite by 0.01 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng by 0.53 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.27 percent, France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.38 percent and Germany’s DAX Index fell 0.22 percent at the close of trading in the Indian markets.

In the near term, analysts expected the fluctuations to continue.

“We expect the market likely to be volatile in the near term due to domestic cues, as the prevailing uncertainty towards the passage of the GST bill and the challenges in balancing the deficit due to tepid growth in disinvestment,” said Nair.

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