Global cues, weak rupee pull equity indices lower (Roundup)

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) Weak global cues, coupled with a declining rupee and prolonged outflow of foreign funds, pulled the key Indian equity indices lower on Tuesday.

The key indices, which opened on a positive note on the back of short covering, pared the day’s entire gains during late afternoon — with heavy selling pressure in banking stocks — and closed a rangebound trade session in the red, said market observers.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 18 points or 0.17 per cent to close at 10,360.40 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 33,703.59 points — down 71.07 points or 0.21 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,513 declines and 1,243 advances.

In terms of broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 0.06 per cent and the small-cap index by 0.15 per cent.

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“Markets ended with marginal losses on Tuesday after a largely rangebound session. Markets remained in a narrow range till about 2.30 p.m., post which a sharp sell-off was seen especially in banks stocks,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“The Nifty closed in the red for the third consecutive day on the back of weak global cues and the recent detection of a massive fraud at a Mumbai branch of the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB),” he said.

Jasani added that major Asian markets closed on a negative note, while European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 were trading in the red.

Following recent developments in the $1.8 billion fraud detected by the PNB, shares of Gitanjali Gems on Tuesday tanked for the fifth straight trade session closing 9.91 per cent lower at Rs 30.45 per share. However, shares of PNB recouped losses and exited from the negative territory to close 0.13 per cent higher at Rs 116.55.

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Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market started off on a positive note due to short covering after the recent fall. But the gains did not sustain due to selling pressure in private banks and rising bond yield.”

“Strengthening dollar and prospects of increased spending in technology set the IT index attractive. Expiry led volatility is expected in coming days and market participants are likely to stay away from the market.”

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 58 paise to close at 64.79 against the US dollar from its Friday’s close at 64.21.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 850.35 crore while domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 1,437.24 crore.

Sectorwise, the S&P BSE banking index declined by 172.49 points, followed by auto index by 65.75 points and capital goods index by 56.42 points.

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On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index edged higher by 347.68 points, metal index by 176.58 points and IT index by 37.07 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Tuesday were: Coal India, up 1.84 per cent at Rs 310.25; ONGC, up 1.11 per cent at Rs 187; Bharti Airtel, up 0.85 per cent at Rs 417.65; State Bank of India, up 0.75 per cent at Rs 269.65; and Tata Consultancy Services, up 0.70 per cent at Rs 2,945.05.

Major Sensex losers were: Mahindra and Mahindra, down 2.48 per cent at Rs 709.05; Axis Bank, down 1.44 per cent at Rs 531.70; Kotak Bank, down 1.09 per cent at Rs 1,045; Yes Bank, down 1.06 per cent at Rs 309.30; and Reliance Industries, down 0.70 per cent at Rs 919.40.

–IANS

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