Indices end flat, as RBI leaves key lending rate unchanged (Roundup)

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Mumbai, April 6 (IANS) Indian equity markets on Thursday closed on a flat-to-negative note after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its interest rates unchanged in its first bi-monthly Monetary Policy Review of the 2017-18 fiscal, which failed to uplift investors’ sentiments.

Besides, profit booking after Wednesday’s gains, coupled with negative global cues, hampered the upward movement of the key indices. Heavy selling pressure was witnessed in consumer durables, healthcare and FMCG sectors.

However, inflow of foreign funds and a strong rupee aided the equity markets to recover from lower levels and close on a flat note.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) slipped down by 3.20 points or 0.03 per cent to 9,261.95 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 29,946.89 points, closed at 29,927.34 points — down 46.90 points or 0.16 per cent from the previous close at 29,974.24 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 29,954.25 points and a low of 29,817.59 points during the intra-day trade.

In contrast, the BSE market breadth was bullish — with 1,472 advances and 1,419 declines.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed higher by 0.15 per cent, whereas the small-cap index slipped by 0.23 per cent.

“Markets ended with marginal losses on the back of outcome of the RBI monetary policy. However, a sharp recovery in the afternoon session helped to erase the losses seen in the morning session,” Deepak Jasani, Head, Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

Thed RBI, in its Monetary Policy Review, kept the repurchase (repo) rate, or the short-term lending rate it charges on borrowings by commercial banks, unchanged for the third consecutive time at 6.25 per cent.

“The market sentiment was subdued, tracking weakness in European and Asian stocks and overnight losses on Wall Street. Major Asian markets ended on a negative note, barring the Jakarta and Shanghai indices, while European indices like FTSE 100 and DAX traded lower,” Jasani added.

Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services, said: “With no major surprises from RBI, markets stabilised, but will await the NPA (non-performing assets) resolution measures that is widely expected shortly.”

“Q4 numbers should take centre-stage from here on, but global cues could also hold sway in the coming days, specially with US markets beginning to show vulnerability ahead of(US) NFP (non-farm payroll) jobs data.”

On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by 36 paise to 64.52 against a US dollar from its previous close of 64.88 to a greenback.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased scrip worth Rs 142.68 crore, while the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) divested scrip worth Rs 205.64 crore.

“Profit booking pressurised the market at higher levels. Among the sectors, IT sector stocks witnessed good recovery from lower levels, while energy and realty remained top performing sectors on positive side,” Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE consumer durables index plunged by 100.78 points, followed by the healthcare index, which dipped by 98.18 points, and the FMCG index, which fell by 73.47 points.

On the other hand, the oil and gas index surged by 127.19 points, the metal index rose by 48.37 points, and the realty index was up 33.43 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Tata Steel, up 1.68 per cent at Rs 501.65; Reliance Industries, up 1.66 per cent at Rs 1,438.35; Bajaj Auto, up 1.46 per cent at Rs 2,801; Power Grid, up 1.26 per cent at Rs 197.20; and Gail, up 1.18 per cent at Rs 387.

Major Sensex losers were: ITC, down 1.65 per cent at Rs 274.35; ICICI Bank, down 1.40 per cent at Rs 280.85; State Bank of India (SBI), down 1.35 per cent at Rs 292.70; Coal India, down 1.16 per cent at Rs 286.65; and Dr. Reddy’s Lab, down 0.91 per cent at Rs 2,711.20.

–IANS

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