Profit bookings subdue markets, Sensex trades flat

Mumbai, Feb 19 (IANS) Profit-booking, coupled with negative global indices and a weak rupee dented the Indian equity markets during mid-afternoon trade on Friday.

Softening of global crude oil prices and absence of any fresh triggers further subdued investors’ sentiments.

This led to the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) trading flat in the positive territory.

Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded flat at a mildly higher level. It inched up six points or 0.08 percent at 7,197.30 points.

The Sensex, which opened at 23,640.32 points, traded at 23,677.93 points (at 2.15 p.m.) — up 29 points or 0.12 percent from the previous day’s close at 23,649.22 points.

During the intra-day trade, the Sensex touched a high of 23,692.45 points and a low of 23,508.36 points.

The BSE market breadth slightly favoured the bears — with 1,241 declines and 1,106 advances.

Initially, both the indices of the Indian equity markets opened on a negative note in sync with their Asian peers and Thursday’s losses in the US markets.

Besides, softening of crude oil prices, which hovered around $30 a barrel (one barrel is equal to 159 litres) from Thursday’s $32 a barrel-mark, held back investors from chasing stock prices higher.

In addition, a weak rupee kept investors unnerved. The rupee had closed unchanged from its previous close of 68.47 to a greenback on Thursday.

Though the currency markets were closed on Friday, investors feared that an “over-valued rupee” will come under pressure from February 22 onwards.

In the past two trading sessions, the Sensex has risen by 457 points, while the Nifty has gained 144 points.

However, profit-booking on the back of last two sessions’ rise has dragged the markets lower.

But despite the downturn, investors were hopeful regarding the upcoming budgetary announcements and expected banking sector reforms.

Market participants are hopeful that the central government may increase expenditure, announce tax concessions and pave the way to reduce the NPAs (non-performing assets) levels of the banking sector.

Even the initial positive comments on the negotiations between Britain and the European Union (EU) over the continuation of the isle nation in the economic grouping cheered investors.

“Profit-booking, negative global cues and softening of crude oil prices have restrained investors from chasing prices higher,” Anand James, co-head, technical research desk with Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.

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