Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) Despite positive global cues, the Indian equity markets erased their morning gains to close in the red on Thursday, as heavy selling pressure was witnessed in metal, auto, healthcare and IT stocks.
Besides, selling in index-heavyweights such as Infosys, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Tata Steel dragged the key indices lower.
The wider Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 26.30 points, or 0.27 per cent to close at 9,873.30 points.
The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 32,033.82 points, closed at 31,904.40 points — down 50.95 points, or 0.16 per cent, from the previous close at 31,955.35 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 32,057.12 points and a low of 31,859.50 points during intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,456 declines and 1,264 advances.
In terms of the broader markets, the BSE mid-cap index fell by 0.52 per cent, whereas the small-cap index was up 0.12 per cent.
“Nifty ended lower on Thursday in volatile trade after correcting from the high of 9,922 touched in the morning session. The Sensex ended below the psychologically important 32,000-mark after crossing that level in early trade,” Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.
“Major Asian markets ended on a mixed note. European indices like FTSE 100, CAC 40 and DAX traded higher,” Jasani added.
According to market observers, global market sentiments were boosted after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy unchanged.
“World shares extended a run of record highs on Thursday, as a cautious sounding Bank of Japan lifted Asian stocks to a near decade peak and Europe wagered on an incremental increase in confidence from the European Central Bank at its latest meeting,” said Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls.
“The Cabinet decision on Wednesday to sell the government’s 51.11 per cent stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC, also a state-owned entity) won’t do much for the former’s public shareholders,” he added.
On the currency front, the rupee weakened by 14-15 paise to 64.43-44 to a US dollar from its previous close at 64.29.
In investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased scrip worth Rs 154.91 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought stocks worth Rs 8 lakh.
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE metal index declined by 118.49 points, the automobile index by 107.51 points and the healthcare index by 103.60 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE banking index was up 51.73 points, the capital goods index by 38.39 points and the finance index by 12.81 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Axis Bank, up 3.87 per cent at Rs 540.30; ONGC, up 1.75 per cent at Rs 165.90; HDFC Bank, up 0.92 per cent at Rs 1,708.15; Mahindra and Mahindra, up 0.67 per cent at Rs 1,392.60; and Cipla, up 0.61 per cent at Rs 571.60.
Major Sensex losers were: Tata Steel, down 2.64 per cent at Rs 555.90; Kotak Bank, down 1.44 per cent at Rs 980.40; NTPC, down 1.22 per cent at Rs 165.30; Infosys, down 1.11 per cent at Rs 969; and Sun Pharma, down 1.05 per cent at Rs 582.10.