Sensex trades flat; bank stocks down

Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) After plunging over 140 points during the intra-day trade so far, a barometer index of the Indian equity markets was trading flat during the late-afternoon session on Monday.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was up by only 0.24 points during the session.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also flat after edging down in the intra-day trade. It was trading 3.05 points or 0.04 percent up at 8,612.90 points.

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 28,544.28 points, was trading at 28,463.55 points (3.00 p.m.), up 0.24 points from the previous day’s close at 28,463.31 points.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 28,549.13 points and a low of 28,319.83 points in the intra-day trade.

“The markets have been reeling under anxiety about the progress of the monsoon, the parliament session which will have key bills like goods and services tax (GST) and land bill coming up for discussion,” Anand James, co-head, technical reaseacrh head, Geojit BNP Paribas, told IANS.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the monsoon so far has been six percent below its long-term average. However, IMD has given an optimistic forecast of a better performance during early August.

Monsoon rains are important for agriculture, which is a major sector of the Indian economy.

As a large part of the arable land is rain-fed, not only does a variation in rainfall affect crop production but also rural incomes and inflation.

Even the upcoming monetary policy review, which will decide any cut in key lending rates, will be based on the progress of the monsoon and prevailing data points, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.

James said investors were also nervous about the upcoming futures and options (F&O) expiry on July 30 and the RBI’s monetary policy review which will be conducted on August 4.

“On the other hand, OPEC’s (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decision to advance its December meeting to discuss the future of oil prices in the backdrop of Iran increasing its exports after the nuclear deal is also causing concern,” James added.

Sector-wise, banking, metal, realty, power and capital goods stocks came under selling pressure. However, healthcare, information technology (IT), oil and gas, consumer durables and technology, entertainment and media (TECK) were trading higher.

The S&P BSE bank index receded by 34.50 points, metal index lost 23.10 points, realty index fell by 20.51 points, power index was lower by 3.47 points and capital goods index was slipped by 0.07 points.

The BSE S&P healthcare index was increased by 68.97 points, IT index gained 57.95 points, the oil and gas index rose by 54.04 points, consumer durables edged-up by 53.51 points and TECK index was higher by 33.81 points.

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