Equity indices shed gains on widened trade deficit, crude prices


Mumbai, Jan 16: Breaking a three-day streak of record closing highs, the two key Indian equity indices on Tuesday ended the day in the negative zone with heavy selling pressure in almost all the sectors, except the IT and Teck (technology, media and entertainment) indices.

According to market observers, the key indices retreated from their record high levels as sentiments were dampened by higher crude oil prices, as well as the country’s widening trade deficit.

On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 41.10 points, or 0.38 per cent, but managed to sustain the 10,700-mark at 10,700.45 points.

On the BSE, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at a fresh high of 34,877.71 points, closed at 34,771.05 points — down 72.46 points or 0.21 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bearish with 2,259 stocks being declined as compared to 721 advances.

In the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 1.74 per cent and the small-cap index by 2.21 per cent.

“Markets snapped a three-day winning streak as it corrected on Tuesday. Selling was seen throughout the day. IT large-caps cushioned the fall,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets have closed on a positive note. European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the green,” he added.

Tokyo stocks closed higher on Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index finishing at its highest level in more than 26 years as the yen’s softer tone against the US dollar lifted exporters’ issues and raised hopes for earnings results at the end of the month.

“Tuesday’s session was range-bound as Indian markets took the volatile path. India’s December trade deficit widened to its highest in more than three years as higher import bills for gold and crude oil weighed on rising exports,” Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

“Oil refiners fell as global oil prices rose to near three-year highs due to production curbs in OPEC nations and Russia and robust demand from healthy global economic growth,” added Desai.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 54 paise to close at 64.03 against the US dollar from its previous close at 63.49.

Provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors purchased scrips worth Rs 693.17 crore, while domestic institutional investors divested stocks worth Rs 246.38 crore.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Widened fiscal deficit and increasing fuel price on account of volatility in crude prices dampened the market sentiment.”

Official data released on Monday evening showed that India’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $14.88 billion during last month, as against $10.54 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Sectorwise, the S&P BSE metal index gave up the most and plunged by 449.11 points, followed by consumer durables index by 310.17 points, and oil and gas index by 299.22 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE IT index surged by 386.21 points and the Teck index by 160.69 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Tuesday were: Wipro, up 4.88 per cent at Rs 331.90; Infosys, up 3.93 per cent at Rs 1,122.90; Tata Consultancy Services, up 3.77 per cent at Rs 2,850.85; ICICI Bank, up 1.43 per cent at Rs 334.15; and Dr. Reddy’s Lab, up 1.17 per cent at Rs 2,461.70.

Major Sensex losers were: Coal India, down 4.57 per cent at Rs 291.50; Reliance Industries, down 2.54 per cent at Rs 923.50; Tata Motors, down 2.30 per cent at Rs 421.80; Tata Steel, down 2.16 per cent at Rs 766.30; and ITC, down 2.06 per cent at Rs 261.75.


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