Mumbai, Feb 15: Paring most of the day’s gains, the key Indian equity indices on Thursday still closed in the green as positive global cues along with healthy buying in metals, banking and oil and gas stocks kept market sentiment upbeat.
According to market observers, healthy macro-economic data which showed easing inflation in the country added to the upward trajectory of the equity indices.
However, gains were trimmed as a sell-off was triggered in consumer durables, capital goods and healthcare stocks during the late afternoon trade session.
On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged higher by 44.60 points or 0.42 per cent to 10,545.50 points.
On the BSE, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) closed at 34,297.47 points — up 141.52 points or 0.41 per cent from its previous close.
The BSE market breadth was, however, bearish as 1,923 stocks declined as against 908 advances.
In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 0.46 per cent and the small-cap index by 1.27 per cent.
“Markets ended with modest gains on Thursday. A sell-off from the highs in the afternoon session curbed the gains,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.
“Positive global sentiments aided the domestic markets. Major Asian markets have closed on a positive note, barring the Jakarta index, while European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the green,” he added.
Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services, said: “WPI (Wholesale Price Index) added to positive macros that have streamed in, while the bounce in the Wall Street ensured that buying interest prevailed despite yesterday’s (Wednesday) volatility.”
Official data released during market hours revealed that a dip in food and fuel prices decelerated the rise in India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices to 2.84 per cent in January from 3.58 per cent in December 2017 and 4.26 per cent during the corresponding month of last year.
“However, market could not find much traction as investors rushed to gauge the impact of a banking fraud that looks to have affected multiple sectors,” James added.
Involved in a $1.8 billion fraud, shares of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) closed almost 12 per cent lower after the bank on Wednesday informed the stock exchanges about the fraudulent transactions that took place in one of its branches in Mumbai.
In the filing, PNB put the quantum of transactions at $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore), which is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).
The bank’s shares had plunged drastically even on Wednesday following the regulatory filing to close lower by 9.81 per cent at the BSE.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee on Thursday strengthened by 18 paise to close at 63.91 against the US dollar from its previous close at 64.09.
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 240.29 crore while domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 152.39 crore.
Sectorwise, the S&P BSE oil and gas index edged higher by 149.64 points, followed by banking index by 123.34 points and metal index by 110 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index declined by 183.63 points, capital goods index by 163.16 points and healthcare index by 67.42 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: ICICI Bank, up 3.15 per cent at Rs 328.60; Infosys, up 1.47 per cent at Rs 1,114.15; Power Grid, up 1.46 per cent at Rs 198.30; ONGC, up 1.37 per cent at Rs 188.40; and Bajaj Auto, up 0.96 per cent at Rs 3,140.60.
Major Sensex losers were: Hero MotoCorp, down 1.85 per cent at Rs 3,533.15; Tata Steel, down 1.20 per cent at Rs 699.85; Bharti Airtel, down 1.15 per cent at Rs 429.20; Larsen and Toubro, down 0.78 per cent at Rs 1,347.10; and Wipro, down 0.49 per cent at Rs 291.55.