Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty were hit by volatility and registered losses as investors turned cautious ahead of the start of corporate earnings season and polling for the general elections. The BSE gauge Sensex ended lower by 161.70 points at 38,700.53, while the NSE Nifty lost 61.45 points to settle the day at 11,604.50. Losses mainly in financial, metal and energy stocks dragged the Sensex into the red. Oil stocks came under pressure due to constant rise in global crude oil prices.
International benchmark Brent was trading at 70.81 per barrel, up 0.67 per cent. Among the Sensex constituents, Yes Bank emerged as the biggest laggard with 2.66 per cent drop in share price. Other top losers were Bajaj Finance, Vedanta, Tata Motors, Reliance Industries and SBI — dropping as much as 2.57 per cent.
On the other hand, Infosys, Mahindra and Mahindra, ONGC, TCS, PowerGrid and NTPC closed with significant gains on the Sensex chart. Of the 30 Sensex shares, 20 witnessed losses and 10 saw gains. The 30-share gauge opened higher at 38,993.60 against the previous close of 38,862.23. Intra-day, it hit a high of 39,041.25 and a low of 38,520.96, swinging over 520 points. The BSE benchmark finally settled at 38,700.53, losing 161.70 points or 0.42 per cent.
Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty started off on a positive note at 11,704.35 against the Friday’s close of 11,665.95. The index traded in the range of 11,549.10 and 11,710.30 during the day. It swung over 161 points during the session. The NSE barometer finally closed at 11,604.50, up 61.45 points or 0.53 per cent. Market analysts believe that the upcoming corporate results season along with beginning of polling for general elections will drive trading sentiments over the next few weeks as investors will be keenly watching such developments.
The country’s top two software exporters TCS and Infosys will announce their quarterly earnings on Friday. Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and will be held over seven phases followed by counting of votes on May 23. Asian markets closed mixed on Monday, helped by better-than-expected US jobs data and signs of progress in US-China trade talks. South Korea’s KOSPI gained nearly 1 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.41 per cent. While Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.21 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite index edged lower by 0.05 per cent. In Europe, major market indices were trading mostly lower on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Indian rupee has started feeling the heat of rising crude prices and was trading 44 paise lower at 69.67 to the US dollar. Besides, the strengthening US dollar on account of a rebound in payrolls data further impacted the rupee sentiment. On Friday, the BSE Sensex had logged 177.51 points or 0.49 per cent gains to close at 38,862.23; while the broader NSE Nifty rose 67.95 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 11,665.95. During the week, the Sensex saw 182.32 points or 0.48 per cent rise; and the Nifty gained 42.05 points, or 0.36 per cent.