Sensex snaps two-day rising streak on fag-end sell-off; IT, finance stocks weigh
Equity benchmarks capitulated in the last hour of trade on Thursday to break their two-session winning run, with IT, finance and bank stocks playing spoilsport amid the expiry of monthly derivative contracts. A weakening rupee also weighed on sentiment, traders said.
After remaining in the positive territory for the most part of the session, the 30-share BSE Sensex suddenly came under selling pressure towards the fag-end, tumbling 310.71 points or 0.53 percent to settle at 58,774.72. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty dropped 82.50 points or 0.47 percent to 17,522.45.
Bajaj Finance led the losers among the Sensex constituents, falling 1.81 percent, followed by PowerGrid, Infosys, TCS, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, NTPC and Larsen & Toubro. Only five counters clocked gains -- Maruti Suzuki, SBI, Dr. Reddy's, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Titan, rising up to 0.46 percent.
"Amid heightened volatility, investors pruned their long positions on the F&O expiry day due to the uncertain global economic scenario. There are concerns that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium on Friday would focus on more rate hikes to rein in inflation. "Also, benchmark indices had come close to slipping into negative zone in the last two sessions, and hence correction was on expected lines," said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities Ltd.
In the broader market, the BSE midcap gauge climbed 0.20 percent and the smallcap index went up 0.17 percent. Among the BSE sectoral indices, IT and tech fell 0.88 percent each, FMCG declined 0.45 percent, oil & gas 0.40 percent and industrials 0.35 percent. Consumer discretionary goods and services, consumer durables, metal and realty ended in the green.
"Ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium, investors across the world are eagerly expecting the Fed chair's speech to evaluate the outlook for monetary policy and determine whether the central bank can achieve a soft landing for the economy.
"Crude prices rose as Saudi Arabia suggested that OPEC+ supply may be reduced to address market instability. Although Indian equities are trading at a premium over other emerging markets, the consistent support from FIIs is guiding the domestic market," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai ended higher. Bourses in Europe were trading in the positive zone during mid-session deals. Wall Street had posted gains on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the international oil benchmark Brent crude climbed 0.17 percent to USD 101.3 per barrel. The rupee declined by 7 paise to close at 79.93 (provisional) after moving in a narrow range against the US dollar on Thursday. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 23.19 crore on Wednesday, according to exchange data.
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