Equity indices scale new highs amid flat gains ahead of F&O expiry

Mumbai:  Amid much volatility, the two key Indian equity indices on Wednesday closed in the green for the sixth consecutive session even as profit booking wiped-off most of last five sessions’ gains.

According to analysts, the markets took a breather a day after the indices crossed important milestones and closed a rangebound trade session on a flat note.

Caution ahead of January futures and options (F&O) expiry on Thursday, along with subdued global cues, added to the volatility in the equity markets.

The benchmark indices managed to close at fresh levels with nominal gains after touching new highs on an intra-day basis, as IT stocks helped cope up with losses.

The broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) inched up 2.30 points or 0.02 per cent to close at a new high of 11,086 points.

The Nifty50 crossed the 11,100-mark during intra-day trade and scaled a fresh high of 11,110.10 points.

On the BSE, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) closed at a new high of 36,161.64 points — up 21.66 points or 0.06 per cent from its Tuesday’s close at 36,139.98 points.

The Sensex scaled a new high of 36,268.19 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth remained bearish as 1,929 stocks declined against 975 advances.

“Benchmark indices ended flat on Wednesday giving up gains after scaling new peaks for a sixth consecutive session, with IT stocks boosting the indices while broader gains were tapped by profit booking,” Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

According to Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, subdued global cues failed to provide clear direction to the markets.

“Broad market indices lost more, thereby underperforming the main indices,” Desai told IANS.

In the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 0.57 per cent and the small-cap index by 0.90 per cent.

On the global front, major Asian markets have closed on a mixed note, while European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the red.

Provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors purchased scrips worth Rs 776.42 crore, while domestic institutional investors divested stocks worth Rs 193.87 crore.

The Indian rupee strengthened by seven paise to close at 63.70 against the US dollar from its previous close at 63.77.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market took a pause after touching a new high whereas some heavy weights witnessed volatility ahead of F&O expiry tomorrow (Thursday).”

“Earnings upgrade is more likely after seeing the initial set of results but rich valuation and upcoming economic events may interrupt aggressive buying. Meanwhile, investors are gradually shifting focus to defensive sectors like IT and pharma due to a revival in outlook and safe haven asset like gold,” he added.

Sectorwise, the S&P BSE IT index surged the most — up 193.70 points — followed by FMCG index by 58.93 points and healthcare index by 35.76 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index slipped by 492.76 points, metals index by 236.83 points and auto index by 171.03 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: State Bank of India, up 3.62 per cent at Rs 329.50; Adani Ports, up 2.46 per cent at Rs 448.20; Tata Consultancy Services, up 2.30 per cent at Rs 3,174.60; ITC, up 1.88 per cent at Rs 281.50; and Yes Bank, up 1.66 per cent at Rs 364.80.

Major Sensex losers were: Bharti Airtel, down 6.51 per cent at Rs 458.95; Tata Motors, down 3.46 per cent at Rs 403.60; Tata Motors (DVR), down 3.02 per cent at Rs 230.95; ICICI Bank, down 2.60 per cent at Rs 352.65; and Tata Steel, down 2.13 per cent at Rs 763.40.