Sensex ends 984 points lower, halts 4-day rally as virus dashes recovery hopes; all eyes on RIL results

NEW DELHI: Benchmark indices put an end to a four-day winning run on Friday as a worsening pandemic and shortage of vaccines in the country spooked Dalal Street bulls. Investors dumped whatever was in their hands on fears that a recovery could now be delayed.

In the freefall, investors’ wealth came down by Rs 2.02 lakh crore as the total market capitalisation of BSE-listed companies plunged to Rs 207.01 lakh crore.

Heavy selling in key spaces including financials and stocks such as HDFC twins kept both indices in the red throughout the day as Mumbai complained of shortage of Covid vaccines while ‘vaccination for all’ remained a distant reality in other parts of the country.

The 30-share pack Sensex plunged 983.58 points or 1.98 per cent to close at 48,782.36. Its broader peer NSE Nifty declined 263.80 points or 1.77 per cent to settle at 14,631.10.

“The exit polls of four states and one Union Territory showed BJP not gaining a sound majority in fiercely fought state of West Bengal, denting the market sentiment.

‘ numbers today will set the tone for the next week’s opening along with developments on the Covid front,” said Mohit Nigam, Head, PMS, Hem Securities.

Market at a glance:

  • Home First Finance climbs 4% after Credit Suisse assigns ‘outperform’ rating
  • HDFC twins biggest drags on blue chip indices, fall 4% each
  • Titan drops 1% after Q4 earnings; analysts see near-term problems
  • ONGC, Cola India defy market slump; emerge top Nifty gainers
  • Airline stocks end lower as government extends ban on commercial international flights

Among the blue chip stocks, ONGC was the top gainer, rising 3.99 per cent. Coal India, Grasim, Divi’s Labs, IndianOil, , Dr Reddy’s Labs, BPCL, Wipro and Cipla were other gainers.

HDFC was the top loser in the Nifty pack, falling 4.16 per cent. HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank,

, Asian Paints, Tata Motors, M&M, Adani Ports and TCS were other scrips that ended in the red.

Broader market indices ended lower but managed to fare better than their headline peers. Nifty Smallcap fell 0.40 per cent and Nifty Midcap dipped 0.37 per cent. Nifty 500, the broadest index on NSE, dropped 1.34 per cent.

Container Corporation, SAIL, Sun TV, EID Parry, BASF and Carborundum Universal were top gainers from mid- and small-cap indices, climbing in the range of 4-7 per cent.

“Traders should prepare themselves for a volatile start. We suggest limiting naked leveraged positions and preferring defensive on dips.”

— Ajit Mishra, Religare Broking

PVR, Kalpataru Power, Rain Industries, IndiaMart InterMesh, Shriram Transport Finance and Polycab India were major losers from the broader market space, falling in the range of 3-10 per cent.

Barring Nifty Pharma, which rose 1.28 per cent, all sectoral indices on NSE ended with cuts. Nifty Financial Service was the top loser, dropping 3.03 per cent. Nifty Bank and Nifty private Bank fell over 2 per cent each.

Market breadth was in favour of losers as 1,353 stocks ended in the green while 1,590 counters settled with cuts. As many as 222 securities hit 52-week highs, mostly from the small-cap space. Meanwhile, 28 counters hit 52-week lows, mostly from the micro-cap space. About 270 stocks hit upper circuit limits and 193 lower circuit limits.

European markets were trading mixed at the last count. London-based FTSE was down 0.05 per cent while Paris dropped 0.16 per cent. Frankfurt rose 0.27 per cent. In Asia, all markets closed in the red.

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