The BSE Sensex fell as much as 302 points on Friday, continuing its downward movement for a third straight session amid weakness in Asian markets. Finance and energy stocks led the deteriorations. The Nifty fell 97 points to hit day’s low of 10,270 in afternoon deals. 37 stocks on the 50-scrip Nifty were trading in the negative zone. Top losers on the Nifty 50 were Coal India, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum – trading between 3 per cent and 6 % lower. Tata Steel, HPCL, GAIL India, UltraTech and Tata Motors stocks were down around 2 %.
10 things to know about Friday’s trading session:
- Brokers said persistent selling by investors and capital outflows by foreign funds and a weak trend in Asian bourses, due to incremented concerns over the prospect of a global trade war, dampened market sentiment.
- “The recent under-performance for our markets vis-a-vis global indices can be attributed to negative news flows and NPA concerns related to PSU banks,” said Prasanna Pathak, fund manager, Taurus Mutual Fund.
- At 12:31 pm, the Nifty was trading 88 points lower at 10,271 while the BSE Sensex was down 278 points at 33,407.
- “The markets might remain lack-lustre within a range of 10,100 to 10,600 for Nifty in the short term. Break of these levels on either side will need some fresh triggers either domestically or globally,” Mr Pathak added.
- Coal India declined over 5.5 % as the shares traded ex-dividend. Nalco was down around 1 per cent. Coal India’s board of directors had on March 10 accepted payment of interim dividend for FY18 at a rate of Rs. 16.50 per share. Coal India has fixed March 19, 2018 as the record date for payment of interim dividend.
- The rupee fell by 3 paise to 64.96 against the US dollar at the forex market. Strength in dollar against other currencies overseas as traders eye the Federal Reserve’s meet next week and a lower opening in domestic equities kept pressure on the domestic unit, dealers said.
- Government data on Thursday showed trade deficit narrowed to a five-month low of $12 billion in February. Exports grew 4.5 per cent in February – the lowest expansion in the last four months, to $25.8 billion as shipments of engineering, textiles, and gems and jewellery declined. The trade deficit – the difference between imports and exports – had stood at $9.52 billion in February 2017.
- HDFC, LIC Housing Finance, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bajaj Finance were down at least 1 per cent in afternoon deals. State-run banks rose, with PNB rising 2 %, Bank of Baroda 1.5 per cent and Oriental Bank of Commerce rising 3.5 per cent. SBI was up 0.3 per cent.
- Among pharma stocks, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories rose 0.7 per cent and Glenmark Pharma 0.8 per cent while Sun Pharma was up 0.2 per cent in morning.
- Equities in other Asian markets were on the defensive as worries over the US investigation into the Trump Organization tested investor nerves. Investors were already frayed by fears US tariffs could hurt the global economy and trigger a trade war. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 per cent in early trade. Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.3 per cent. Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 edged 0.08 per cent lower, marking its first four-day losing streak of 2018.