Stocks retreated for the third day today as the Sensex slumped 131 points to end at 29,576, a nearly two-week low, ahead of the start of quarterly earnings amid continuing geopolitical issues. The immediate trigger will be key macro data, including IIP for February and retail inflation for March on Wednesday. The week will also see fourth-quarter corporate results kicking off with Infosys, due on Thursday. Last week’s US missile strike on a Syrian airfield has fuelled geopolitical tensions, keeping investors in wait and watch mode.
The Sensex resumed higher and hit the day’s high of 29,831.32, but later slipped before ending down 130.87 points, or 0.44 percent, at 29,575.74, it’s lowest closing since March 29. The gauge has now lost 398.50 points in three sessions. After regaining the 9,200-mark in early trade, the NSE Nifty settled lower by 16.85 points, or 0.18 percent, at 9,181.45. On the contrary, the broader markets outperformed the key index. The falling fortunes of the rupee, which crashed 28 paise to 64.56 today at the close, also had a bearing on the market.
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“The market veered towards consolidation due to stretched valuation and prevailing geopolitical risks. The unveiling of fourth quarter results will determine the next leg of the rally. Economic data during the week like CPI inflation, IIP are also on the investors’ radar to get cues on the RBI for any prolonged pause in its neutral stance,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
Infosys registered the maximum fall, down 2.88 percent, ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings, followed by Wipro 2.10 per cent. Key regional markets in Asia moved lower. Japanese shares, however, closed higher. Europe was trading flat amid weaker-than-expected US jobs data. Major losers were Asian Paints, RIL, HDFC and Dr Reddy’s. However, Tata Motors rose and so did Axis Bank and Coal India.
Of the 30-share Sensex map, 16 ended lower while 14 gained. Among BSE sectoral indices, IT dropped by 1.62 per cent, along with technology, realty, consumer durables and power. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 262.37 crore last Friday, as per provisional figures. The market breadth turned positive as 1,757 stocks ended higher and 1,144 declined while 168 ruled unchanged. The total turnover on BSE read Rs 4,013.81 crore, lower than Rs 4,361.80 crore during the previous trading session.