Indian stock markets closed lower on Wednesday with Sensex losing as much as 144 points and Nifty managing to finish at 10,500. Up until 2:40 pm on Wednesday, the headline indices traded around the previous closing but in the last one-hour session, a vertical decline was observed in Sensex, following which the index shed about 271.79 points to a day’s low of 34,028.68. Shares of Coal India, RIL, Wipro, Bharti Airtel, Adani Ports and Tata Motors emerged as the only notable gainers among the Sensex components. The S&P BSE Sensex ended 144.52 points or 0.42% lower at 34,155.95 and NSE Nifty lost 38.85 points or 0.37% to conclude at 10,500.9 on Wednesday. Among the sectors, PSU banks shares were the worst hit in Wednesday’s trade with Nifty PSU Bank plunging as much as 4.78% to close at 3,307.05.
Shares of Yes Bank, State Bank of India, Axis Bank, ONGC, Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank, TCS, Power Grid, NTPC, ITC, Bajaj-Auto, Maruti Suzuki lost 1-5%. The heavyweight shares of companies such as ICICI Bank, SBI, Axis Bank, TCS, Yes Bank, ITC, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Maruti Suzuki and Infosys contributed the most to the Sensex fall. Collectively these 10 stocks alone washed about 267 points out of the 144-point drop in the index while a little uptick in RIL, HDFC, Coal India and Bharti Airtel helped to trim the losses adding 90 points.
The stock of Punjab National Bank was the worst hit among the PSU banks on the news of fraud transactions found in Mumbai branch. Shares of PNB lost 10.4% to end at Rs 144.85, followed by Oriental Bank of Commerce down 8.35%; Allahabad Bank down 8.05%; Bank of India down 7.97%; and Canara Bank down 5.96%. The stock of State Bank of India plummeted as much as 4.59% to Rs 275.5 on NSE. Other bankers which also declined include, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank, IDBI Bank, Syndicate Bank and Union Bank, shed 2-5%.
In a major blow today, the state-run lender Punjab National Bank said that is has detected fraudulent transactions worth $1.77 billion in a Mumbai branch. “The Bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance. Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad,” Punjab National Bank said in an exchange filing.
India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel is considering an international listing of its Africa operations, it said on Wednesday. Bharti Airtel International Netherlands, the umbrella company for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 African countries, will begin non-binding discussions with banks and intermediaries to explore listing its shares on an international stock exchange, Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing.