Benchmark Sensex gave up its early gains to end lower for the fourth straight session today as investors booked profits amid rising geopolitical concerns. Global markets tumbled after British Prime Minister Theresa May made a surprise announcement of early elections on June 8, while investors also kept an eye on continuing tensions in the Korean peninsula.
The 30-share index rose over 267 points in morning trade and shot up to 29,701.19, but later lost momentum to hit the day’s low of 29,286.38. It finally ended 94.56 points, or 0.32 per cent lower at 29,319.10. The Sensex has slumped by 469.25 points or 1.58 per cent in four days. The broader NSE Nifty shuttled between 9,217.90 and 9,095.45, before ending 34.15 points, or 0.37 per cent down at 9,105.15.
IT stocks came under pressure with the US tightening the H-1B visa regime and Australia abolishing a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, a majority of them Indians.
However, a silver lining was IMD’s forecast of “normal” monsoon this year.
“US and Australia’s visa norms turned up the heat on IT companies, while higher possibilities of El Nino put sentiment under check.
“Global cues weren’t helping either after European markets reopened after Easter Monday holidays, with deep cuts. With rupee easing a bit, FII action will be in focus, as they have been net sellers in equities for the most part of this month so far,” said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 250.54 crore yesterday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) also sold shares worth a net Rs 52.38 crore.
Overseas, Asian markets ended mixed, with China’s Shanghai Composite falling 0.79 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.39 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.35 per cent. European shares were down in late morning deals. London’s FTSE plunged 1.06 per cent following May’s announcement, France’s Paris CAC 30 was down 1.24 per cent and Germany’s Frankfurt retreated 0.64 per cent.
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Back home, the BSE Mid-Cap index provisionally fell 0.63 per cent, while the small-cap index declined 0.74 per cent.
A total of 21 stocks in the 30-share Sensex pack finished the day with losses, while 9 gained. Major laggards were Tata Steel (2.55 per cent), Coal India (2.34 per cent), Sun Pharma (1.76 per cent), Asian Paints (1.68 per cent), RIL (1.48 per cent), Bajaj Auto (1.42 per cent), Tata Motors (1.20 per cent), Dr Reddy’s (1.12 per cent), ONGC (1.12 per cent) and Axis Bank (0.89 per cent).
However, NTPC rose 1.60 per cent, Wipro 0.93 per cent, HDFC Bank 0.68 per cent, ICICI Bank 0.46 per cent, Power Grid 0.32 per cent and Gail 0.27 per cent.
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, realty lost 3.48 per cent, metal 1.81 per cent, energy 1.04 per cent, telecom 0.94 per cent and healthcare 0.94 per cent. Utilities rose by 0.27 and power 0.03 per cent.
The market breadth turned negative as 1,771 shares ended lower, 1,112 closed higher while 143 ruled steady.
The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 4,297.49 crore, higher than Rs 3,478.74 crore registered during the previous trading session.