Most Asian markets were shut on account of public holidays, rendering domestic investors directionless in the morning trade. European markets opened higher but turned mixed. S&P500 futures, however, were hinting at a strong start for US stocks later in the day. That helped domestic stocks cut losses.
The BSE Sensex eventually closed 143.20 points or 0.24 per cent lower at 58,644.82. The NSE Nifty50 was down 43.90 points or 0.25 per cent at 17,516.30. Losses in Reliance Industries and select bank stocks were partly offset by buying in HDFC Bank, L&T and Asian Paints.
Sectorally, the BSE Realty index was the worst hit with a 2.83 per cent plunge. The BSE Metal topped the gainers with 1.28 per cent rise for the day.
“The domestic market continued to ride Thursday’s downtrend with most sectors barring FMCG and Metal facing selloff. Western markets also lacked strength as the Bank of England imposed a back-to-back rate hike in yesterday’s policy meeting while the dovish ECB acknowledged the risk of rising inflation signalling a rate hike in the future,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
SBI fell 1.92 per cent to Rs 529.75 and was the worst-performing Sensex stock for the day. The PSU bank will report its December quarter earnings on Saturday.
M&M declined 1.82 per cent to Rs 840.45. NTPC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finserv and Power Grid declined 1 per cent or more. Reliance Industries, Wipro and HDFC fell up to 1 per cent.
On the flip side, Sun Pharma gained 1.21 per cent and was the top Sensex performer. It was followed by Asian Paints, Tata Steel, UltraTech Cement and L&T, which rose up to 1 per cent. Analysts were keenly awaiting Tata Steel earnings scheduled for later in the day.
Godrej Industries ended the day at Rs 1,506.55 after the scrip received a flurry of ‘sell’ calls by brokerages after the company’s deal with DB Realty for a 10 per cent stake in the latter. Analysts called it a ‘convoluted’ deal and risk-prone slum rehab projects.
DB Realty ended 5 per cent higher at Rs 100.90. MAS Financial soared 16.5 per cent to Rs 659.05. This was in addition to a 20 per cent rally on the counter on account of strong performance in the December quarter. Venky’s plunged 8.58 pr cent to Rs 2,401.15 after a steep fall in Q3 profit that the company reported during the trading hours
In its latest Greed & Fear report, Jefferies said India looks set to record perhaps the best earnings growth in Asia this year with only Indonesia and the Philippines higher in terms of consensus forecasts.
“The consensus earnings growth forecast for the MSCI India this year is 20.3 per cent compared with 11.3 per cent for the Asia ex-Japan region. While Jefferies’ India office is forecasting 19.2 per cent earnings growth for the Nifty in FY23 beginning 1 April, following an estimated 38 per cent growth in FY22. This follows positive earnings revisions last year. Consensus earnings forecasts were revised up by 14.4 per cent in 2021,” the report added.