Equities end flat, profit booking caps gains (Roundup)

Mumbai, Jan 18 (IANS) Indian equities markets closed on a flat-to-positive note on Wednesday as broadly positive global indices along with inflow of foreign funds buoyed investors’ sentiments.

Besides, government’s suspension of FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) taxation and healthy third-quarter (Q3) results aided in the upward movement of the key domestic indices.

However, profit booking and a weakened rupee, coupled with caution ahead of US Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen’s speech on monetary policy and the European Central Bank’s policy meet (on Thursday) capped gains.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) rose by 19 points or 0.23 per cent, to 8,417 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 27,261.76 points, closed at 27,257.64 points — up 21.98 points or 0.08 per cent from the previous close at 27,235.66 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 27,422.67 points and a low of 27,217.65 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bulls — with 1,507 advances and 1,257 declines.

On Tuesday, profit booking and negative global indices subdued the benchmark indices.

The NSE Nifty fell by 14.80 points or 0.18 per cent, to 8,398 points, while the BSE Sensex was down 52.51 points or 0.19 per cent.

“Markets ended with marginal gains on Wednesday after a positive opening. A sell-off from the highs of the day curbed gains,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets have ended on a mixed note, while European indices like FTSE 100 and DAX traded higher.”

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, equity market gave up their early gains during the second half of trade, but managed to close in the positive territory.

“During mid-market Finance Minister informed that India’s cabinet approved a plan to reduce its stake in five state-run general insurance companies to 75 per cent from 100 per cent. This news lifted life insurance stocks,” Desai said.

“Profit booking was seen in metal and banking shares today.”

Nevertheless, the Indian rupee weakened by 13 paise to 68.09 against a US dollar from its previous close of 67.96 to a greenback.

“The US dollar got stronger against the Indian rupee, which was why Indian market failed to capitalise on its opening gain,” Desai added.

In terms of investments, provisional data with exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased stocks worth Rs 319.14 crore, while the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought scrip worth Rs 245.03 crore.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE metal index surged by 253.61 points, followed by the banking index, which rose by 116.33 points, and the capital goods index, which edged up by 92.73 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE oil and gas index fell by 26.52 points, the telecom index receded by 10.56 points and the energy index edged down by 5.24 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: Tata Steel, up 2.95 per cent at Rs 467.60; Hindustan Unilever (HUL), up 2.86 per cent at Rs 864.60; ONGC, up 1.51 per cent at Rs 197.85; Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), up 0.87 per cent at Rs 1,216.10; and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 0.76 per cent at Rs 2,295.

Major Sensex losers were: NTPC, down 1.65 per cent at Rs 172.75; Hero MotoCorp, down 1.37 per cent at Rs 3,088.85; Gail, down 1.37 per cent at Rs 439.35; Bharti Airtel, down 1.21 per cent at Rs 313.70; and Bajaj Auto, down 0.94 per cent at Rs 2,704.30.