Investors chose to sit tight on Wednesday as the Sensex remained in the bearish territory for the second day, dropping further by 98 points, and anxiety concerning state Assembly results and a probable Fed rate hike grew.
Exit poll numbers will start trickling in the final results are due Saturday. There are also some concerns that the US Federal Reserve may raise borrowing costs next week if the economy continues to shape up.
The BSE Sensex hit a low of 28,815.48 before settling at 28,901.94, down 97.62 points, or 0.34 per cent. The NSE Nifty closed lower by 22.60 points, or 0.25 per cent at 8,924.30.
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“Market continued its consolidation path due to the growing caution on Assembly election results and Fed rate hike which navigated investors to stay on the sidelines… as the market is keenly waiting for US job data on Friday to take more confirmation on the upcoming FOMC meet,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
Tata Steel suffered the most by diving 1.89 per cent, followed by ONGC 1.78 per cent. Infosys, GAIL, RIL, M&M, Coal India and Tata Motors also fell.
On the contrary, SBI, TCS, PowerGrid, Cipla, HDFC Bank and Sun Pharma ended higher. MTNL soared 16.04 per cent following reports of a renewed discussion of its merger with BSNL.
Metal suffered maximum losses, down 1.91 per cent, followed by realty, oil and gas and PSU. Mid-cap and small-cap indices fell 0.56 per cent and 0.31 per cent, respectively, on sustained selling pressure from retail investors.
European markets were mixed after German data showed that industrial production grew 2.8 per cent in January. Going ahead, investors waited for Britain’s budget. Asia threw up a similar trend.
Japanese stocks led the regional decline, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose. Foreign funds bought shares net worth Rs 920.46 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional figures.
The market breadth remained negative as 1,755 stocks ended lower, 1,067 closed higher while 164 ruled steady.
The total turnover on BSE stood at Rs 5,833.50 crore, up from Rs 2,932.97 crore on the previous day.
“Despite witnessing significant losses in mid-afternoon trade, benchmark indices managed to recoup some lost ground to close the day with losses,” said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager, Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.