Sensex ends lower by 72 points at 34,771; Nifty closes at 10,700

BL Internet Desk Chennai | Updated on January 18, 2018


December trade deficit weighs on sentiment

The S&P BSE Sensex slipped from intraday high of 34,936 to end lower by over 70 points owing to cautious approach by traders as the country's trade deficit widened to $14.88 billion in December 2017 compared with $10.54 billion in December 2016.

After opening higher at 34,877.71 against the previous close of 34,843.51, the Sensex touched an intraday high of 34,936.03 and a low of 34,735.55. The 30-share BSE index Sensex ended lower by 72.46 points or 0.21 per cent at 34,771.05 and the 50-share NSE Nifty closed down by 41.1 points or 0.38 per cent at 10,700.45.

Barring IT and TECk, all other BSE sectoral indices ended in the negative zone. Among them, realty index fell the most by 3.51 per cent, followed by metal 2.83 per cent, PSU 2.26 per cent and oil & gas 1.84 per cent. On the other hand, IT index jumped 3.32 per cent and TECk 2.45 per cent.

Top five Sensex gainers were Wipro (+4.88%), Infosys (+3.93%), TCS (+3.77%), ICICI Bank (+1.43%) and Dr Reddy's (+1.38%), while the major losers were Coal India (-4.57%), Reliance (-2.54%), Tata Motors (-2.3%), Tata Steel (-2.16%) and ITC (-2.06%).

Trade deficit

December trade deficit touched its highest in over three years, as higher import bills for gold and crude oil weighed.

The wider deficit is a bit of a concern, said Anupam Singhi, Chief Executive at MarketSmith India, part of William O'Neil India. With markets hovering near record highs, volatility is set to increase ahead of the federal budget next month, he said.

Oil refiners fall

Oil refiners fell as global oil prices rose to near three-year highs due to production curbs in OPEC nations and Russia and robust demand from healthy global economic growth.

Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd slipped more than 2 per cent, while Indian Oil Corp Ltd was down 1.7 per cent. The Nifty energy index slid as much as 1.6 per cent.

“Higher crude prices impact the profitability of oil refiners, hence they are a bit under pressure,” Singhi said.

Shares of IT services firms such as Infosys Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and Wipro Ltd rose after Morgan Stanley said it expected a turnaround for these stocks in 2018. The Nifty IT index jumped over 3 percent, gaining after two consecutive sessions of losses.

FII buying

As per provisional data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) had bought shares worth Rs 32.92 crore on a net basis, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) had sold equities to the tune of Rs 173.28 crore yesterday.

Asian shares pushed higher on Tuesday, erasing early modest losses, while the euro stood near a 3-year peak on rising expectations that the European Central Bank could pare its monetary stimulus.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 per cent. US markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday. Australian shares slipped 0.3 per cent, as miners were pressured by weaker Chinese iron ore prices. The materials and mining index dropped as much as 0.8 per cent, with mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd each falling over 1 per cent.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Published on January 16, 2018

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