Well begun is half done goes an old adage, but that famous axiom didn't apply to the Indian markets today. The main indices closed lower for a third consecutive session today, as investors reacted to latest quarterly numbers and RBI's measures to check the rupee's slide. Disappointing data on exports and car sales also weighed on the sentiment today as did a few lower-than-expected corporate results. Data out of China and the UK also had a sobering effect on investors' morale.
After a very good start and strong morning session, the main indices suddenly turned weaker in the afternoon trade and failed to recover from there on. Fresh selling was seen in Metals, Auto, Power and Pharma stocks.
The Nifty and Sensex opened with smart gains as the rupee rebounded in the wake of fresh measures announced by the RBI to check the local currency's slide. However, the rupee could not sustain the early gains and retreated from day's low.
The BSE Sensex fell by 59 points or 0.36% to close 16,420. It had earlier touched a day’s low of 16,377 and a day’s high of 16,671. It opened at 16,515.
The NSE Nifty settled at 4,965 down by 9 points or 0.2%. It touched a day’s low of 4,960 and day’s high of 5,013.
The INDIA VIX on the NSE ended lower by 1.4% to close at 22.72. It hit days high of 23.64. It hit a low of 22.07.
The market breadth was negative, 1524 stocks declined and 1239 stocks advanced.
All sectoral indices, barring Oil&Gas and Consumer Durables, ended with losses. However, the losses were not extremely severe.
The Metals index was the biggest laggard, down 1% followed by Auto, Power, Pharma, FMCG and PSU indices. Bankex and IT indices ended almost unchanged, while the Oil & Gas index rose 0.6% and the Consumer Durables index was up 0.3%.
Among the broader markets, the BSE Small-Cap index ended down 0.2% while the BSE Mid-Cap index performed better to end flat.
Leading stocks on the Nifty and the Sensex were Cairn India, IDFC, BPCL, AXIS, DLF, Kotak Mahindra Bank, BHEL and ONGC.
Losing stocks on the Nifty and the Sensex were Maruti Suzuki, Jindal Steel, Ranbaxy Labs, PNB, Asian Paints, SBI, Power Grid Corp, Coal India, Hero MotoCorp and Sterlite Inds.
"Market players are likely to remain skittish amid persistent FII selling and weakness in the rupee. Watch out for the IIP data on Friday. Quarterly result-oriented action is likely to continue for a while as many companies are yet to announce their numbers. Global markets may continue to be driven by eurozone problems in the near term. Fresh batch of Chinese data will also be followed closely along with Fed chief Ben Bernanke’s latest speech. While the recent sharp fall has made valuations of Indian stocks attractive, the macro-economic headwinds (both local and global) are not showing any signs of abating. Therefore, one really needs to remain cautious and wait for the right opportunity to resume your shopping spree," says Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.
The RBI decided to fix the intra-day open position / daylight limit of the Authorised Dealers (AD) at five times the Net Overnight Open Position Limit available to them or the existing Intra-day open position limit as approved by the central bank, whichever is higher, for positions involving Rupee.
In a separate move, the RBI said that 50% of the balances in the EEFC accounts should be converted forthwith into rupee balances and credited to the rupee accounts as per the directions of the account holder.
Meanwhile, India's merchandise exports in April rose by 3.2% to US$24.5bn while imports were up by 3.8% at US$37.9bn, Commerce Secretary Dr. Rahul Khullar said on Thursday. As a result, the trade gap for the month under review works out to US$13.4bn.
“This is the lowest trade deficit we have had in last one year... This month (April), we see deceleration in imports,” Dr Khullar said today.
India's domestic car sales grew by just 3.4% in April, slowing sharply over the previous month when fear of price increases prompted potential buyers to advance their purchases.
Companies sold 168,351 cars in the domestic market in April as against 162,813 cars in the same period last year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
This is the lowest since December 2011 when domestic car sales stood at 159,325.
The Indian economy is likely to grow by 7.6% in FY13, the Chief Economic Advisor to the Finance Minister, Dr. Kaushik Basu, said today.
This is in line with the growth estimate of 7.6% +/- 0.25% announced by the Finance Minister in the Economic Survey.
The Indian economy is estimated to have grown by 6.9% in FY12.
In global action, Asian markets closed mixed with the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Nikkei in Japan in the red while the Chinese market closed flat following disappointing trade data. Australia's index was up following better-than-expected unemployment report.
China’s exports and imports both increased less than expected in April, adding pressure on the government to announce fresh policy easing to give a fillip to the slowing economy.
European markets were trading mostly positive, recovering from the previous session's losses. The Spanish index was up more than 1% while the indices in Italy, Germany, UK and France were all down.
Another choppy session on D-Street…Markets end tad down