Sensex posts first gain in five days but banking stocks fall

BSE Sensex closed higher by 17 points, or 0.06%, to 29,337, while the Nifty 50 fell 2 points, or 0.02%, to 9,103. Here are the latest updates

BSE Sensex closed slightly higher on Wednesday. Photo: Hindustan Times
BSE Sensex closed slightly higher on Wednesday. Photo: Hindustan Times

Mumbai: A normal monsoon forecast by IMD kept the hope factor alive for stocks today as the Sensex closed higher—albeit marginally—after four days of losses in the face of muted corporate results so far. The Nifty, however, ended in the red amid a recovery in Europe.

With more companies due to announce results, investors remained largely cautious.

The government’s weather office yesterday predicted a normal monsoon for June-September, which is expected to give a boost to the rural economy. At the close, the 30-share index stood at 29,336.57, up 17.47 points, or 0.06%.

The barometer had lost 469.25 points in the previous four sessions, largely because of continued geo-political tensions and rising wave of global protectionism in the form of visa restrictions. The 50-share NSE Nifty shed 1.65 points, or 0.02%, at 9,103.50.

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“The Indian Meteorological Department’s first stage forecast for the important Indian monsoon season suggested... a near normal season,” said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, senior fund manager, equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.

Mirroring overnight losses in the US, most Asian shares turned lower after Britain’s shock decision to call an early election added to global uncertainties, traders said.

TCS, the country’s largest software exporter, today fell 0.30% after the company’s March quarter profit came in below expectations. PowerGrid took the top rank, climbing 4.35%.

Adani Ports, NTPC, Asian Paints, Coal India and Maruti Suzuki rose by up to 1.24%. SBI, Hero MotoCorp, Dr Reddy’s and ICICI Bank faced selling pressure. BSE power index made the maximum advance, rising 2.04%, followed by realty, metal and capital goods. Broader markets were better-off, with the small-cap and mid-cap gaining more than the benchmark. Foreign investors net sold shares worth Rs 930.67 crore while domestic institutional investors bought shares worth 878.08 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Sentiment, however, was supported after India’s weather office said on Tuesday that monsoon rains would be of an average amount in 2017, easing concerns over farm and economic growth.

“Hopes of a consumption recovery in the second half of the year are holding up the markets from a long-term perspective,” Khemka said, adding a good monsoon would bode well for the economy.

Financial stocks were among the top losers on the NSE index. Axis Bank fell as much as 2.28%, while ICICI Bank dropped 1.15%. National Aluminium Co slumped as much as 7.08% to its lowest since 8 March after the miner said on Tuesday the government would sell up to a 10% stake in the company.

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