Sensex, Nifty close lower, pharma stocks top gainers, FMCG stocks fall
Mumbai: The BSE Sensex on Thursday touched an all-time high during the day, but lost nerve soon to close lower after muted auto sales numbers and as investors digested the outcome of the Federal Reserve meeting. The US central bank left interest rates on hold at the end of its two-day policy meet, but remains on track for a December hike as it cited “solid rate” of growth.
The market focus now shifts to the announcement of the next Fed chair. A widening probe by US authorities involving top drug companies following complaints of price fixing of generics was a point of worry for the participants, said analysts.
The Nifty closed 0.16% lower to 10,423.80. It had closed at a record high of 10,440.50 on Wednesday. During the session, the Sensex scaled an all-time high of 33,657.57, but a drive to take profit saw the barometer end at 33,573.22, down 27.05 points, or 0.08%. The Sensex had closed at a new peak of 33,600.27 on Wednesday by rallying 387 points.
Muted September quarter earnings by some blue-chip companies and lower-than-expected sales data from automakers for October with a single-digit growth made investors develop cold feet, traders said. “Subdued factory activity and auto sales numbers weighed on investor sentiment, but pharma’s rise on FDA positivity held index from slipping much. Investors will keep an eye on decision on new Fed chair for change in rate trajectory...,” said Anand James, chief market strategist, Geojit Financial Services.
Hero MotoCorp hit a speed bump, falling 2.19% to Rs3,733.05 after its Q2 earnings fell short of market expectations. ITC Ltd followed with a loss of 1.52% to Rs265.60. ONGC, SBI, Hindustan Unilever, M&M, Bajaj Auto, Kotak Bank and Axis Bank weighed heavy, declining by up to 1.52%.
Lupin, Sun Pharma, Power Grid and Dr Reddy’s pulled away and ended in positive terrain, which contained the damage. Shares of Divi’s Laboratories today zoomed 16.73% after it said the US health regulator will lift an import alert imposed on the company’s Unit-II in Visakhapatnam.
The BSE FMCG, auto, oil and gas all traded in the red, down by up to 0.93%. The broader markets outperformed the key indices as the mid-cap index rose 0.47% and small-cap 0.41%.
The tide turned when foreign portfolio investors bought shares worth a net Rs1,038.31 crore on Wednesday. But domestic institutional investors gave up equities worth a net Rs667.91 crore, as per provisional data. Asian stocks traded both ways and European shares were down as the Bank of England looks set to take a policy call.