Mumbai: The sell-off in the stock market has not affected all sectors equally. Typically, market corrections see a flight to defensive sectors such as consumer goods and utilities. A comparison of the sectoral indices of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) shows that the BSE FMCG index has been the least impacted by the market meltdown. Taking the period between 24 July, the date on which the BSE Sensex recorded a new intra-day high of 15,868, to 2 August, when the Sensex closed at 14,985, the BSE FMCG index shows a rise of 4.83%. Over the same period, the Sensex fell by 5.12%.
At the other end of the spectrum, the BSE Realty index fell the hardest, plummeting 10.95% over the period.
Among FMCG companies, the stock of ITC Ltd has defied the trend, rising as much as 10.18% over the nine-day period. Among utilities, the Tata Power stock was up 1.92%. Although the Reliance Energy stock was down 3%, its fall was lower than that of the Sensex.
The BSE Healthcare index was also relatively less affected, falling 4.31% over the period. Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd gained as much as 7.81%.
Bank stocks, too, outperformed the Sensex, with the BSE Bankex falling only 4.9% during the period. For investors in Federal Bank, the rally is still on, with the stock gaining a huge 12.56% in nine days.
Stocks have also moved in different directions within sectors. For instance, within the FMCG space, while ITC has moved up sharply, Britannia is down 6.94%. Among banks, the Canara Bank stock fell by 12.24% and Punjab National Bank by 11.95%.
Part of the explanation for the divergent performance lies in the quarterly results. Among auto stocks, for instance, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd, whose results have not been impressive, were down 15.17% and 12.73%, respectively, while Maruti Udyog Ltd, which posted better results, saw its stock rise 2.09% despite the aversion to the interest rate-sensitive auto sector in a tumultuous market.
Another reason for steep falls could be higher valuations, which took their toll on the capital goods sector. The stocks of ABB Ltd and Larsen & Toubro Ltd, for instance, fell 5.05% and 6.74%, respectively, despite good results.