Sensex, Nifty close lower for third day, metal stocks fall
Mumbai: The BSE Sensex plunged 181 points on Wednesday due to concerns over trade deficit that ballooned to an almost three-year high. Lacklustre earnings by some blue-chip companies also dampened investors sentiment.
“Markets are pricing in the potential for a fiscal deficit target being pushed higher, with recent data showing pressures from both weak exports as well as high oil prices,” said Anand James, chief market strategist, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
The Sensex settled at an over three-week low of 32,760.44, down 181.43 points, or 0.55%. The loss for the Sensex read 372.69 points over the previous two sessions. At the close, the NSE Nifty was lower by 68.55 points, or 0.67%, at 10,118.05. Intra-day, it moved between 10,175.45 and 10,094.
Risk-taking took a hit as the country’s exports entered negative territory after over an year, contracting 1.12% in October and imports surged. This showed up in trade deficit, which swelled to almost a three-year high of $14 billion last month. A subdued trend in Asia and a lower opening in Europe, tracking a fall in oil prices and doubts over US tax reforms, kept spirits low.
The decline in the benchmarks left investors poorer by Rs1.55 trillion at Rs141.73 trillion. Foreign portfolio investors picked up shares worth a net Rs2,576.98 crore on Tuesday, provisional data showed. Domestic institutional investors sold shares worth a net Rs1.30 crore.
From the Sensex lot, Sun Pharma turned red the most—sinking 4.01%, after the pharma major on Tuesday reported a big drop in consolidated net profit. Other losers included ONGC, Bharti Airtel, NTPC, Lupin and ITC. Much of the damage came from the metal index, which fell 3.04%. Telecom, realty, power and consumer durables were the other losers in the sectoral space.
Selling pressure also gathered momentum in broader markets, with the BSE small-cap index falling 1.52% and mid-cap 1.01%. Stocks of Anil Ambani’s group such as Reliance Communications, Reliance capital, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Power faced heavy selling and lost up to 12%.