Mumbai: Stocks on Monday closed lower for the sixth straight day on growing risk aversion as benchmarks found it tough to get over the pessimism set off by foreign institutional selling and the Korean impasse.
Investors rushed back to the refuge of safe havens, with the Sensex ending at a fresh one-month low of 31,599.76—down 26.87 points, or 0.08%. The barometer had lost 797.13 points for the past five sessions on the trot due to unimpressive global cues and relentless foreign capital outflows. The NSE Nifty settled lower by 1.10 points, or 0.01%, at 9,871.50. During the session, it moved between 9,891.35 and 9,813. The closing was also its lowest in four weeks.
“Market recovered from intra-day losses and settled flat as investors found some long-term opportunities in beaten-down stocks. However, tepid movement in the global market, losing sheen on currency and volatility ahead of derivative expiry casts interim cloud over the market," said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
Foreign portfolio investors stayed away from Indian stocks as they net sold shares worth Rs1,249.45 crore. But domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities worth Rs1,009.98 crore on Monday, according to provisional data from the exchanges.
The Korean tension showed no signs of easing as North Korea’s foreign minister said US President Donald Trump had declared war on the country and it reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down US bombers even if they are not in its airspace.
Concerns over stretched valuations of several blue-chip as well as mid-cap stocks accelerated selling, traders said. But this was offset by bargain hunting, which kept losses to a minimum. The rupee sliding to a fresh 6-month low of 65.45 against the dollar and crude prices heating up globally after Turkish threats to block Kurdish oil exports hit investor sentiment. Brent oil hit a two-year high of $59.33 per barrel in the international market.
Selling by retail investors in the secondary market to raise funds to invest in the primary market by subscribing initial public offerings (IPO) of several companies, also fuelled downward trend. Market participants were also disappointed after the Asian Development Bank downgraded India’s growth projection to 7% for the current fiscal while lowering its forecast for the next financial year as well. But not all seems to have been gloomy as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formed an Economic Advisory Council as part of the government’s efforts to put life back into the economy.
The heavy losers were Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints, Dr Reddy’s, TCS and M&M, down by up to 2.31%. State-owned ONGC was a big hitter climbing 4.32% to Rs171.55 after the company said it will acquire the government’s 51.11% stake in HPCL through a bulk or block deal some time in November or December at the prevailing market price.
Sector-wise, the BSE FMCG index declined the most, losing 0.37%, followed by technology. Broader markets left the benchmarks behind, with the small-cap index rising 1.08% and mid-cap 0.44%.