Mumbai: Key stock indices on Wednesday settled near the base line, mainly due to passive foreign investors, as all eyes turned to US Federal Reserve’s policy decision.
Geo-political issues returned after US President Donald Trump, in his speech to UN General Assembly, threatened to “totally destroy" North Korea if it persists with its ballistic missile and nuclear programme. Asian markets struggled ahead of the Fed meeting outcome slated later in the day, analysts said. Europe too had its share of weakness.
After resuming higher, the Sensex slipped into red, before settling down 1.86 points, or 0.01%, at 32,400.51. The gauge had lost 21 points on Tuesday in a cautious trade. The Nifty, after shuttling between 10,171.05 and 10,134.20, ended the day at 10,141.15—down 6.40 points, or 0.06%.
“Domestic indices traded flat for the second consecutive day ahead of the Fed rate decision scheduled later today. FII’s passive trading approach with capital inflow limited to primary market and debt also might have weighed down the momentum... Investors could now be eyeing GST rate revisions and updates on GST implementation in petroleum products to take the next crucial step," said Anand James, chief market strategist, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
Key telecom stocks such as Idea Cellular, Reliance Communication and Tata Teleservices fell by up to 3.43% after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday slashed mobile interconnection usage charge (IUC) by more than half to 6 paise a minute. There would be no such charge from 1 January, 2020, the regulator said. However, Bharti Airtel wiped off early losses to close higher by 0.39% on some late buying. Market heavyweight Reliance Industries was in a sweet spot as the scrip hit a record high of Rs872.10 (intra-day) before closing 0.85% higher at Rs847.10 after the IUC cut is seen as benefiting the company’s telecom unit, Reliance Jio.
Hero MotoCorp finished at the bottom on the Sensex list, falling 2.29% to Rs3,858.10, following profit taking activity. Tata Motors fell 1.98% to Rs415.50. Sun Pharma, Hindustan Unilever, PowerGrid and ICICI Bank were also on the losing side, falling by up to 1.96%. In contrast, Dr Reddy’s Labs was the leader by rising 3.33%, to Rs2,313.60, followed by Tata Steel 1.64% to Rs687.65 on unabated buying activity. The domestic steelmaker announced signing of an agreement with Thyssenkrupp to merge their steel operations in Europe in a 50:50 joint venture company.
In sector play, BSE auto lost most, falling 0.69%, along with consumer durables, oil and gas and power. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) remained passive as they sold shares worth a net Rs1,719.62 crore. Even domestic institutional investors (DIIs) offloaded shares worth a net Rs77.68 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional data. Broader markets such as mid and small cap indices slipped form record highs.