BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty closed lower. Photo: Mint
BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty closed lower. Photo: Mint

Sensex, Nifty fall as uncertainty over North Korea continues

BSE Sensex closed lower by 148 points, or 0.46%, to 31,662, while the Nifty 50 fell 36 points to 9,916.

Mumbai: See-sawing stocks on Wednesday failed to stand up to selling pressure and ended with losses, with the Sensex hitting a one-week low, bogged down by a dogfight between the US and North Korea over the latter’s nuclear programme.

The rupee stoked more worries, slumping to a three-week low against the dollar during the day. “A small recovery in late afternoon trade pulled the markets up from its morning trenches and pushed the benchmark Sensex and the Nifty to close only marginally lower. Lack of consensus among the US, Russia and China on how to pressure (North Korea) to abandon nuclear ambitions made investors skittish and wary of risky assets," said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, senior fund manager – equities, BNP Paribas MF.

At one point, the 30-share Sensex that opened lower touched a low of 31,586.53, but a rally in Reliance Industries Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd helped the index settle at 31,661.97, a one-week low, down 147.58 points or 0.46%. The index had risen 107 points on Tuesday on bargain buying. The NSE gauge Nifty traded low throughout and cracked below the 9,900-mark, but recovered just in time to close with a loss of 36 points, or 0.36%, at 9,916.20.

Sun Pharma was the hardest hit, plunging 3.73% to Rs475, followed by ITC Ltd 2.43%. Financial stocks Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI were in a pool of red, falling by up to 1.79%, mainly due to profit taking activity. Losses were also reported by Lupin (2.05%), Adani Ports (1.17%) and Tata Motors (1.03%). Gains in index heavyweight Reliance Industries, however, offset the overall weakness a bit. Kotak Bank, Coal India and Maruti Suzuki managed to close positive.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) went back to their selling ways diluting shares worth Rs379.16 crore on net basis yesterday, showed provisional data. But support came in from domestic institutional investors (DIIs), who bought shares worth Rs474.36 crore.

Overseas, Asian stocks edged lower at the close while Europe trended down in early session. BSE small- and mid-cap indices went one up in comparison to the key barometers as both rose. In the BSE sectoral lot, healthcare declined 1.35%. FMCG, IT and capital goods too stumbled.