Home / Markets / Live Blog /  Sensex tanks 1172 pts, Nifty ends below 17,200; Infosys, HDFC twins top losers

Sensex tanks 1172 pts, Nifty ends below 17,200; Infosys, HDFC twins top losers

Market Closing: Indian indices shed around 2% on Monday amid weak global cues. (Hemant Mishra/Mint)Premium
Market Closing: Indian indices shed around 2% on Monday amid weak global cues. (Hemant Mishra/Mint)

  • Market Closing: Indian indices fell sharply on Monday for the fourth straight session. Benchmark indices, which resumed trading after a long holiday, faced heavy losses, with the Sensex slipping over 1172.19 points, while the Nifty50 dropped over 302 points to end at 17,173.65.

Indian indices on Monday continued their losing streak for the fourth straight session, dragged down by heavyweights Infosys and HDFC twins amid weak Asian cues. On the sectoral front, IT sector stocks plunged close to 5%, while banks, telecom and financials dropped around 2% each. The crisis in Ukraine deepened, resulting in higher crude prices on fears of further sanctions on Russia. Rising inflation elevated expectations of rate hikes by the US Fed, weighing on market sentiments as investors lost around 4 lakh crore. Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai, while markets in Europe, Hong Kong, and Sydney were closed for holidays.

18 Apr 2022, 03:44:19 PM IST

Sensex slumps 1172 pts, Nifty ends below 17,200; IT, banks, financials bleed

Indian indices declined sharply on Monday after recording heavy losses in IT and banking stocks amid weak Asian trends. Rising inflation, high crude prices, and deepening of Russia-Ukraine crisis weighed on market sentiments.

The Sensex slipped 1172.19 points, or 2.01%, to close at 57,166.74, while Nifty50 lost 302 points to end at 17,173.65. IT, bank, financials, realty, and telecom were the worst performing sectors, while buying was seen in auto, power, FMCG, and metals.

On the 30-stock index, the most gains were made by NTPC, Tata Steel, and Maruti among others, while Infosys, HDFC twins, TCS and TechM were among the biggest losers.

On Nifty50, NTPC, SBI Life, Tata Steel, and HDFC Life made the most gains, while Infosys, HDFC Bank, HDFC, and TechM were among the biggest laggards.

Sensex at close
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Sensex at close
18 Apr 2022, 03:23:08 PM IST

What Holcim's likely exit from India means for cement sector's pricing power

The cement sector is in the headlines, yet again, but this time, it is not for cost inflation pressure issues. Investors in the sector may need to prepare for the announcement of a landmark deal. Media reports said Switzerland-based building materials conglomerate Holderind Investments Ltd (Holcim) is looking to exit India and is exploring a stake sale in Ambuja Cements Ltd.

18 Apr 2022, 03:11:03 PM IST

With demand soaring, NTPC on strong footing

Shares of NTPC Ltd hit a new 52-week of 163.15 apiece on Monday on the NSE. So far this calendar year, the stock has surged by around 31%. One reason for the optimism on the NTPC stock is that the Street hopes that the company will be able to fetch higher valuations for its renewable energy assets.

18 Apr 2022, 03:02:07 PM IST

Muthoot Finance approves interim dividend. Details here

Muthoot Finance on Monday said its board has approved an interim dividend of 20 per share, according to an exchange filing.

18 Apr 2022, 02:50:35 PM IST

Views of Naveen Kulkarni, chief investment officer, Axis Securities on market performance today

We expect FY23 to witness continued volatility in equity markets, especially in the first half of the year with rising interest rates globally and high inflation, which is expected to persist. In this scenario, we expect money to move from long-duration debt funds to equity funds in the second half of the year, which should bode well for equities. We continue to remain positive on sectors like Metals, Hospitals, Hospitality, Oil Refining, Capital Goods, etc. Some underperforming sectors might include Discretionary Consumption, IT, NBFCs, etc.


18 Apr 2022, 02:44:36 PM IST

Mindtree drops over 3% after reports of merger with L&T Infotech

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18 Apr 2022, 02:37:36 PM IST

BSE MidCap slips 1%; Adani Power, JSW Energy, NHPC lead, MPhasis, Tata Power drag

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18 Apr 2022, 02:35:24 PM IST

Stock market investors lose ₹4 lakh crore in today's meltdown: 10 updates

Indian stock markets benchmark Sensex fell nearly 1500 points today amid weak global cues and losses in IT stocks, wiping out nearly 4 lakh crore of investor wealth. Infosys crashed 9% on missing March-quarter profit estimates, while inflation concerns globally also weighed on investors' sentiment. The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 1.9% to 17,142.50. The

18 Apr 2022, 02:24:04 PM IST

IDFC's record date for interim dividend this week. Details inside

IDFC Ltd's had announced that its its board of directors have considered and declared an interim dividend of 10% i.e. 1 per equity share of the company. The company has fixed Wednesday, April 20, 2022 as the record date for the interim dividend.

18 Apr 2022, 02:13:45 PM IST

Indian bond yields off session highs on short-covering; rupee near 1-month low

The Indian rupee dropped on Monday to its lowest in nearly a month against the dollar, tracking losses in the stock market and weighed by sharp gains in global crude oil prices, while bond yields pulled back from session highs on short-covering.

Oil prices climbed to their highest in nearly three weeks as fears over tight global supply grew, with the deepening crisis in Ukraine raising the prospect of heavier sanctions by the West on top exporter Russia. [O/R]

India imports more than two-thirds of its oil requirements and rising prices tend to push up imported inflation and widen the country's trade and current account deficits.

The partially convertible rupee was trading at 76.28/29 per dollar versus its close of 76.1750 on Wednesday. Earlier in the session, it touched a low of 76.43, its weakest since March 22.

18 Apr 2022, 02:04:16 PM IST

L&T Infotech, Mindtree to merge to create $22-bn entity: Report

Larsen & Toubro Ltd. is weighing a merger between two of its publicly traded software firms, according to people familiar with the matter, as the Indian conglomerate seeks scale to compete with global digital giants.

18 Apr 2022, 01:57:58 PM IST

Windlas Biotech gains 13%; The firm's plant got no critical observation after inspection by European Union 

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18 Apr 2022, 01:45:05 PM IST

Top Sensex losers: Infosys, Tata Power, Bajaj Holdings biggest drag

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18 Apr 2022, 01:29:51 PM IST

Top Sensex gainers: Sunflag Iron & Steel leads with gains of over 14%

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18 Apr 2022, 01:22:10 PM IST

Sensex falls below 57,000 points, trades 2.34% lower

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18 Apr 2022, 01:13:48 PM IST

Investors' wealth tumbles over ₹3.39 lakh cr as markets plunge

Investors' wealth tumbled over 3.39 lakh crore in morning trade on Monday as equity markets went into a tailspin, with the Sensex plunging 1,291.93 points.

The BSE benchmark index tanked 1,291.93 points to 57,047 in morning trade after a weak opening.

Tracking the weak trend in equities, the market capitalisation of BSE-listed firms tumbled 3,39,088.04 crore to 2,68,63,975.53 crore.

18 Apr 2022, 01:13:12 PM IST

Axis Securities on Infosys after Q4 results

Axis Securities’ recommend a BUY rating on the stock and assign a 29x P/E multiple to its FY24E earnings of 71/share to arrive at a TP of 2,060/share, implying an upside of 18% from the CMP.

18 Apr 2022, 12:54:37 PM IST

This multibagger stock surges ahead of record date for bonus issue

Shares of Ducon Infratechnologies Ltd surged more than 6% in Monday's trading session at 28 apiece on the BSE, as the stock turned ex-bonus, a day ahead of its record date on April 19, 2022 for the bonus issue of equity shares in the ratio of 1:10.

18 Apr 2022, 12:34:53 PM IST

WPI inflation rises to 14.55% in March

Wholesale price-based inflation rises to 14.55 per cent in March, against 13.11 per cent in February: Govt data

18 Apr 2022, 12:33:01 PM IST

JSPL posts record steel production, sales in FY22

Private sector steel maker Jindal Steel & Power (JSP) has reported record sales of 0.79 million tonne (mt) in March and 7.63 mt in FY22, up 5.03% YoY.

18 Apr 2022, 12:20:54 PM IST

Japanese shares fall as higher U.S. yields weigh on tech stocks

Japan's Nikkei stock index fell for a second session on Monday in thin trade, dragged down by losses in technology shares after U.S. Treasury yields rose, as many markets were still shut for Easter holidays.

The Nikkei ended 1.08% lower at 26,799.71. Of the benchmark's 225 components, 181 declined versus 40 that rose.

The broader Topix lost 0.86% to 1,880.02.

18 Apr 2022, 12:13:21 PM IST

Fuel prices remain unchanged for 12th straight day

Domestic oil marketing companies (OMCs) kept retail prices of petrol and diesel unchanged for the 12th straight day on Monday.

18 Apr 2022, 12:09:18 PM IST

Dolly Khanna enters this multibagger chemical stock in Q4

Indian ace investor and stock market trader Dolly Khanna has added chemical stock Pondy Oxides and Chemicals Ltd (POCL) in her portfolio during the January-March 2022 period as her name appeared in the latest shareholding pattern of the company on the BSE.

18 Apr 2022, 11:59:26 AM IST

Tata Power shares may level off in near-term, says Edelweiss; remains positive on the stoc

Tata Power announced that a consortium led by US-based BlackRock led-consortium, including Mubadala, will invest 4,000 crore in its subsidiary, Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd, for over 10% equity stake. Tata Power shares plunged over 4% to 262 apiece on the BSE in Monday's early deals.

18 Apr 2022, 11:45:13 AM IST

Views of Saish Sandeep Sawant Dessai of Angel One on Commodities

Safe-haven appeal intact, Crude bounces back



After a relatively muted session in the previous week with marginal gains of 0.7 percent, gold was on course to post gains for a second straight week, gaining 1 percent.

The yellow metal started the week slightly higher after the prices cooled off as it reached near its one-month highs on the back of growing uncertainties between Russia and Ukraine. The former amasses its troops as it expects to begin an offensive in Eastern Ukraine after withdrawing the troops from Northern Ukraine.

The Russian president in his first public appearance said that the peace talks with Ukraine had hit a dead-end, this acted as another aid to support the gold prices. However, prices witnessed a pullback as the US treasury yield rose to its highest in over three years, and the strength in the dollar ahead of the US inflation data, capped the gains. The inflation numbers came at the highest since December 1981 at 8.5 percent.

A higher inflation number saw the treasury yield slip lower and eventually, the gold continued to move higher. Gold is considered a hedge against inflation. However, higher U.S. interest rates and yields increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion.

Outlook: The uncertainties pertaining to the geopolitical tension between Russia and Ukraine continue to increase the appeal for the safe-haven asset.


Crude after posting gains in the previous week even being under pressure for most of the sessions, continued the positive momentum in the following week as crude soared more than 13 percent.

After coming under pressure early during the week and eventually settling below the $100 mark, the IEA had agreed to release an additional 60 Mn barrels over six months in order to bring the rising crude prices under control.

Further, the oil prices bounced back as the fears of a supply shortage from the world's second-largest oil exporter will continue to tighten further after the Russian president said that the peace talks between the two countries came to a dead-end.

OPEC stated the current and future sanctions on Russia could create one of the worst ever oil supply shocks and it would be impossible to replace those volumes. Adding to the misery, the European Union is likely to be moving toward adopting a phased-in ban on Russian oil.

Outlook: Crude oil prices might remain elevated citing European Union’s decision to ban the Russian oil in a phased manner. We expect crude to trade higher towards 8250 levels.



All industrial base metals ended on a positive note for the recently concluded week, among which Zinc turned out to be the highest gainer, gaining 2.8 percent.

The galvanizing metal headed southwards near its record peak hit in November 2006, as the prices are on a high as depletion in the inventories at the LME registered warehouses coupled with smelters in Europe sitting idle because of high energy prices, has triggered a wave of a supply shortage of the metal used to galvanize steel.

Aluminum also managed to end the week on a high note after the prices slipped to the lowest level in over 3 weeks as growing worries of demand from the major metal consumer China still persists even after lockdown measures were eased despite new cases. Further, the prices were boosted after talks between the two countries hit a dead-end, raising concerns of a supply shortage from the major producer Russia, as it produces 6% of the world's aluminum and accounts for around 7% of global nickel mine supplies.

However, the gains in the metal index were capped after the dollar index hovered near its May 2020 highs after digesting the U.S. inflation data. A strong dollar makes the dollar-backed metals more expensive to buyers using other currencies.

Outlook: We expect copper to trade higher towards 836 levels, a break of which could prompt the price to move higher to 848 levels.

18 Apr 2022, 11:23:15 AM IST

Nifty Bank down almost 2%; HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda top losers

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18 Apr 2022, 11:14:41 AM IST

Sectoral indices: Nifty Bank, financial services, media down 2%, IT slumps over 4.5%

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18 Apr 2022, 11:07:54 AM IST

Broader market indices: Nifty50 down 2%, India VIX around 12

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18 Apr 2022, 11:03:42 AM IST

BSE Bank index deep in the red, down 2%; Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, Kotak Bank top losers

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18 Apr 2022, 10:42:42 AM IST

More levers to grow VNB; valuations attractive: ICICI Securities on ICICI Prudential Life Insurance

We remain enthused with IPRU Life’s product and channel diversification strides, which has made the business considerably more robust than before. This is illustrated by the fact that the Rs21.6bn FY22 VNB mix is split between 16% by ULIPs, 43% by protection and 41% by non-linked savings. While volume growth has been volatile, product/distribution levers are available for VNB (volume and margin) growth, which should ensure >15% RoEV. Current valuation at 2.2x/1.9x FY23E/FY24E P/EV is attractive. Maintain BUY.

18 Apr 2022, 10:27:42 AM IST

Domestic execution to improve; margin pressure remains: ICICI Securities on Engineering and Capital Goods sector

We expect execution for both EPC and product companies to pick up further in Q4FY22 with strong demand and resumption of stalled projects. However, margins are likely to be flat or under pressure due to sharp rise in commodity prices, supply chain constraints and higher logistic costs. By and large, ordering activity has been slow and below our expectations due to uncertainty in cost economics. However, certain pockets in the domestic market, e.g., civil infra, power T&D, railways and water, witnessed traction. We expect order finalisation in overseas markets to slow down due to geopolitical issues, which have led to current volatility. Nevertheless, the tender pipeline remains very healthy. We factor in revenue growth of 9% YoY / 30% QoQ in Q4FY22E for our coverage universe, given pick-up in domestic execution pace. Due to pressure on margins, EBITDA/PAT growth is expected to be 2% / 6% YoY (ex-BHEL). Our top picks are L&T, Siemens and KEC International. We are also positive on GE T&D on expectation of improving performance and order inflow, which would be mainly from T&D capex under the RDSS scheme and expected ordering of Rs800bn for Green Energy Corridor.

18 Apr 2022, 10:19:07 AM IST

ICICI Securities on India's IT sector

We truly believe tech spending will always be viewed as growth accelerator, but enterprises will also have to mitigate through high-inflationary environment and geopolitical tensions. Given the scale of disruption/uncertainty in Europe, we believe companies having higher exposure to Europe will be impacted. In our coverage, tier-1/tier-2/ER&D companies have an average exposure of 28%/19%/28% to Europe, respectively. With Indian IT sector already trading at 28x 1-year forward P/E, we believe much of growth and earnings expectations (digitisation, cloud migration etc.) over the next three years are already factored in share prices.

18 Apr 2022, 10:12:53 AM IST

Rupee slumps 24 paise to 76.43 against US dollar in early trade

The rupee declined 24 paise to 76.43 against the US dollar in the opening trade on Monday tracking the strength of the dollar and elevated crude oil prices.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened on a muted note at 76.41 against the American dollar, then fell and touched an early low of 76.43 in initial deals, registering a fall of 24 paise over its previous close.

18 Apr 2022, 10:07:58 AM IST

Sensex plunges 1,186 points in early trade; Nifty tests 17,160 level

Equity benchmark indices, which resumed trading after a long holiday, faced heavy drubbing on Monday, with the Sensex plunging over 1,186 points in early trade.

The key index was dragged down by heavyweights Infosys and HDFC Bank amid weak trend in Asian markets.

Stock markets were closed on Thursday for Mahavir Jayanti and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti, as well as on Friday on account of Good Friday.

The Sensex was trading 1,186.18 points lower at 57,152.75 in early trade. The Nifty tumbled 314.95 points to 17,160.70.

From the 30-share pack, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, TCS, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Wipro and HCL Technologies were among the major laggards in early trade.

In contrast, NTPC, Tata Steel, M&M, Maruti and Power Grid were among the gainers.

Shares of Infosys tanked 8.95 per cent to 1,592.05 on the BSE despite the country's second-largest software services firm last week reporting a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in consolidated net profit for the March quarter at 5,686 crore

HDFC Bank declined 3.35 per cent to 1,415.75 even as the largest domestic private sector lender Bank on Saturday posted a 22.8 per cent jump in its standalone net profit at 10,055.2 crore for the quarter ended March 2022.

18 Apr 2022, 10:01:22 AM IST

BSE IT index sheds 4.23%; Infosys, Aurum, TechM, BCG, Mindtree biggest losers

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18 Apr 2022, 09:54:59 AM IST

HDFC Bank sheds 3% in early trade; HDFC twins among the biggest losers

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18 Apr 2022, 09:52:55 AM IST

HDFC sheds 3%; The firm had recently announced merger with HDFC Bank

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18 Apr 2022, 09:49:15 AM IST

Tech Mahindra drops over 4% in early trade

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18 Apr 2022, 09:46:31 AM IST

Sensex volume toppers in early trade; Infosys, TCS, HDFC Bank lead

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18 Apr 2022, 09:39:27 AM IST

Infosys slumps over 7% in early trade; The IT firm posted lower-than-expected Q4 results

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18 Apr 2022, 09:29:56 AM IST

Nifty50 down 270 points at open; Infosys biggest loser

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18 Apr 2022, 09:27:11 AM IST

Sensex bleeds at open, down over 1000 points; NTPC up 2%, Infosys down 5.8%

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18 Apr 2022, 09:13:49 AM IST

Nifty50 at pre-open: ONGC up 1%, Infosys down over 8%, HDFC Bank sheds over 3% 

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18 Apr 2022, 09:11:35 AM IST

Sensex at pre-open: Just four stocks in the green, Infosys, HDFC bleed

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18 Apr 2022, 08:57:21 AM IST

Asian markets slide, China growth behind target

Asian stocks opened lower on Monday in cautious trade, as China posted higher-than-expected economic growth but officials still warned of "significant challenges ahead".

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 1.25 percent in early trade, while Hong Kong and Sydney were closed for holidays.

Stocks in Shanghai, which reported the first Covid-19 deaths since the start of its weeks-long lockdown, were slightly down.

China's largest city and economic powerhouse has stewed under a patchwork of lockdown restrictions this year amid the country's worst Covid-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

18 Apr 2022, 08:47:42 AM IST

Gold rises to five-week high with growing risks boosting havens

Gold rose to a five-week high as the war in Europe, elevated inflation, and the risk of a U.S. recession boosted demand for the haven asset.

The precious metal climbed as much as 0.5% in Asian trading after capping a second weekly gain. The strategically vital city of Mariupol hasn’t fallen, but its defenders are encircled by Russian forces, Ukrainian officials said, hours after Kyiv warned of a possible naval landing operation and more air strikes.

The possibility of a de facto European Union embargo on Russian gas and the threat of some curbs on crude in Europe’s next sanctions package bolstered both commodities. That’s adding to already elevated raw material prices, fueling demand for gold as a hedge against accelerating inflation.

18 Apr 2022, 08:42:29 AM IST

FPIs turn net sellers again, withdraw over ₹4,500-cr from stocks last week

Adopting a cautious stance, foreign investors have pulled over 4,500 crore from the Indian equity market last week on fears of an aggressive rate hike by US Federal Reserve.

This comes following a net investment of 7,707 crore by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) during April 1-8 as a correction in the markets provided a good buying opportunity, data with depositories showed.

Prior to that, FPIs remained net sellers for six months to March 2022, withdrawing a massive net amount of 1.48 lakh crore from equities.

These were largely on the back of anticipation of a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve and due to the deteriorating geopolitical environment following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Sonam Srivastava, Founder at Wright Research, a Sebi-registered investment advisor, said, "We are hoping for FPIs to come back to India in a big way when the Ukraine crisis eases as our valuations have become highly competitive".

18 Apr 2022, 08:37:37 AM IST

Earnings, global cues to dictate market trend this week: Analysts

Quarterly earnings and global trends would be the major driving factors for the equity markets this week as trading resumes after a long holiday, said analysts.

The Russia-Ukraine war and the COVID-19 situation in China would be monitored for further cues, they added.

"As earnings season gathers pace, D-Street will be eyeing quarterly results to gauge future trajectory of market.

"As no major global or domestic macroeconomic events are expected this week, stock-specific movements will be more pronounced and whipsaw movements can be witnessed as a result of earnings hits and misses," said Yesha Shah, Head of Equity Research, Samco Securities.

WPI inflation for March is scheduled to be announced on Monday.

Ajit Mishra, VP - Research, Religare Broking Ltd, said, markets will react to two major earnings -- Infosys and HDFC Bank -- on Monday.

India's second-largest software services firm Infosys last week posted a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in consolidated net profit for the March quarter at 5,686 crore, as it projected 13-15 per cent revenue growth for FY23 on the back of a "strong demand environment" and "robust deal pipeline".

18 Apr 2022, 07:59:19 AM IST

Axis Securities: Q4FY22 Earnings preview report

Q4FY22 is expected to be a roller coaster quarter with COVID 3.0 impacting the first month of the quarter. However, Feb’22 witnessed some recovery as fewer fatalities revived the confidence in improving health conditions and thereby diminished the risk parameters. The positive impact of reduced health hazards and subsequent opening up of the economy improved overall business conditions, manifested in the recovery in the high-frequency indicators such as E-way bills, GST collection, and the power demand.

However, the economic recovery is traversing through a tougher path as escalated geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine during the second half of the quarter has created roadblocks and has led to higher commodity and oil prices. While the elevated oil and the commodity prices have posed some challenges to the margins during the quarter, the impact of the higher commodity prices is more likely to be visible in the next quarter than Q4FY22 on account of a) Only 1/3rd of the quarter getting impacted due to elevated prices b) Assuming the FIFO (first in first out) inventory, the impact of raw material purchased in Feb’22 and Mar’22 to be more visible in the next quarter (Q1FY23).

Key Highlights for Q4FY22

· Stable asset quality trend for the BFSI sector

· Excellent quarter for Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas

· Strong growth for IT & Services

· Higher RM cost likely to hit Automobile profitability in Q1FY23

· Cost inflation to hurt margins of Cement and Specialty Chemical sectors

· Margins remain critical for FMCG companies

Top 10 trading buys:

SBI, ICICI bank, Tata Steel, Nalco, Ashok Leyland, Eicher Motors, PSP Projects, ITC, Varun beverages, Tech Mahindra

18 Apr 2022, 07:44:54 AM IST

Tokyo stocks open lower after US close

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Monday in cautious trade, with few clues for the market following a holiday on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 1.25 percent, or 337.67 points, at 26,755.52 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.87 percent, or 16.46 points, to 1,879.85.

"Japanese shares are moving in a narrow range with a dearth of market-moving material because of the US market closure," senior market analyst Toshiyuki Kanayama of Monex said in a commentary.

Investors are closely watching China's GDP data for the January-March quarter due during Tokyo morning trade hours, he added.

18 Apr 2022, 07:32:26 AM IST

Oil prices rise on supply concerns as Ukraine crisis deepens

Oil prices rose on Monday as concerns grew about tighter global supply, with the deepening crisis in Ukraine raising the prospect of heavier sanctions by the West on top exporter Russia.

Brent futures were up $1.50, or 1.3%, at $113.20 a barrel at 0030 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose 98 cents, or 0.9%, to $107.93 a barrel.

Ahead of Easter weekend holidays, both contracts gained more than 2.5% on Thursday on news that the European Union might phase in a ban on Russian oil imports.

EU governments said last week the bloc's executive was drafting proposals to ban Russian crude, but diplomats said Germany was not actively supporting an immediate embargo.

Those comments came before tensions grew in the Ukraine crisis over the weekend, with Ukrainian soldiers resisting a Russian ultimatum to lay down arms on Sunday in the pulverised port of Mariupol. Moscow, which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation", said its forces had almost completely seized the city, providing no signs of a ceasefire.

The International Energy Agency had warned that roughly 3 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil could be shut in from May onwards due to sanctions, or buyers voluntarily shunning Russian cargoes.

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