India's benchmark equity indices closed lower on Wednesday, but off the day’s lows, tracking losses in Asian peers. Investor sentiment was subdued as Iran fired missiles at airbases housing US troops in Iraq, deepening concern over geopolitical turmoil in the region.
The BSE Sensex fell 51.73 points, or 0.13% to close at 40,817.74 points. The broader Nifty50 index slipped 27.60 points, or 0.71% to close at 12,025.35 points.
Tehran retaliated to Washington's killing of its top military commander by launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeted at US military forces in Iraq. Iranian foreign minister Mohamad Javad Zarif tweeted "we do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."
Following news of the attack, US President Donald Trump tweeted "All is well!", adding that an assessment of casualties was taking place.
Other Asian markets also closed lower, with. Japan’s Nikkei225 index dipping 1.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index down 0.8% and China's Shanghai Composite index falling 1.2%.
Back home, the BSE MidCap and BSE Smallcap index gained 0.08% and 0.16% respectively. The market breadth was weak. On the BSE, 1013 shares rose and 1445 shares fell. A total of 180 shares were unchanged. On the Nifty 50, 21 stocks advanced while 29 stocks declined.
Infosys, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra, ONGC, Sun Pharma, Hero MotoCorp, and Titan fell more than 1% and were the top laggards among the Sensex constituents. On the other hand, TCS, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Finance and UltraTech Cement rose over 1% and were the top gainers.
The National Statistical Office on Tuesday forecast India's GDP to grow in 5% in fiscal 2019-20, slower than the previous year's 6.8% and in line with the Reserve Bank of India estimate. Real GVA growth is estimated at 4.9% in 2019-20 as against 6.6% in 2018-19.
Yes Bank gained 2.1% to close at ₹46.05 after the bank said its board will meet on 10 January to consider fund raising. Meanwhile, Yes Bank has been banned from trading in NSE's F&O segment after the security crossed 95% of market wide position limit.
Eicher Motors shares fell for the seventh straight day, down 4.38% to ₹19,892.75, on weak December sales.
Shares of Goa Carbon were locked in the 5% upper circuit at ₹2,30.4 after the company reported its December production numbers. Production of Calcined Production Coke surged 76.7% to 11,111.800 MT in December.
Ramco Systems gained 3.7% to close at ₹171.80 as it has secured a multi-million-dollar global payroll and workforce management deal from a leading Australian university. With this win, Ramco will expand its foothold in the higher education vertical.
LT Foods rose more than 13% after the company launched a rice snack in the Indian market.