Sensex gives up day of gains to end flat on fag-end sell-offs

Sensex gives up day of gains to end flat on fag-end sell-offs

Sensex gives up day of gains to end flat on fag-end sell-offs
Bolstered by slew of market-friendly measures initiated by Sebi, the Sensex rose over 239 points to hit a lifetime high of 31,523, only to surrender most of the gains at the fag end of the session today as bouts of sell-off gained pace amid weak oil prices in international markets.

The benchmark S&P index started higher and quickly rebounded to hit an all-time high of 31,522.87, lapping up a series of market-friendly measures taken by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

The NSE Nifty, however, ended down 3.60 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 9,630. Intra-day, it hovered between 9,698.85 and 9,617.75.

However, emergence of profit-booking by participants at record levels forced the Sensex to give up initial gains to slip into the negative territory and touched a low of 31,255.63 but finally settled with a marginal rise of 7.10 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 31,290.74.

During the session, it breached the previous lifetime high of 31,430.32, recorded on June 6.

"Indian markets started the day on a positive note and traded with momentum through the day. However, a bout of profit booking in late afternoon trade pulled indices lower to finally close the day near the flat line," Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager – Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund said.

Yesterday, regulator Sebi relaxed entry norms for overseas investors, rationalised 'fit and proper' criteria as also simplified other requirements.

The watchdog also decided to expand eligible jurisdiction for grant of FPI registration by including countries with diplomatic tie-ups with India.

"Domestic enthusiasm can partially be attributed to robust Asian markets which edged higher as crude oil prices inched up after hitting a 10-month low overnight. Once again, metals shares were gripped by bears as the metals index on the National Stock Exchange lost more than 1 per cent, in trade today," Lakshmanan added.

The gauge had lost 27.93 points in the previous two sessions.

Internationally, crude oil plunged into bear phase on Thursday at USD 44.82 a barrel after a brief recovery early in the session. A glut of physical supply looms large from non- OPEC countries which weighed on sentiments.

The rupee too put some pressure, trading lower by 6 paise at 64.58 (intra-day) against the dollar.

Meanwhile, minutes from the RBI's monetary policy committee revealed a less hawkish tone as it welcomed data showing inflation easing below target, but wanted more assurance the trend would continue before deciding whether to lower interest rates.

Banking stocks were instrumental in driving today's gains. Shares of SBI rose 1.50 per cent, Kotak Bank up 0.58 per cent and Axis Bank gained 0.07 per cent while Yes Bank rose 1.45 per cent, lifting the Nifty Bank Index by 0.12 per cent.

Shares of IDFC Bank ended flat even as the RBI removed the restriction on foreign investment in the company after the shareholding of overseas investors fell below the prescribed level.

Sector-wise, barring the BSE bankex which managed to end 0.16 per cent up, all others ended in the negative terrain.

Foreign funds sold shares net Rs 152.82 crore yesterday and DIIs sold 41.39 crore, as per the provisional figures.

Major gainers that helped Sensex to end a tad higher were HDFC Ltd, Reliance Industries, Bajaj Auto, Asian Paint, M&M, Maruti Suzuki, Kotak Bank and ITC Ltd, rising by up to 1.41 per cent.

Laggards that pulled down the benchmark from record highs were ONGC, Hind Unilever, Lupin, PowerGrid, Dr Reddy's, Coal India, Hero MotoCorp, Bharti Airtel, NTPC, L&T, Tata Motors, Tata Motors DVR, Tata Steel, ICICI Bank, Wipro, TCS, Infosys and Cipla, falling by up to 2.82 per cent.

The broader markets too fell in tandem with overall trend with the mid-cap index falling by 0.59 per cent and small-cap index by 0.55 per cent.

Overseas, European stocks edged lower as investors reacted to falling oil prices and ongoing weakness in commodities-related sectors. Paris, Frankfurt and London stock exchanges were down in their early deals.

Asian stocks too closed lower. Key indices in Asia like China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.28 per cent, Japan's Nikkei shed 0.14 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.08 per cent.