Benchmark indices ended marginally lower in the volatile session on March 24. Benchmark indices whipsawed in trade on Thursday, the day of weekly F&O expiry, as geopolitical tensions between Ukraine and Russia remained unabated. Besides, Brent crude prices above $120 per barrel also added to investor woes.
At close, the Sensex was down 89.14 points or 0.15 per cent at 57,595.68, and the Nifty was down 22.90 points or 0.13 per cent at 17,222.80. About 1426 shares have advanced, 1888 shares declined, and 100 shares are unchanged.
Dr Reddy’s Labs (up nearly 5 per cent) was the top Nifty gainer today, followed by Coal India, Hindalco, Cipla, NTPC, JSW Steel, Tech M, and RIL. On the downside, Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank, Titan, ICICI Bank, HDFC, Maruti Suzuki, Divis Labs, BPCL, Tata Consumer Products, BPCL, and M&M slipped between 1 per cent and 3 per cent, keeping a lid on the upside.
The broader markets, on the contrary, held their ground and outperformed the headline indices. The BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices added up to 0.3 per cent amid gains in Zee Entertainment, Mindtree, Jindal Steel, Mphasis, Glenmark Pharma, Suven Pharma, Ganesh Housing, Future Retail, and Dish TV.
Among the lot, shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (Zee) surged 20 per cent to Rs 307 on the BSE in Thursday’s trade after the company’s largest shareholder, Invesco, decided to withdraw its EGM requisition notice, which sought removal of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD & CEO) Punit Goenka from the board of ZEE.
That apart, those of Paytm jumped 13.5 per cent to Rs 595 apiece on the BSE in the intra-day trade on the back of heavy volumes.
Among sectors, the Nifty Bank and Private Bank indices declined over 1.5 per cent each, followed by the the Nifty Consumer Durable index, down 1.4 per cent. On the upside, the Nifty Media and Metal indices rose 6 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.
Narendra Solanki, head-equity research (fundamental), Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers, said: “Indian markets opened on a positive note tracking upbeat Asian market cues as investors react to Fed hike. During the afternoon session, the markets traded firms on account of buying in frontline counters. Also, FPIs turning buyers after a long time and softness in crude also supported the markets. Adding to the optimism, traders cheered the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry’s statement that the bilateral trade in goods is projected to increase from the current $60 billion to $100 billion annually within five years of the implementation of the India-UAE free trade agreement.”
Meanwhile, Russia plans to resume some stock trading on Thursday after a near month-long hiatus, with 33 rouble securities to be traded on the Moscow Exchange. Non-residents will have to wait, though – they will be barred from selling stocks and OFZ rouble bonds until April 1.