Equity benchmark Sensex dropped 155 points on Friday, tracking losses in index heavyweights ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank amid largely negative cues from global markets. The 30-share BSE index ended 154.89 points or 0.31 per cent lower at 49,591.32.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 38.95 points or 0.26 per cent to 14,834.85. Bajaj Finance was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by UltraTech Cement, NTPC, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Reliance Industries, L&T and HDFC Bank.
On the other hand, Sun Pharma, HUL, Tech Mahindra and Dr Reddy’s were among the gainers. “Domestic equities traded range-bound with continued selling pressure from financials. Further, weak cues from Asian markets and concerns of sharp rise in Covid-19 cases across the country weighed on sentiments," said Binod Modi, Head Strategy at Reliance Securities.
While financials remained a drag, pharma stocks witnessed strong buying due to expectations of improvement in sales volume in the backdrop of spike in new coronavirus cases, he said, adding IT stocks remained in focus ahead of results next week. He stated that continued sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the country and resultant mobility restrictions are expected to weigh on investor sentiment in the near term. Further, recent weakness in the rupee may also aggravate investors’ concerns and adversely impact FPIs flows, he added.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul ended in the red, while Tokyo finished with gains. Top stock exchanges in Europe were largely trading on a negative note in mid-session deals.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.27 per cent lower at USD 63.03 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the rupee fell for the fifth straight session and settled 15 paise down at 74.73 (provisional) against the US dollar on Friday as rising Covid-19 cases, weak domestic equities and strengthening American currency weighed on investors’ sentiment. At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 74.75 against the greenback and traded in the range of 74.53 to 74.96 during the day.
The rupee finally ended at 74.73 against the American currency, registering a fall of 15 paise over its previous close. On Thursday, the rupee had settled at 74.58 against the American currency. This is the fifth straight session of loss for the domestic unit, during which it has seen depreciation of 161 paise.
“Rupee traded weak yet again as the weak trend continues on the back of government spending on vaccines and treatment of Covid-19 increasing numbers," said Jateen Trivedi, Senior Research Analyst at LKP Securities. Trivedi further noted that “74.75 is now maintained as resistance for the rupee. Going ahead 74.75 - 75.25 range can be seen with the weak trend for rupee".
India registered a record single-day spike of 1,31,968 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, pushing its infection tally to 1,30,60,542, while the death toll increased to1,67,642with 780 more fatalities in a day, highest since October 18, the Union Health Ministry data showed. Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, advanced 0.25 per cent to 92.29.
Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, was trading 0.30 per cent down at USD 63.01 per barrel. On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 154.89 points or 0.31 per cent lower at 49,591.32, while the broader NSE Nifty declined by 38.95 points or 0.26 per cent to 14,834.85.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market and purchased shares worth 110.85 crore on Thursday, according to exchange data.