Equity indices took a knock for the second straight session on Monday as lacklustre macroeconomic data and a rising trend in COVID-19 cases dented risk appetite. A sharp jump in the rupee was not enough to shore up sentiment, traders said. After gyrating 1,035.71 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended 397 points or 0.78 per cent lower at 50,395.08. The broader NSE Nifty slumped 101.45 points or 0.67 per cent to close at 14,929.50. Banking and finance stocks bore the brunt of the losses, while the IT pack buckled the trend. Bajaj Finserv was the top loser among the Sensex constituents, shedding 2.68 per cent, followed by Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, L&T, Asian Paints, Dr Reddy’s, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries. On the other hand, Tech Mahindra, PowerGrid, IndusInd Bank, HCL Tech and NTPC were among the gainers, jumping up to 2.22 per cent.
According to Binod Modi, Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities, domestic equities witnessed sharp sell-off for the second consecutive trading day as mounting concerns about resurgence of COVID-19 cases in various parts of the country and rising bond yields made investors jittery. “Further, unexpected contraction in IIP data for January 2021 and sharp spike in CPI print also weighed on sentiments,” he said.
Industrial production growth re-entered the negative territory by contracting by 1.6 per cent in January, while retail inflation soared to a three-month high of 5.03 per cent in February on costlier food items, as per data released post market hours on Friday. Further, the wholesale price-based inflation rose for the second consecutive month in February to 4.17 per cent, as food, fuel and power prices spiked. Sector-wise, BSE energy, finance, healthcare, capital goods, industrials and bankex fell up to 1.20 per cent, while metal, power, utilities and IT rose as much as 1.49 per cent. Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices slipped up to 0.72 per cent. Global stocks remained firm despite elevated bond yields, while investors awaited cues from the US Federal Reserve meeting later this week.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Seoul were in the red, while Hong Kong and Tokyo ended on a positive note. Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with gains in mid-session deals.
Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.01 per cent lower at USD 69.21 per barrel. The rupee surged 33 paise to finish at 72.46 against the US dollar. India recorded 26,291 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, its highest single-day spike in 85 days. Registering an upward trend for five days in a row, the total active caseload has gone up to 2,19,262. Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu account for 78.41 per centof the new cases, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.