Mumbai : The key Indian equity indices — Sensex and Nifty50 — slipped from record highs to close in the red on Friday as investors turned cautious ahead of the start of the quarterly earnings result season on January 11.
IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is expected to be the first blue-chip company to come out with its third quarter results on January 11, followed by Infosys on Friday.
According to market observers, broadly negative global cues and heavy selling pressure in consumer durables, auto and banking stocks added to the downward trajectory of the key indices.
On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged lower by 4.80 points or 0.05 per cent to 10,632.20 points.
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at a record high level of 34,538.78 points, touched a fresh high of 34,565.63 points on an intra-day basis.
The Sensex closed at 34,433.07 points — down 10.12 points or 0.03 per cent — from its previous session’s close.
The BSE market breadth was bearish as 1,629 stocks declined as compared to 1,299 advances.
“Markets traded in a narrow range on Wednesday before finally closing with marginal losses,” Deepak Jasani, Head, Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.
“Major Asian markets have closed on a negative note, barring the Shanghai and Hang Seng indices. European indices like DAX and CAC 40 traded in the red,” Jasani said.
In the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 0.31 per cent and the small-cap index by 0.04 per cent.
According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, caution prevailed in the equity markets ahead of the corporate results season kicking in towards the end of the week.
“Benchmark indices gave up gains as investors remained cautious ahead of key corporate earnings later this week and the federal budget next month,” Desai told IANS.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by 12 paise to close at 63.59 against the US dollar from its previous close at 63.71.
Provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 572.26 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 600.24 crore.
Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Investors turned little nervous ahead of earnings season, while IT index outperformed on account of relief from US H1B visa norms and expectation of positive outlook helped to recoup the losses.”
Sectorwise, the S&P BSE auto index declined by 180.37 points, followed by consumer durables index by 156.80 points and banking index by 90.67 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE IT index rose by 209.76 points, Teck index by 93.70 points and realty index by 31.55 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: TCS, up 3.64 per cent at Rs 2,807.10; Wipro, up 2.66 per cent at Rs 326.05; Coal India, up 1.33 per cent at Rs 308.10; Adani Ports, up 1.05 per cent at Rs 423.75; and Infosys, up 0.99 per cent at Rs 1,051.60.
Major Sensex losers were: Dr Reddy’s Lab, down 1.45 per cent at Rs 2,422.80; Tata Motors (DVR), down 1.31 per cent at Rs 253.20; NTPC, down 1.25 per cent at Rs 173.95; Asian Paints, down 1.22 per cent at Rs 1,177.40; and Bajaj Auto, down 1.10 per cent at Rs 3,205.35.