Domestic stock markets began the last session of year 2020 on a negative note amid thin trade in Asian markets due to holidays, though investors remained optimistic on the prospect of a fast recovery from the coronavirus-caused slowdown. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell 144.1 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 47,602.12 at the weakest level recorded in morning deals after a flat opening, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark slid to as low as 13,936.45, down 45.50 points, or 0.33 per cent, from its previous close. Selling pressure in banking, financial services and IT shares weighed on the markets. (Also Read: Stocks To Watch Today)
Caution prevailed ahead of the expiration of December series derivatives contracts due by the end of the day, say analysts.
The country’s current account surplus — or the difference by which exports exceed imports — shrank to $15.5 billion in the July-September period, from a record $19.2 billion in the previous quarter, as its merchandise trade deficit grew, RBI data showed on Wednesday.
The surplus stood at 2.4 per cent of the gross domestic product, compared with a deficit of $7.6 billion, or 1.1 per cent, in the corresponding period last year.
The recent current account surpluses — three straight quarters — has largely been caused by a decline in the country’s trade deficit, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by a drop in economic activity
Equity markets elsewhere in Asia edged higher on Thursday, and were set to end a tumultuous 2020 at record highs, while growing investor hopes for a global economic recovery caused the dollar to fall further against most major currencies.
MSCI’s gauge of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan rose 0.10 per cent to its latest peak, having explored fresh territory repeatedly late in the year. However, year-end trading was typically thin.
The index is set for a fourth-quarter gain of over 19 per cent, which would be its strongest three-month performance since 2009, and a yearly rise just shy of 20 per cent, which would be its highest since 2017.
Chinese blue chips rose 1.45 per cent on Thursday after official data showed that activity in China’s service and factory sector expanded in December, albeit both at a slower pace than the previous month. The Hong Kong benchmark also rose 0.26 per cent.
The financial markets in Japan and South Korea are on holiday.
The E-Mini S&P futures traded 0.10 per cent higher at the last count, indicating a positive start for Wall Street on Thursday.