Domestic stock markets started Thursday’s session on a lacklustre note amid weakness in global peers, as the country remained in an extended lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 1.02 per cent – or 322.79 points – to 31,362.96 in the first few minutes of trade, following a flat start at 31,677.69. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark slid to as low as 9,175.90, having started the day down 36.85 points at 9,234.05 compared to its previous close of 9,270.90.
At 9:26 am, the Sensex traded 149.11 points – or 0.47 per cent – lower at 31,536.64 while the Nifty was down 35.25 points – or 0.38 per cent – at 9,235.65.
Thirty stocks in the Nifty basket of 50 shares moved lower at the time. Top percentage losers were Hindustan Unilever, ONGC, Bharat Petroleum, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Wipro, trading between 2.33 per cent and 5.08 per cent lower.
On the other hand, Bajaj Finance, Axis Bank, Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharma and Adani Ports – up between 1.63 per cent and 2.15 per cent each – were the top Nifty gainers.
Market breadth, however, favoured gains as 630 stocks traded higher on the BSE against 451 that moved in the opposite direction. On the NSE, 858 stocks advanced while 640 declined.
Yes Bank shares jumped as much as 9.87 per cent to touch the Rs 28.95 mark on the BSE, a day after the private sector lender reported a net profit of Rs 2,628.61 crore for the March quarter as against a net loss of Rs 1,506.64 crore for the corresponding period a year ago.
Analysts awaited more large cap companies to report their financial results for the quarter ended March 31 for near-term direction.
Equities elsewhere in Asia were under pressure as downbeat economic data pushed investors to safe havens and growing worries about falling demand sent oil prices lower. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was last seen trading 0.25 per cent lower on Thursday.
Japan’s Nikkei 225, China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Heng Seng indices were down 0.22 per cent, 0.27 per cent and 0.58 per cent at the time.
Overnight in the US, equities settled mostly lower. The S&P 500 index closed 0.7 per cent weaker after a late-day selloff while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.91 per cent, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.51 per cent.
US futures – the E-mini futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index – moved 0.28 per cent lower, indicating a lower start for Wall Street later in the day.
Traders continue to be torn between signs that consumers and businesses are emerging from the economic paralysis caused by the coronavirus and the reality that the pandemic continues to choke global demand.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe had shed 0.42 per cent on Wednesday.
Back home, private sector lender ICICI Bank is due to report its March quarter earnings on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the domestic stock markets had ended a volatile session lower with the Sensex closing 232.24 points (0.74 per cent) lower at 31,685.75 and the Nifty settling at 9,270.90, down 65.30 points or 0.71 per cent compared to its previous close.