Domestic stock markets recovered nearly all of the day’s losses on Friday following two days of surge, hours ahead of the release of official gross domestic product (GDP) data for the January-March period. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 1.17 per cent – or 376.79 points – to 31,823.80 during the choppy session, having briefly traded in the positive zone after starting the day down 159.3 points at 32,041.29. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark fluctuated between gains and losses, moving within a range of 9,376.90-9,520.45 as against its previous close of 9,490.10. Gains in automobile, consumer goods and pharmaceutical stocks countered losses in financial shares
At 11:26 am, the Sensex traded 26.98 points – or 0.08 per cent – lower at 32,173.61 while the Nifty was up 13.15 points – or 0.14 per cent – at 9,503.25.
Thirty four shares in the Nifty basket of 50 components moved higher. Top percentage gainers were Bharti Infratel, Wipro, Eicher Motors, Bajaj Auto and UPL,, trading between 2.68 per cent and 5.96 per cent higher. On the other hand, Adani Ports, Titan, Tata Motors, Axis Bank and Bharti Airtel – down between 1.39 per cent and 1.87 per cent each – were the top Nifty laggards.
Market breadth, however, favoured gains with an advance-decline ratio of 2:1, as 1,110 stocks moved higher on the NSE against 546 that traded lower. On the BSE, 1,229 shares advanced while 711 declined.
Analysts awaited the GDP data due at 5:30 pm for more clarity on the damage caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has pushed the economy into a standstill and forced many businesses to trim workforce impacting a large sum of workers.
According to the median forecast from a poll of economists by news agency Reuters, the country’s GDP grew 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, lower than 4.7 per cent in the previous quarter.
However, the full impact of the lockdown on manufacturing and services will become more apparent in the June quarter, with Goldman Sachs predicting a 45 per cent contraction from a year ago.
Equities elsewhere in Asia moved lower amid rising US-China tensions, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan last seen trading down 0.14 per cent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225, China’s Shanghai Composite, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s KOSPI indices were down 0.28 per cent, 0.04 per cent, 0.34 per cent and 0.15 per cent at the time respectively.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were down 0.32 per cent, indicating a negative start for Wall Street on Friday. Overnight in the US, the S&P 500 benchmark index closed 0.21 per cent lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.58 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.46 per cent.
On Thursday, the Sensex had ended 595.37 points – or 1.88 per cent – higher at 32,200.59 and the Nifty settled at 9,490.10, up 175.15 points – or 1.88 per cent – from its previous close, as both indices extended gains to a second straight session backed by strong buying interest in banking shares.