Anxiety over Q3, trade war concerns cap gains; Sensex up only 0.15%

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Bombay Stock Exchange. (File Photo: IANS)
Bombay Stock Exchange. (File Photo: IANS)

Despite healthy inflow of foreign funds and a strong rupee, Indian key equity indices closed Thursday’s trade session on a flat-to-positive note. Investors were cautious ahead of the index heavy-weights’ quarterly results.

Global concerns over US-China trade tensions capped gains.

Even stock-specific buying led equity indices to make gains. However, broadly mixed global cues and caution ahead of the third quarter earning results of Reliance Industries and Hindustan Unilever hampered the upward trajectory.

Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex closed just 52.79 points or 0.15 per cent higher after it shuttled between a high of 36,468.42 and a low of 36,170.80.

It opened around 100 points up at 36,413.60 from its previous close of 36,321.29.

The broader NSE Nifty50 ended, up 14.90 points and 0.14 per cent at 10,905.20.

“Local stocks nudged higher in early trade on positive global stocks. However, volatility subsequently struck bourses in early afternoon trade as investor sentiment got impacted by global worries,” said Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager-Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.

“Asian stocks were trading mixed as concerns about rising US-China tensions offset signs of a better-than-expected start to the earnings season.”

Globally, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government survived a vote of no-confidence in the Parliament, a day after her proposed Brexit plan was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers.

Nevertheless, analysts said European markets took little cheer from this and continued to trade on a weak note.

According to Geojit Financial Services Head of Research Vinod Nair: “Despite weak global cues, domestic market managed to trade on a positive territory supported by stock specific buying and strong rupee.”

“Investors are expecting a silver lining from the Q3 results as fall in oil prices and ease in inflation provide operational efficiency to the business. On global front, trade tensions and risk of recession will cast cloud over the sentiment while lack of major triggers in the domestic market could steer a range bound movement in the near term,” Nair said.

Sector-wise, oil and gas and finance stocks led the gains on the Sensex. The index pivotal, banking stocks, erased early losses to end flat, while the healthcare shares declined 0.9 per cent.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee recovered some ground against the US dollar, gaining 19 paise to 71.05 per US dollar against the previous close of 71.24.

In terms of investments, FIIs bought shares worth Rs 842.13 crore, whereas DIIs sold Rs 727.46 crore stocks on Thursday.

“Technically, the Nifty continues to consolidate after the hefty rally seen on Tuesday. Further upsides are likely once the immediate resistances of 10,930 are taken out,” said Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities.

“Crucial supports to watch for any weakness are now at 10,844.”

Stock-wise, Axis Bank, HCL, HDFC, TCS and Kotak Mahindra Bank gained in the range of one to two per cent.

In contrast, Sun Pharma lost over five per cent, followed by Yes Bank which declined over three per cent. State Bank of India, Bajaj Finance, Hindustan Unilever declined between one to two per cent.