Domestic stock markets ended a choppy session on Wednesday with mild losses amid thin trade, as escalating border tensions with China, and a spike in coronavirus cases both at home and abroad, quelled hopes of a continuation of the past month’s recovery. The NSE Nifty 50 benchmark strengthened to briefly trade above the 10,000 mark – backed by strong buying interest in banking stocks – after sliding to as low as 9,833.80 in morning deals, but failed to sustain those levels. The leaner S&P BSE Sensex index moved in a range of 600.7 points, climbing to as high as 33,933.66 in late afternoon deals, having declined to an intraday low of 33,332.96 earlier.
The Sensex ended 97.30 points – or 0.29 per cent – lower at 33,507.92, and the Nifty settled at 9,881.15, down 32.85 points – or 0.33 per cent – from its previous close.
In the Nifty basket of 50 stocks, 28 shares finished the day on a lower note. Top percentage losers were Bharti Infratel, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ITC, Power Grid and Mahindra & Mahindra, ending between 1.92 per cent and 4.49 per cent.
On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki, Bharti Airtel, Wipro, Britannia and Axis Bank – settling with gains of between 1.85 per cent and 4.05 per cent – were the top Nifty gainers.
“Volumes were lower than normal on the NSE… Most Asian stock markets declined modestly on Wednesday after regional issues impacted sentiments and Japan’s exports sank,” said Deepak Jasani, head-retail research at HDFC Securities.
The National Stock Exchange’s India VIX index – which gauges the market’s expectation of volatility in the near term – closed 1.53 per cent higher, having jumped 3.19 per cent earlier.
HDFC (closing 1.58 per cent lower), Kotak Mahindra Bank (2.81 per cent) and HDFC Bank (0.95 per cent) were the top drags on the Sensex.
Market breadth favoured gains, as 1,432 stocks on the BSE closed higher against 1,126 that succumbed to losses. On the NSE, 988 stocks advanced while 819 declined.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the central government over the issue of interest waiver on loan EMIs deferred due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Equities in other Asian markets were mixed amid rising cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shaken the world’s financial markets and businesses. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan ended 0.29 per cent higher, recovering intraday losses, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark rose 0.56 per cent.
While China’s Shanghai Composite and South Korea’s KOSPI barometers were down 0.17 per cent and 0.61 per cent respectively, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.01 per cent.
Business sentiment of Asian companies hit an 11-year low in the second quarter, a survey by Thomson Reuters/INSEAD found, with some two-thirds of the firms polled flagging a worsening COVID-19 pandemic as the biggest risk over the next six months.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures turned positive in late Asian trade, and were last seen trading up 0.66 per cent, indicating a stronger start for US markets on Wednesday.
European shares started Wednesday’s session on a mixed note, with the United Kingdom’s FTSE benchmark index last seen trading 0.30 per cent higher. France’s CAC index was up 0.09 per cent at the time, whereas Germany’s DAX was down 0.06 per cent.