The Sensex came under fag-end selling pressure to close in the red for the sixth straight session on Friday as risk-off sentiment prevailed amid unabated selling by foreign institutional investors and concerns over inflation. The 30-share BSE benchmark pared all intra-day gains and declined 136.69 points or 0.26 per cent to end at 52,793.62. During the day, it had rallied 855.4 points or 1.61 per cent to 53,785.71.
On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty dipped 25.85 points or 0.16 per cent to settle at 15,782.15. Among the Sensex firms, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, NTPC, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Finserv, Axis Bank and Maruti were the biggest laggards. In contrast, Sun Pharma, M&M, ITC, Hindustan Unilever, Titan and Reliance were among the gainers.
Markets in Asia settled higher, with Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai gaining significantly. Bourses in Europe were quoting higher in the afternoon session. Stock exchanges in the US had ended on a mixed note on Thursday.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude jumped 1.09 percent to USD 108.6 per barrel. Continuing their selling spree, foreign institutional investors offloaded shares worth a net Rs 5,255.75 crore on Thursday, according to stock exchange data.
“This is the season of headwinds for markets. High inflation in the US and the hawkish Fed has pushed up bond yields, negatively impacting equity markets. FPIs continue their selling spree further impacting sentiments. To top it all, CPI inflation for April has come at a disturbingly high level of 7.79 per cent, leaving no option for RBI but to turn hawkish in the coming policy meets,” said V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Vijayakumar added that the positive side is that all this bad news is already known and factored-in by the market. India’s headline inflation galloped for a seventh straight month to touch an 8-year high of 7.79 per cent in April on rising food and fuel prices, raising the odds of an interest rate hike by the RBI early next month to tame prices.