The Indian market ended flat on Thursday, ahead of March-quarter earnings, as investors stayed on the sidelines as the first phase of voting began for the 2019 general election. Investors also await India's retail inflation numbers, due tomorrow.
IT giants Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services will announce the final quarter results for fiscal 2019 on Friday. Both companies are expected to post a year-on-year gain in net profit, analysts said. Negative sentiment in the Asian peers also affected the domestic indices.
Asian shares retreated from eight-month highs as European and US central banks reinforced investor worries about the global economic outlook and trade protectionism.
India’s retail inflation is expected to have accelerated to 2.80 percent in March from 2.57 percent in February on slightly higher food prices, a Reuters poll predicted. It, however, remains under the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target of 4 percent.
The BSE Sensex ended the day at 38,607, up 22 points, while the broader NSE Nifty50 settled at 11,597, adding 12 points. The Nifty Midcap was trading flat, while the Nifty Smallcap index outperformed, up 0.2 percent.
Indiabulls Housing, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finserv, and Dr. Reddy's gained the most on Nifty, while Vedanta, Sun Pharma, PowerGrid, Axis Bank and Tech Mahindra fell the most on the index.
A mixed trade was seen amongst the sectoral indices with Nifty Auto, and Nifty FMCG gaining while Nifty Metal, Nifty IT and Nifty Realty slipping during the day.
The Nifty IT index fell over half a percent with Infosys and TCS falling over 1.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively ahead of March-quarter earnings. Tech Mahindra and HCL Tech were other losers in the index.
Vedanta, JSPL, SAIL, and NALCO were some of the stocks that dragged the Nifty Metal index over 1 percent in trade today. These stocks fell in the range of 1.5-4 percent.
Globally, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3 percent after four straight days of gains took it to the highest since last August. Chinese shares were subdued with the blue-chip CSI300 off 1 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 0.6 percent. Australian shares also lost ground, pressured by political uncertainty after the country’s prime minister called a national election for May 18. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3 percent as the yen strengthened.