Indian shares failed to hold on to gains on the last trading day of 2018, settling largely flat on Monday amid mixed cues from global markets. For the year, market eked out minor gains with the Sensex and Nifty seeing minor gains of 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively for the third consecutive year. On Monday, the Sensex settled down by 8.39 points or 0.02 percent at 36,068 at the close of market hours, and the Nifty was up 2.60 points, or 0.02 percent, at 10,862.
The US-China trade war dispute, volatility in oil prices and its impact on macro sentiments, dented investor appetite in equities. For India, the liquidity concerns emanating as a fallout of IL&FS' default and further downgrade caused a massive meltdown in equities in mid-year.
Broader markets ended with gains on Monday, outperforming its peers by almost half a percent higher. But the midcap index fell 15 percent in the outgoing year, posting its worst performance since 2011.
Among sectoral indexes, Nifty IT gained 27 percent this week despite growth worries amid concerns over H1B visa regime in the US under an aggressive Trump administration. Nifty FMCG saw gains of 14 percent this year, while Nifty Realty was the worst performer in 2018 with the index down 33 percent.
Among stocks, Axis Bank, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Maruti Suzuki dragged indexes, while Kotak Mahindra Bank and JSW Steel supported. Metal stocks also surged largely on the back of JSW Steel, Tata Steel and Vedanta.
For the year, Bajaj Finance returned the highest with a gain of 51 percent, while Tech Mahindra, TCS, Hindustan Unilever, Infosys, Bajaj Finserv, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Reliance Industries, Asian Paints, HDFC, ICICI Bank, L&T, gained between 15 percent and 43 percent.
Shares of Tata Motors fell 60 percent this year largely on account of underperformance in Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) due to Brexit woes. Yes Bank shares also slumped more than 42 percent this year after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) refused to extend another term to co-founder and chief executive officer Rana Kapoor. Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, HPCL were other major laggards this year.
In currency space, the rupee traded at 69.91 per US dollar at 4.30 pm. The home currency opened stronger at 69.80 per US dollar on Monday, up 14 paise from its Friday's close of 69.94. So far, this year, the rupee was down nearly 9 percent and remained Asia's weakest currency.
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