The Sensex and Nifty50 indices finished a sluggish session with mild gains on Friday, managing to close in the green for the fourth day in a row. The bulls looked fatigued after headline indices jumped more than one percent every day in the past three days.
Indian equity benchmarks ended a sluggish session on Friday with mild gains, as strength in pharma and select financial stocks was countered by weakness in auto stocks. Selling pressure in heavyweights such as TCS and Nestle also came in the way of stronger gains for the headline indices. Investors globally remained cautious about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and a worsening US reading that stoked fears about faster-and-more-aggressive rate hikes.
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The 30-scrip Sensex index gyrated in a 785-point range but managed to hold the 55,000 mark, reclaimed the previous day after a week's gap. The broader Nifty50 benchmark hovered around the 16,500-16,700 band.
Both finished the day up 0.2 percent. The Sensex rose 85.9 points for the day at 55,550.3 and the Nifty50 settled at 16,626.2, up 31.3 points.
Cipla, Bharat Petroleum, Sun Pharma, JSW Steel, Indian Oil, Dr Reddy's and PowerGrid -- finishing the day between 1.8 percent and 5.9 percent higher -- were the top blue-chip gainers.
On the other hand, Nestle, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Consumer, Hindalco, NTPC, Tata Steel and Britannia -- declining between 0.7 percent and 1.7 percent -- were the worst hit among the 22 laggards in the Nifty50 pack.
ITC, Sun Pharma and HDFC Bank were the biggest contributors to the gains in the main indices. The cigarette maker's stock reached a one-month high.
The Nifty Pharma and Healthcare indices finished near the highest levels of the day, up 2.5 percent each. Cipla hit a record high and Sun Pharma a seven-year peak.
Metal stocks such as JSW Steel, Jindal Steel, NMDC and SAIL jumped amid a recovery in commodity prices from recent losses. The metal index rose half a percent.
"The Russian-Ukraine conflict is keeping commodities such as oil volatile and elevated. Increased risks of high energy prices and its impact on macro parameters will likely remain an important factor in shaping market direction in the near term," said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities.
"Amid sustained high inflation, the market will closely monitor announcements at Federal Reserve meet scheduled next week," he said. The Federal Reserve and the Bank of England are scheduled to decide on key rates next week.
Broader markets stayed in the green throughout the day. The Nifty Midcap 100 index closed 0.6 percent higher. Its smallcap counterpart rose 0.9 percent.
In the midcap and smallcap segments, GNFC, FACT, JK Paper and Solara Active -- rising around 7-12 percent -- were the top gainers. On the contrary, Essel Propack, P&G Health, Future Retail and Star Cement -- falling 3-5 percent -- were the top losers.
Overall market breadth remained in favour of the bulls, with an advance-decline ratio of almost 2:1 as 1,300 scrips on NSE rose and 741 fell.
European shares began the day with cautious gains shrugging off weakness in most other markets around the globe after a 40-year high in US inflation reading fuelled concerns about rate hikes. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up one percent in early deals.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.4 percent, suggesting a positive opening ahead on Wall Street.
(Edited by : Akanksha Upadhyay)
First Published: Mar 11, 2022 3:23 PM IST
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