Sensex reverses course, sinks 274 pts; banks take a hit

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Mumbai:┬áTurned off by a set of poor quarterly numbers, market today developed cold feet as the Sensex failed to stick with its two-day winning momentum and dropped over 274 points to end at 27,035 — a nearly two-week low — as investors braced for Donald Trump’s presidency.

The broader NSE Nifty cracked below the key 8,400-mark.

Banking stocks felt the pinch, and global leads failed to pick up either.

After a lower start, the Sensex stayed in the negative space throughout and closed down 274.10 points, or 1 per cent, at 27,034.50 — a level last seen on January 10. Intra-day, it hovered between 27,264.41 and 27,009.81.

The index gained 72.94 points in the last two sessions.

The Nifty too ended lower by 85.75 points, or 1.02 per cent, at 8,349.35 after shuttling between 8,423.65 and 8,340.95.

On a weekly basis, both key indices recorded fall of 203.56 points, or 0.74 per cent, and 51 points, or 0.60 per cent, respectively.

Much of the losses in banking came from private lender Axis Bank, which plunged 6.86 per cent after it reported a sharp 73 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 580 crore for the December quarter yesterday.

ICICI Bank too faced selling pressure and lost 2.34 per cent to end at Rs 263.40 while state-run SBI fell 2.83 per cent.

“Till yesterday, third quarter results were coming marginally above expectations and the market was holding a positive view. However, a poor set of numbers led by financials has annoyed the investors which has turned them cautious,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.

The caution overshadowed better-than-expected China’s fourth quarter GDP growth and Fed chair Janet Yellen taking a less hawkish stance on rate hike.

“Additionally, commodity stocks are losing their attractiveness due to consolidation ahead of the Trump swearing-in ceremony today. IT and pharma stocks will be keenly watched as the segment may be effected from the upcoming US policies,” added Nair.

Losses in Adani Ports, Tata Steel, NTPC, L&T, ONGC, Hero MotoCorp and M&M, among others, too kept the Sensex on the edge. But Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints, ITC, Bajaj Auto and HDFC Bank ended higher by up to 1.31 per cent, which capped the fall.

In Asia, Hang Seng slipped 0.71 per cent while Shanghai Composite rose 0.70 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 0.34 per cent.

Europe remained weak, with London’s FTSE falling 0.01 per cent, Frankfurt 0.09 per cent and Paris CAC 40 0.1 per cent.

Foreign investors remained net sellers as they sold shares worth Rs 132.26 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Sector-wise, metal suffered the most by losing 2.37 per cent, followed by infra (2.04 per cent), PSU (1.97 per cent), and bank (1.77 per cent).

Selling pressure extended to broader markets which pushed the BSE mid-cap index down 1.54 per cent and small-cap 1.27 per cent. In the 30-share Sensex pack, 24 lost and 6 ended higher.

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