Sensex falls 311 points as geopolitical concerns weigh

Mumbai, Feb 18: Despite a rally in global equities, Indian markets lost ground on Monday, as investors assessed the nation’s retaliation to a deadly attack on its defense forces last week. Benchmark indices ended nearly 1 per cent lower on Monday, led by a decline in PSBs, IT and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) stocks.
The S&P BSE Sensex ended at 35,498, down 311 points or 0.87 per cent, while the broader Nifty50 index settled at 10,641, down 83 points or 0.78 per cent.
“Market remained on a selling spree as reducing foreign inflows due to fear of escalation of tensions at the border impacted the sentiment. Rupee weakened, 10-year yield inched up and rising oil prices are expected to weaken domestic macros. Volatility is likely to continue due to lack of domestic triggers and investors are likely to remain cautious. Global market stands positive supported by hope in US-China trade deals,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services in an emailed note.
Among sectors, the Nifty FMCG index ended 1.3 per cent lower weighed by Dabur and Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care. The Nifty PSU index settled 1.44 per cent lower driven by a fall in Bank of India and IDBI. In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap ended 145 points or 1.04 per cent lower at 13,795, while S&P BSE SmallCap index settled at 13,118, down 134 points or 1.01 per cent.
Meanwhile, the rupee has gone from being the best-performing Asian currency last quarter to the worst this year as rising crude prices and tensions over Kashmir weigh on sentiment.
“The risk for the India story, which is keeping the dollar well bid vis-a-vis rupee, is higher oil, followed by Kashmir tensions and the political uncertainty,” said Ashish Vaidya, head of trading at DBS Bank Ltd. in Mumbai. “If the negative factors are sustained, for instance, if the Kashmir situation worsens, the rupee could soon touch 73.”
Shares of IPCA Laboratories hit a 43-month high of Rs 828 apiece, up 7 per cent on the BSE in intra-day trade on Monday, on the back of healthy operational performance in December 2018 quarter (Q3FY19). The stock ended 3.87 per cent higher at Rs 805.