Sensex, Nifty take breather, end flat

Sensex, Nifty take breather, end flat

Mumbai, Mar 14: Benchmark indices took a breather on Thursday, after logging solid gains in the last three sessions amid mixed global peers and spurt in crude oil prices.
The S&P BSE Sensex closed at 37,755, up 3 points or 0.01 per cent. During the day, the index hit a high and low of 37,907.78 and 37,694, respectively. The overall market breadth remained in favour of declines as out of 2,861 companies traded on the BSE, 1,234 advanced and 1,479 declined while 148 securities remained unchanged.
The NSE’s Nifty50 index settled the day at 11,343, down nearly 2 points or 0.01 per cent.
Banking sector barometer Nifty Bank hit a record high of 29,070.35 in the intra-day trade. It settled at 28,923 levels.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap index ended at 15,088, down 40 points or 0.26 per cent, while the S&P BSE SmallCap index closed at 14,888, up 13 points.
BUZZING STOCKS
Oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries (RIL) scaled a new high of Rs 1,361.45 apiece on BSE, in the intraday trade, before ending at Rs 1341, down 0.41 per cent.
Muthoot Finance, too, continued its upward journey, hitting new high of Rs 612, up 3.3 per cent in the intra-day trade on expectation of healthy growth going forward. At close, the stock price stood at Rs 596, up 0.74 per cent.
Shares of IndusInd Bank hit a five-month high of Rs 1,685, up 3 per cent on the BSE, in the intra-day trade. In the process, the lender’s valuation regained the Rs 1 trillion-mark. The stock, eventually, ended at Rs 1,683 apiece, up 3 per cent.
SECTOR WATCH
Realty stocks gained the most, followed by pharma and metal stocks. The Nifty Realty index ended over 2 per cent higher at 251 levels, with 5 out of 10 components advancing and rest 5 ending in the green.
GLOBAL MARKETS
Asian shares stumbled on Thursday after Chinese data signaled further weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy while the pound eased off nine-month highs ahead of another Brexit vote. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 per cent after treading water for most part of the day. Japan’s Nikkei gave up early gains to end nearly flat.
Oil prices rose, with Brent crude hitting its highest since November 2018 amid OPEC-led supply cuts and US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, while Chinese demand remained strong despite an economic slowdown.
Meanwhile, India’s wholesale inflation rate inched up to 2.93 percent in February, compared to 2.6 percent in January, driven by costlier vegetables that had seen prices drop sharply over the last few months as a bumper seasonal harvest flooded the mandis.
Latest price data released on March 14 showed that wholesale vegetable prices grew 6.82 percent in February compared to a fall of (-) 4.21 percent in January and the 15.26 percent in February 2018.
Overall wholesale inflation rate was 2.74 percent in February 2018.
Pulses, the most common source of protein for millions of Indians, have also become costlier in mandis, the data showed, with wholesale inflation in pulses growing 10.88 percent in February, compared to 7.55 percent in January and (-) 24.51 percent in February last year.
Overall food inflation rate also edged closer to 5 percent. It was 4.28 in February this year compared to 2.34 percent in the previous month and 0.95 percent in the same of last year.
The WPI is a marker for price movements in bulk buys for traders and broadly mirrors trends in shop-end prices.
“The rise in vegetable prices are on expected lines. Going forward, food prices are expected to rise sequentially but there will not be a sharp rise. So the room for a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India still remains,” said Tushar Arora, senior economist, HDFC Bank.
Potatoes have also become dearer compared to a year ago with wholesale potato prices growing 23.40 percent in February. It grew 26.30 percent in January and the 11.67 percent in February last year.
Manisha Sachdeva, Associate Economist, CARE Ratings, expects wholesale inflation to move upwards in the coming months driven by rise in the prices of food articles and manufactured products.
“Oil prices too are likely to increase in the coming months, which will further exert an upward pressure on the prices. It will cross three percent in March and be in the 3-3.2 percent range,” she said.

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