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Sensex tumbles 627 pts; Nifty slips below 14,700
(15:31, 31 Mar 2021)
The benchmark indices snapped two-day rising streak and ended with steep losses on Wednesday. The Nifty closed below the crucial 14,700 mark. Banks, financials and IT shares tumbled while FMCG and metal stocks were in demand.

As per the provisional closing data, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, tumbled 627.43 points or 1.25% at 49,508.84. The Nifty 50 index dropped 154.40 points or 1.04% at 14,690.60.

A surge in India's COVID-19 cases spooked investors as states move to impose partial restrictions, curb large public gatherings and order random testing at malls.

HDFC (down 4%), HDFC Bank (down 3.88%), Kotak Mahindra Bank (down 1.35%) Infosys (down 1.3%) and Reliance Industries (down 1.18%) were major drags.

The broader market ended with minor gains. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index rose 0.07% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index added 0.52%.

The market breadth was negative. On the BSE, 1,390 shares rose and 1,491 shares fell. A total of 198 shares were unchanged.

COVID-19 Update:

Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 128,152,416 with 2,803,009 deaths. India reported 552,566 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 162468 deaths while 114,34,301 patients have been discharged, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Economy:

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) said on Tuesday that India's economic output in 2021 is expected to remain below the 2019 level. According to the report, India is estimated to record an economic growth of 7% in 2021-22, over a contraction of 7.7% witnessed in the previous fiscal on account of the pandemic's impact on normal business activity. Observing that India entered the pandemic with subdued GDP growth and investment, the report said: “Following one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world, the economic disruptions that the country experienced mounted in the second quarter of 2020,” it said.

Global Markets:

Most shares in Europe and Asia declined on Wednesday as rising Covid-19 cases stoked worries about its near-term economic impact.

China's factory activity expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in March. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 51.9 from 50.6 in February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed today.

Japan's industrial output fell in February. Official data released today showed factory output shrank 2.1% from the previous month in February, dragged down by falls in production of cars, electrical machinery and information and communication equipment.

US stocks fell Tuesday as major technology shares came under pressure again after the 10-year Treasury yield touched its highest level since January 2020.

The 10-year Treasury yield climbed 6 basis points to top 1.77% earlier Tuesday, hitting its highest level in 14 months as vaccine rollouts and expected infrastructure spending boosted the outlook for a broad economic recovery and rising inflation. The benchmark rate was currently hovering at 1.724%.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index surged in March to 109.7, its highest reading in a year.

Stocks in Spotlight:

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) rose 0.15%. M&M's Japanese subsidiary, Mitsubishi Mahindra Agricultural Machinery Company, and Japan's Kubota Co. announced collaboration for Japanese domestic operations.

Ultratech Cement lost 0.67%. The cement major said that it has prepaid its long-term loans amounting to Rs 5,000 crore, in line with the company's endeavour to maintain optimal capital structure. The company said that the loan repayments have been done through free cash flows that the company has generated over the last few quarters despite the challenging circumstances and severe business interruptions during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

TCS rose 0.65%. The IT major announced that it has renewed its strategic partnership and services footprint with Nationwide Building Society, the world's largest building society and one of the largest savings and mortgage providers in the UK, to help strengthen the latter's enterprise agility and operational resilience.

SpiceJet rose 1.68%. The airliner has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Avenue Capital Group, New York for a strategic alliance in respect of the financing, acquisition and sale and lease‐back of 50 new planes to be ordered by the airline.

Kalpataru Power Transmission fell 0.09% after the company received new orders worth Rs 625 crore across various businesses. The global EPC player in the power and infrastructure contracting sector bagged orders from Africa in the power transmission business. The company also won an order for railway electrification in India. Meanwhile, Kalpataru Power's international subsidiary has secured new power transmission projects in Europe.

IDFC First Bank slumped 4.29%. The private lender launched a qualified institutional placement (QIP) of equity shares on Tuesday (30 March 2021). The capital raising committee of the board of directors of the bank, at its meeting held on 30 March 2021, authorised the opening of the QIP issue and approved the floor price of Rs 60.34 per equity share, the private sector bank said in a regulatory filing made after market hours yesterday. The floor price is at 3.50% premium of IDFC First Bank's closing price of Rs 58.30 recorded on Tuesday. The capital raising committee of the bank will meet on 6 April 2021, to determine the QIP issue price.

SJVN slipped 2.25%. The company won a solar power project in Gujarat. In terms of the letter of acceptance (LoA) issued by Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL), SJVN will develop 70 megawatt (MW) solar power project in Gujarat, including arrangement of land with long term connectivity with grid. Tariff of the electricity supplied will be Rs 2.21/KWh and power generated from this project will be procured by GUVNL for 25 years.

KNR Constructions jumped 3.24% after the company said it received letter of acceptance for a road project in Kerala. The project involves six laning Ramanattukara Junction to start of Valanchery bypass section of NH-66 on Hybrid Annuity Mode under Bharatmala Pariyojana in Kerala. The project bid cost is Rs 2,367 crore and company bid price is Rs 2,116 crore.

Sterling and Wilson Solar (SWSL) gained 1.63%. Sterling and Wilson Solar Solutions, Inc (SWSS), the US subsidiary of Sterling and Wilson Solar (SWSL), announced that it has signed an order worth $121.7 million (about Rs 890 crore) in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America. The order has been received from a leading sustainable energy company and is scheduled to be commissioned by Q4 FY2022. SWSS will be managing the entire turnkey execution for the PV project.

IRB Infrastructure Developers spurted 5.27% after the company said that its total order book stood at Rs 14,509 crore, providing revenue visibility of more than 2 years.

Insecticides (India) rose 0.23%. The company's board on Tuesday approved a proposal to buyback equity shares worth upto Rs 60 crore. The company proposes to buyback shares at a maximum price of Rs 575.

Punjab & Sindh Bank rose 4.76%. The state-run bank informed on Tuesday that the NPA account IL&FS Transportation Network (ITNL) with outstanding dues of Rs 149.98 crore has been declared as fraud. The bank said it has reported it to the RBI on Tuesday as per regulatory requirement. The account has been fully provided for as per existing RBI norms, the bank said.

Saurashtra Cement jumped 10.15% after the company said its board has approved to take over the paint business of Snowcem Paints on slump sale basis and as a going concern. The closure of transaction is subject to successful negotiation and execution of the definitive agreements including the business transfer agreement and other such agreements customary to the transaction of this nature, the company said in a BSE filing made after market hours yesterday.

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