The markets ended lower on the last trading session of the week due to heightened geo-political tensions. The Sensex ended at 41,464.61, lower by 162 points or 0.3 per cent and Nifty ended at 12,226, down 55 points or 0.4 per cent. The midcap index also ended lower by 0.4 per cent at 15,114. The small cap index, however, ended flat at 13,989.
The Sensex had touched an intra-day low of 41,348 and the Nifty had briefly broken the technically crucial level of 12, 200 to touch an intra-day low of 12,191 in the afternoon, only to recoup some of their losses towards the end of trade.
Global markets struggled through the day as US air strikes against a top Iranian commander resurrected latent geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. European indices, including CAC, DAX and FTSE, had shed more than 1 per cent on opening bell and Asian shares had a subdued session as well, and this weakness rubbed on to the domestic markets.
The market participants would have also decided to take some money off the table after the life-time highs witnessed on Thursday. On Thursday, the S&P BSE Sensex had ended 320.62 points – or 0.78 per cent – higher at 41,626.64 and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at a record 12,282.20, up 99.70 points – or 0.82 per cent – from the previous close.
Brent crude futures jumped to their highest since September 17 and were last up 2.88 per cent at $68.16 a barrel. MCX Crude oil index has soared by 4.7 per cent at 4,547. The oil price surge reflects concerns that escalating Middle East tensions may disrupt oil supplies. The rupee weakened by 0.26 per cent to 71.5525 against the dollar.
Banking and Auto stocks took it on the chin, with the Nifty Bank and Auto indices shedding about 1 per cent each. SBI, M&M, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were among the major largecap losers on the BSE, weakening 1.5 per cent to 2.2 per cent respectively. In the auto space, Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors and M&M slipped1-3 per cent each.
Airlines shares ended mixed after the surge in oil prices. InterGlobe Aviation, which was down more than 2 per cent in early trades, bounced back into the green to end at Rs 1,361, up 2.1 per cent. On the other hand, SpiceJet shed 6.8 per cent to close at Rs 106.
Tech and pharma stocks bucked the weak trend due to the strength in the dollar as they receive a bulk of their revenues in dollar terms. HCL Tech, Infosys, TCS and Tech Mahindra gained in the region of 1 per cent and 2 per cent each. In the pharma space, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy’s and Biocon gained around 1 per cent each.
The market breadth marginally favoured the declines, with 1,276 declining stocks as against 1,248 advances on the BSE.