Sensex, Nifty start on a cautious note; HDFC, Kotak Bank, HUL among major losers in opening session

  • After dropping over 100 points in the opening session, the Sensex was trading 64.26 points, or 0.16%, lower at 41,258.74

  • The rupee depreciated 20 paise to 71.74 against the US dollar in morning session

  • Bourses in Shanghai and Tokyo were trading on a positive note, while those in Seoul and Hong Kong slipped in the red

Sensex and Nifty opened on a cautious note on Thursday tracking tepid cues from global markets and foreign fund outflow.

After dropping over 100 points in the opening session, the 30-share barometer was trading 64.26 points, or 0.16 percent, lower at 41,258.74. Similarly, the NSE Nifty was trading down by 8.90 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,117.

HDFC, Kotak Bank, HUL, Nestle India, RIL and NTPC were among the top laggards in the Sensex pack, shedding up to 1.05 percent.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank emerged as the biggest gainer, rising up to 3 percent, followed ONGC, Sun Pharma, SBI, TCS and Axis Bank.

In the previous session, the Sensex settled at 41,323, clocking a gain of 428.62 points or 1.05 percent, and Nifty shot up 133.40 points or 1.11 percent to close at 12,125.90.

Meanwhile, on a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 190.66 crore, while domestic institutional investors bought shares worth Rs 590.12 crore on Wednesday, data available with stock exchanges showed a PTI report said.

 Sensex, Nifty start on a cautious note; HDFC, Kotak Bank, HUL among major losers in opening session

Representational image. Reuters.

According to traders, besides foreign fund outflow, concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic in China on the world economy kept investors on edge.

The coronavirus death toll climbed to 2,118 with the death of 114 more people. However, new confirmed cases declined to 394, registering the biggest drop since December when the first case was reported in Wuhan city.

Bourses in Shanghai and Tokyo were trading on a positive note, while those in Seoul and Hong Kong slipped in the red.

Rupee slips 26 paise to 71.80 against dollar in opening trade

The Indian rupee declined by 26 paise to 71.80 against the US dollar in opening trade on Thursday amid muted opening in domestic equities and rising crude oil prices. Besides, as investor sentiments remained fragile amid coronavirus fears and sustained foreign fund outflows, according to PTI.

The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China has climbed to 2,118 with the death of 114 more people, while the overall confirmed cases increased to 74,576, Chinese officials said on Thursday.

The rupee opened weak at 71.75 at the interbank forex market and then fell further to 71.80, down 26 paise over its last close.

The rupee had settled at 71.54 against the US dollar on Tuesday.

Forex market was shut on February 19, on account of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.10 per cent to USD 59.18 per barrel.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell marginally by 0.01 per cent to 99.69.

The 10-year government bond yield was at 6.40 per cent in the morning trade.

Slowing virus, China stimulus hopes support stocks

Asian stocks edged up on Thursday, supported by a fall in coronavirus cases and expectations of more Chinese stimulus to offset the economic impact of the epidemic, while the Japanese yen nursed heavy losses after suffering its steepest drop in six months, according to Reuters.

The epicenter of the outbreak in China’s Hubei reported just 349 new cases on Thursday, the lowest since Jan. 25, although it was accompanied by a change in diagnosis rules.

China is widely expected to cut its benchmark lending rate on Thursday, adding to a slew of fiscal and monetary measures in recent weeks aimed at cushioning the virus’ impact on the economy.

China also plans to take over HNA Group and sell off its airline assets, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.1 percent.

Buoyed by the cheaper yen, Japan’s Nikkei rallied 1.5 percent. Markets in Australia and New Zealand minted record highs.

“The lowering of interest rates, cutting of corporate tax rates, increasing money supply...these are all seen as very strong responses” from China, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

The prospect of central bank support and easier money also underpinned bonds, with US Treasury yields steady, with benchmark 10-year yields last at 1.5815 percent.

Overnight pan-regional STOXX 600 index in Europe rose 0.8 percent to a record high. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all gained.

More than 2,100 people have died from the coronavirus in China, spreading to more than two dozen countries, and governments around the world are trying to prevent it from becoming a global pandemic.

Yen tumbles

The most dramatic move overnight was a steep drop in the Japanese yen, which posted its sharpest fall against the dollar in half a year, even as safe-haven assets such as gold traded firmer.

Selling was broad and sustained throughout the session.

The yen fell nearly 1.4 percent against the dollar and the kiwi and almost 2 percent against the Norwegian krone - its sharpest daily drop against the krone in almost three years.

“It is rare to see USD/JPY and gold ripping at the same time, but the simple explanation is that the world is awash in a flood of money and there are not many attractive places to park that excess liquidity,” said Brent Donnelly, Spot FX Trader at HSBC.

The yen recouped some of those losses in morning trade, to rise 0.2 percent to 111.17 per dollar.

Elsewhere oil prices held overnight gains, while gold gave some of its rise back.

US crude last sat 30 cents firmer at $53.60 per barrel and Brent settled at $59.12. Gold last traded at $1,609.33 per ounce.

--With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2020 10:22:19 IST