Bulls pull indices into positive terrain; Nifty holds 10,900

Equity benchmarks ended the session on a marginally higher note, but not before witnessing volatile moves. The Nifty managed to hold on to 10,900-mark.

Weakness was visible among pharmaceuticals and PSU banks, while other sectors ended the day in the green. The Nifty IT index was the big gainer as a weaker rupee boosted IT stocks.

The day began on a steady note, amid mixed global cues. However, selling soon gripped the market, dragged by a fall in heavyweight such as Sun Pharma and RIL, among others.

However, bulls tried to take control back in the last hour and managed to just crawl to the finishing line.

The Nifty Midcap index was the only broader index to have ended in the red.

At the close of market hours, the Sensex was up 52.79 points or 0.15% at 36374.08, and the Nifty up 14.90 points or 0.14% at 10905.20. The market breadth was negative as 1042 shares advanced, against a decline of 1496 shares, while 177 shares were unchanged.

Axis Bank, HCL Technologies, BPCL and GAIL were the top gainers, while Sun Pharma and Yes Bank lost the most.

Among key results, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) reported a growth of 9 percent (year-on-year) in its net profit for the December quarter. Profit was reported at Rs 1,444 crore against Rs 1,326 crore that the company reported last year.

“Local stocks nudged higher in early trade on positive global stocks. However, volatility subsequently struck bourses in early afternoon trade as investor sentiment got impacted by global worries. Both the benchmark Sensex and the Nifty finally closed the day near the flat line. Asian stocks were trading mixed as concerns about rising US-China tensions offset signs of a better-than-expected start to the earnings season. In Europe, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government survived a vote of no-confidence in parliament, a day after her proposed Brexit plan was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers,” Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager – Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund said in a statement.

Stocks in the News

Shares of Jet Airways staged a smart recovery and ended 11 percent off lows. Reports suggested that Etihad is likely to infuse Rs 1,000 crore into the airline.

Sun Pharma was the big name in focus as well, after it ended around 6 percent lower.

DCB Bank added 3 percent after research house Kotak Institutional Equities has maintained buy rating on the stock and raised target to Rs 210 from Rs 185 per share.

Axis Bank gained 2 percent after global brokerage house CLSA increased price target to Rs 800 from Rs 750 earlier, implying 20.5 percent potential upside from January 16’s closing levels.

5paisa Capital shares were locked in 5 percent upper circuit at Rs 279.30 on Thursday after the loss for December quarter narrowed.

Mindtree witnessed gains and closed 3 percent higher after it announced good Q3 results.

Federal Bank, on the other hand, ended 3 percent lower after it posted a weak operational show.

Global Markets

European stocks were lower as investors were wary of political situation in the US, while Chinese economy slowdown concerns weighed. Stoxx 600 was down around 0.6 percent, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific shares traded mixed on amid weakness in China, among others. Japan’s Nikkei 225 erased early gains of near 0.3 percent to close down 40.48 points, or 0.2 percent, at 20,402.27 while the Topix index added 5.43 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,543.2.