Equities end volatile Budget session on a positive note; Nifty just below 10,900

It was certainly not a trading session for the weak-hearted as the Budget-day trading was marked by severe volatility. Indices, eventually, managed to end in the green, but not before seeing wild swings in both the directions. The Nifty ended below 10,900-mark.

Financials were the big underperformers through the session, with Nifty Bank being dragged by State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. The latter contributed more than 73 percent to the Nifty Bank’s losses.

Benchmarks began on a mildly higher note, as investors sat on the fence ahead of Budget announcements. However, further announcements for farmers and middle class boosted market sentiment. The Sensex rose over 400 points intraday. The Nifty, too, touched 10,950-mark as well.

But the market soon gave up most of its gains, declining over 100 points on the Sensex. Last hour saw some buying return to the counters, helping the indices close with over half a percent of gains.

Among sectors, automobiles were the big gainers as investors reacted to auto sales data.

At the close of market hours, the Sensex was up 212.74 points or 0.59% at 36469.43, and the Nifty up 62.70 points or 0.58% at 10893.70. The market breadth was negative as 1184 shares advanced, against a decline of 1331 shares, while 134 shares were unchanged.

Hero MotoCorp and Maruti Suzuki were the top gainers, while Vedanta, Yes Bank, and Zee Entertainment lost the most.

Stocks in the News

DHFL’s shares continued to see a plunge, with the stock ending over 18 percent lower.

Bank Of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce turned negative after rallying, while Bank of Maharashtra gained 1 percent after the Reserve Bank of India removed these state-owned banks from its weak-bank watch list, a move that will lift lending restrictions on them.

Bharti Airtel shares rallied 1 percent after the strong Africa business managed to offset the company’s India wireless segment.

Commercial and defence vehicle maker Ashok Leyland has reported a 9 percent on year growth in January sales at 19,741 units, driven by M&HCV trucks and LCV segments. The stock ended 3 percent higher.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has reported a healthy 45 percent on year growth in third quarter profit to Rs 485 crore on a low base and good operating income. The stock ended 2 percent higher.

State Bank of India has reported profit at Rs 3,955 crore for October-December quarter, driven by sharp fall in provisions and NII growth. The stock fell 3 percent.

Escorts reported a growth of 12.7 percent (year-on-year) in its tractor sales for January at 5,991 units. The company sold 5,316 units during the same period of last year. The stock closed 2 percent higher.

Shares of Vedanta fell around 18 percent as investors turned wary of the stock after financial results and downgrades by brokerages.

Shares of Dabur India rose 2 percent as investors reacted to the company’s Q3 results.

Shares of Maruti Suzuki rose 5 percent as investors reacted to the auto sales for January.

Global Markets

European stocks were higher as investors turned to corporate results for further cues. Stoxx 600 was up around 0.2 percent.

In Asia, Shanghai composite rose 1.3 percent to close at around 2,618.23 while the Shenzhen component jumped 2.738 percent to finish its trading day at about 7,684.00. The Shenzhen composite also climbed higher by 2.765 percent to close at approximately 1,309.99.

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