Sensex, Nifty End Flat Amid Volatile Trade; ITC Rises 2%

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Sensex Today: Indian shares struggled for direction early on Friday, swinging between gains and losses, as investors awaited a critical U.S. jobs data to get clues on how aggressively will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates.

BPCL, Shree Cements, Hero MotoCorp, Hindalco Industries, ONGC were among major losers on the Nifty, while gainers were HDFC, ITC, Adani Ports, Larsen and Toubro and HDFC Bank.

The S&P BSE Sensex settled today’s session 37 points, or 0.06 per cent, higher at 58,803. The NSE Nifty50, meanwhile, shut shop at 17,539, down 3 points or 0.02 per cent.

The broader markets, however, exhibited a strong show during the end, but ended mixed. The BSE MidCap index dipped 0.35 per cenwhile the BSE SmallCap index eked out gains of 0.04 per cent.

Among sectors, the Nifty Financial Services and FMCG indces added 0.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively, while the Nifty PSU Bank index fell 0.77 per cent.

ITC, the biggest cigarette maker, and the second largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in India, regained the market capitalisation (market cap) of Rs 4 trillion on Friday as rally in the stock continued on the bourses. Shares of ITC hit an over five-year high of Rs 323.40 as they gained 2 per cent on BSE in the intra-day trade. ITC’s market cap had last touched the Rs 4-trillion feat on July 14, 2017, when it was Rs 4.10 trillion on closing level basis.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said: “The market has struggled for a firm direction today as global markets were largely under selling pressure ahead of the release of US job data, which could provide insight into upcoming Fed actions. Oil prices rose ahead of the OPEC+ meeting on the expectation of a reduction in output, despite the fact that weak global growth prospects remain a concern. A surging dollar index and rising US bond yields could be reflected in the elevated volatility of the domestic market in the near term.”

Global Cues

Asian shares were mixed and the dollar stood tall on Friday ahead of a key US jobs report as investors braced for more aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, while commodities took an overnight dive amid new China lockdowns.

Tokyo stocks traded lower on Friday morning ahead of US jobs data due later in the day. Shares had opened slightly higher, but around half an hour into the session, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.16 per cent, or 45.40 points, at 27,616.07, while the broader Topix index was down 0.55 per cent, or 10.56 points, at 1,924.93.

A late rally helped the S&P 500 snap a four-session losing skid on Thursday with investor focus turning to a key report on the labor market on Friday.

Meanwhile, prices of crude oil were steady below $95 per barrel due to demand fears. While Brent Crude hovered around $93 per barrel, WTI Crude was at $87 per barrel.

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