Indian benchmark equity indices ended lower today mainly due to sell-offs in metal, bank and IT counters as investors turned cautious over escalation of trade tariff spat between the US and China. The BSE gauge Sensex fell 73.88 points to 35,548.26 and the NSE Nifty slid 17.85 points to 10,799.85, taking cues from tumbling global shares.
"Market remained range-bound with a negative bias due to weak global cues amid concerns of US-China trade tensions. Mid and small caps under-performed while metal stocks slid the most due to concerns on rising supply and fall in price," Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd, said. Crude price is gradually consolidating while investors are awaiting OPEC and Russia meeting this week to decide on relaxation of supply cuts, he added.
US President Donald Trump on Friday slapped a 25 per cent tariff on USD 50 billion worth of Chinese goods, as he accused Beijing of intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices, triggering a full-fledged trade war between the world's two largest economies. Reacting to Trump's latest announcement, China too imposed "equal" tariffs on US products.
The 30-share Sensex opened on a somewhat better note at 35,698.43 and slipped further to touch a high of 35,721.55, largely on sustained capital inflows by domestic institutional investors (DIIs) and a drop in global crude prices.
However, absence of cues from other Asian markets as most financials were shut today for a public holidays and a weak opening in European shares reversed the early gains, with the BSE benchmark hitting a low 35,518.73. It finally ended at 35,548.26, down 73.88 points, or 0.21 per cent.
The Sensex had gained 22.32 points in the previous session on Friday. The 50-share NSE Nifty cracked the 10,800-mark by falling 17.85 points, or 0.16 per cent, to close at 10,799.85. During the session, it moved between 10,830.20 and 10,787.35.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net of Rs 1,524.74 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 561.01 crore on Friday, provisional data showed. On the BSE, Vedanta has entered the benchmark 30-share Sensex. Dr Reddy's Labs has exited the index.
Vedanta emerged the biggest loser in the Sensex pack with its shares plunging 2.70 per cent, while Tata Steel lost 1.28 per cent on nervous selling, triggered by increasing concerns over a full-fledged trade war between the US and China.
Other laggards include Kotak Bank 1.97 per cent, Bharti Airtel 1.67 per cent, Coal India 1.59 per cent, Axis Bank 1.33 per cent, Infosys 1.09 per cent, HUL 0.81 per cent, ONGC 0.66 per cent, Adani Ports 0.58 per cent , TCS 0.58 per cent, HDFC Bank 0.53 per cent, L&T 0.42 per cent, HDFC Ltd 0.38 per cent, Wipro 0.34 per cent, Hero MotoCorp 0.25 per cent, SBI 0.25 per cent, Asian Paint 0.24 per cent and ITC 0.13 per cent.
Among the winners, ICICI Bank was the top performer, spurting 3.61 per cent, followed by Tata Motors at 1.83 per cent. Bajaj Auto also rose 0.98 per cent, Maruti Suzuki 0.46 per cent, NTPC 0.42 per cent, IndusInd Bank 0.37 per cent, M&M 0.31 per cent, Yes Bank 0.29 per cent, Power Grid 0.20 per cent and RIL 0.11 per cent. Sector-wise, the BSE metal index shed 1.72 per cent, followed by IT (0.80 per cent), teck (0.73 per cent), consumer durables (0.68 per cent), capital goods (0.58 per cent), infrastructure (0.44 per cent), FMCG (0.33 per cent), realty (0.13 per cent) and power (0.11 per cent).
In the broader markets, the small-cap index fell 0.77 per cent and the mid-cap gauge shed 0.18 per cent. Oil and gas, auto, PSU, banking and healthcare indices, however, ended in the positive zone, rising up to 1.25 per cent. Outperforming overall trend, shares of top oil marketing companies gained, led by HPCL 5.19 per cent, IOC 3.54 per cent and BPCL 2.70 per cent, on account of falling crude oil prices in global markets.
Globally, Brent crude was down 1.08 per cent to USD 72.65, while WTI oil fell 1.86 per cent to USD 63.85 a barrel in Asian trade today. Elsewhere in Asia, most financial markets in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei are closed for public holidays. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.75 per cent, Singapore index shed 0.97 per cent and Korea fell 1.16 per cent.
European markets too were trading in the negative zone in the early session. Frankfurt was down 0.93 per cent and Paris CAC 40 too fell 0.92 per cent. London's FTSE shed 0.41 per cent in initial deals.