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Indian markets drop 1% even as global equities rally; PNB falls 2.1%

Most global markets posted their biggest weekly advance in nearly a year but Indian equities ended the week unchanged

BS Reporter & Bloomberg  |  Mumbai 

Markets, Stocks, BSE, NSE, Trade

India’s benchmark equity indices declined nearly one per cent on Friday even as global peers rallied as widening of the current account deficit, the $2-billion fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB) and index provider MSCI’s warning weighed on investor sentiment.

The Sensex fell 0.8 per cent to 34,010, while the Nifty50 index fell 0.9 per cent to 10,452.3, its lowest close since January 3. The losses came despite global gaining by more than a per cent as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury softened below 2.9 per cent.

Most global posted their biggest weekly advance in nearly a year but Indian equities ended the week unchanged.

Mirroring global cues, the Indian markets, too, started with gains, with the Sensex gaining as much as 211 points to 34,297. However, the index succumbed to selling pressure amid a spate of bad

India’s current account deficit widened the most in four years in January as imports surged and export growth slipped, a report that came after Thursday’s market close showed. Banking stocks — which have a significant weight in the benchmark index — declined as investors feared that the PNB fraud could spread.

“The fraud is clearly weighing on investor sentiment. The amount involved is large. Also, there are fears whether this is restricted to just one branch of one bank or many other branches and banks. Just when investors thought the bad asset quality problem was bottoming out for the banking sector, a lot of new questions are lingering for investors,” said Rajeev Thakkar, ýchief investment officer, ýPPFAS Mutual Fund.

Meanwhile, MSCI’s warning that it could cut India’s weight in its global indices further weighed on sentiment. The global index provider said the move by Indian exchanges to terminate licensing and data-feed agreements with their global counterparts could lead to disruption in trading, which could force it to cut India’s weight in its global indices.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth Rs 11 billion on Friday, taking their eight-day selling tally past Rs 10,000 crore.

The worst performer among the Sensex components were (SBI) which fell 2.6 per cent, followed by and which declined 2.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively.

“Imports rising faster than exports and concern around the alleged fraud at PNB have overcome optimism that was driven by global cues. There’s a lack of confidence and everyone is groping in the dark to understand the tune of lost and how it will be recovered,” said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital

Shares of PNB dropped another 2.1 per cent, extending its loss since Wednesday to 22 per cent. sank 20 per cent for a second consecutive session.

All but one of 19 sub-indexes compiled by the declined, led by a gauge of automakers and metal companies.

First Published: Sat, February 17 2018. 01:14 IST