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Market drops on rising geopolitical tensions

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Key benchmark indices ended with modest losses in a volatile session of trade as a strong intraday rally was derailed by sell-off in late trade. The barometer index, the S&P Sensex, fell 94.56 points or 0.32% at 29,319.10, as per the provisional closing data. The 50 index fell 34.15 points or 0.37% at 9,105.15, as per the provisional closing data. The hit its lowest level in over three weeks. The hit three-week low. Fall in Industries, Industries and pulled domestic bourses lower.

After seeing a gap-up opening triggered by positive Asian stocks, the key benchmark indices extended gains and hit fresh intraday high in morning trade. Indices hovered in a tight range in positive terrain till early afternoon trade. Key benchmark indices pared intraday gains in afternoon trade as lower opening in European stocks pulled local indices off their highs. Market sink in negative zone and hit intraday low in late trade.

The gained 287.53 points or 0.97% at the day's high of 29,701.19 in mid-morning trade, its highest level since 12 April 2017. The index lost 127.28 points or 0.43% at the day's low of 29,286.38 in late trade, its lowest level since 27 March 2017. The gained 78.60 points or 0.86% at the day's high of 9,217.90 in mid-morning trade, its highest level since 12 April 2017. The index fell 43.85 points or 0.48% at the day's low of 9,095.45 in late trade, its lowest level since 28 March 2017.

The Mid-Cap index provisionally fell 0.63%. The Small-Cap index provisionally fell 0.74%. The fall in both these indices was higher than the Sensex's decline in percentage terms.

The breadth, indicating overall health of the market was weak. On the BSE, 1,769 shares declined and 1,120 shares rose. A total of 137 shares were unchanged.

The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 4285.37 crore, higher than the turnover of Rs 3478.74 crore registered during the previous trading session.

Metal and mining stocks declined as copper prices dropped in global commodity markets. Vedanta (down 2.73%), JSW Steel (down 3.68%), Steel Authority of India (Sail) (down 1.95%), Hindustan Zinc (down 2.07%), Jindal Steel & Power (down 1.82%), NMDC (down 1.52%), Hindustan Copper (down 1.59%) edged lower. Hindalco Industries (up 1.21%) and National Aluminium Company (up 2.49%) rose.

Copper edged lower in the global commodities market. High Grade Copper for May 2017 delivery was currently off 1.6% at $2.5545 per pound on the COMEX.

Tata Steel lost 2.76% after the company said its board meeting will be held on 20 April 2017, to consider a proposal for fund raising. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 17 April 2017.

Overseas, most European stocks were trading lower with commodity shares struggling and investors were nervous ahead of the first round of voting in France's presidential election on Sunday, 23 April 2017.

Meanwhile, in a surprise move, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans for an early general election on 8 June 2017. In an unscheduled speech delivered today, 18 April 2017, May said an election is needed because other parties in parliament are opposed to the Conservative-led government's Brexit plans.

Most Asian stocks finished lower on escalating geopolitical concerns. US stocks rose the most in six weeks yesterday, 17 April 2017 as investors turned their attention to first-quarter corporate earnings.

Geopolitical tensions, notably those between the US and North Korea, have heightened worries about aggressions escalating into a nuclear confrontation. Over the weekend, North Korea put on a massive military parade, followed by a failed missile launch. In an unannounced visit to the Korean Peninsula's demilitarized zone, US Vice President Mike Pence yesterday, 17 April 2017 warned North Korea not to test the resolve of President Donald Trump or the military strength of the US.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 18 2017. 15:45 IST