Fresh selling dragged the key benchmark indices lower in early afternoon trade. At 12:18 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 54.54 points or 0.19% at 29,406.91. The Nifty 50 index was down 17.05 points or 0.19% at 9,133.75. Trading activity was lackluster as investors remained on the sidelines on rising geopolitical concerns.
Local equities kick-started trading for the week with slim gains as trading resumed after a long weekend. Domestic bourses were shut on Friday, 14 April 2017, on account of public holiday. Indices recovered from lower levels and were hovering a tad below the flat line in morning trade. Stocks continued to trade in a narrow range in mid-morning trade.
The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was just about positive. On the BSE, 1,312 shares rose and 1,291 shares fell. A total of 156 shares were unchanged.
Metal and mining stocks fell. Vedanta (down 2.19%), Steel Authority of India (Sail) (down 0.56%), National Aluminium Company (down 0.28%), Hindustan Zinc (down 0.69%), Jindal Steel & Power (down 0.45%), Hindalco Industries (down 1.74%), NMDC (down 1%), Hindustan Copper (down 0.15%) edged lower. JSW Steel (up 1.67%) and Tata Steel (up 0.28%) rose.
Copper edged higher in the global commodities market. High Grade Copper for May 2017 delivery was currently up 0.37% at $2.58 per pound on the COMEX.
IT stocks saw mixed trend. TCS (down 0.87%), Infosys (down 0.63%), Wipro (down 0.38%), Tech Mahindra (down 1.26%) and MindTree (down 0.93%) declined. Hexaware Technologies (up 0.75%), MphasiS (up 1.27%), Oracle Financial Services Software (up 0.24%) and HCL Technologies (up 0.44%) rose.
Punj Lloyd rose 2.43% after the company said its subsidiary Dayim Punj Lloyd Construction Contracting Company, was awarded an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract - 'Clean Fuels Interfacing Facilities Project' - on lump sum turn key (LSTK) basis in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia worth Rs 312 crore by the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF) in Saudi Arabia. The announcement was made during trading hours today, 17 April 2017.
With this order, the group's order backlog stands at Rs 19929 crore. The order backlog is the value of unexecuted orders on 31 December 2016 plus new orders received after that date, Punj Lloyd said.
Indian Hume Pipe Company rose 3.74% after the company said it secured an order worth Rs 177.22 crore from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Bangalore for execution of the Work of Providing Water Supply Facilities to Byatarayanapura Zone coming under 110 villages of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP). The project is to be completed within 24 months from signing of agreement with them. The agreement will be signed in due course. The announcement was made after market hours on Thursday, 13 April 2017.
Bajaj Corp tumbled 7.07% after net profit fell 2.9% to Rs 52.67 crore on 1.9% decline in net sales to Rs 204.21 crore in Q4 March 2017 over Q4 March 2016. The result was announced at the fag end of the trading session on Thursday, 13 April 2017. The market was shut on Friday, 14 April 2017, on account of public holiday.
On the macro front, the government will today, 17 April 2017 announce monthly inflation data based on wholesale price index (WPI) for March 2017. The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI rose to 6.55% (provisional) in February 2017 over February 2016 as compared to 5.25% (provisional) in January 2017 and -0.85% in February 2016.
Meanwhile, India's merchandise exports increased at 65-month high pace of 27.6% to US$ 29.23 billion in March 2017 over a year ago. Meanwhile, merchandise imports jumped 45.3% to US$ 39.67 billion. The trade deficit more than doubled to US$ 10.44 billion in March 2017 from US$ 4.40 billion in March 2016.
Overseas, Asian stocks were trading lower as the crisis in Russia and Syria and heightened tensions between the US and North Korea hurt investor sentiment. North Korea failed in its attempt to test another missile and the US said it is working with China and other allies to develop a range of options against the country's provocative and destabilizing behavior.
China reported growth of 6.9% in the first quarter, its fastest pace since the third quarter of 2015, fueled by credit and infrastructure spending as well as a stubbornly booming property market. The pace was a notch up from the 6.8% in the previous quarter and put China well ahead of its annual target of about 6.5% growth. Data released today, 17 April 2017 also showed that investment picked up, retail sales rebounded and factory output accelerated in March.
US equities declined on Thursday, 13 April 2017 weighed down by material and energy sectors. US markets are set to reopen today, 17 April 2017 after Friday's holiday, while markets in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong are closed and most European markets are also shut.
In the latest economic data, weekly first-time jobless claims fell slightly in the latest week, dropping to 234,000. Separately, the producer-price index fell 0.1% in March, though core PPI which excludes food, energy, and trade was up 0.1%. A preliminary reading of consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan also came in at a reading of 98 in April from 96.9 in March, highlighting a trend of upbeat so-called soft data.
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