The benchmark Sensex on Tuesday slipped for the ninth straight session amid sharp declines in shares of software exporters. Fears that India may escalate its response to a deadly attack on a CRPF convoy last week and uncertainty over the outcome of the national elections also weighed on sentiment.
The Sensex ended at 35,353, down 146 points, or 0.41 per cent, extending its nine-day losses to over 1,600 points, or 4.5 per cent. The last time the index had declined for nine straight trading sessions was in April-May 2011. The Nifty fell 36.6 points or 0.34 per cent to end at 10,604.
Both the benchmark indices were set to end their losing streak but slipped into the negative territory less than an hour before closing of trade amid a slide in shares of technology companies. Shares of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) fell 3.4 per cent, most among Sensex components, while Infosys fell 2.02 per cent. Both the tech giants brought Sensex down by 126 points.
Even as the outlook on India’s economy and corporate earnings remains buoyant, uncertainty about the outcome of national polls in May weighs down sentiments as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's re-election bid has turned out to be tougher than estimated earlier.
“There's no conviction to invest and this is amply indicated by today's market move,” said Sushant Kumar, fund manager-equity at Raay Global Investments. “Markets hate uncertainty and there is plenty of that currently regarding the election outcome and India’s friction with Pakistan.”
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth Rs 814 crore on Tuesday, while domestic investors provided buying support to the tune of Rs 1,164 crore.
“There are no reasons for the markets to rise as no one knows the outcome of the national polls, leading to uncertainty about who will form the next government,” said Andrew Holland, chief executive officer, Avendus Capital. “There are still lingering worries over the property and the non-bank finance businesses, which aren’t going away; cross- border escalation is adding to the already existing volatility.” Investors also assess the cost and scope of the nation's retaliation to an attack on its security forces.
Experts say the market will continue to move in a tight range in the run-up to the General Elections.
“We expect the markets to be range-bound till election results; mid-sized stocks look attractive now and over-valuation is no longer a concern after the steep fall they have been through,” said Sampath Reddy, chief investment officer at Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.