The benchmark indices advanced on Monday, led by gains in technology companies, after Infosys raised its revenue growth forecast. The overall sentiment, however, remained dull, with shares of finance companies dragging lower as investors remained concerned over debt default and bank frauds.
The BSE Sensex rose 160 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 38,897, with Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) alone making a 234-point contribution. The top losers in the Sensex pack were banking stocks led by IndusInd Bank, which fell 2.4 per cent. ICICI Bank, YES Bank, and State Bank of India - each declining a per cent.
"Though the Nifty ended in the positive territory today (Monday), the weakness in the broader market was quite palpable. The benchmark index was also largely supported by a handful of heavyweight stocks like Infosys, along with other tech stocks and Sun Pharma. Given the weak macro data and uncertainty related to taxation on foreign investors, the sentiment is likely to remain weak in the near term," said Gaurav Dua, head-capital market strategy, Sharekhan.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) continued to pull money out of the domestic market due to lingering concerns over the applicability of higher tax surcharge. On Monday, they sold shares worth Rs 216 crore, taking their six-day selling tally to Rs 3,000 crore.
Fears of default in the banking sector were triggered after Dewan Housing Finance (DHFL) posted its first quarterly loss in over a decade and missed interest payments. Further, two state-run lenders, Allahabad Bank and Punjab National Bank, disclosed financial fraud to the tune of Rs 5,600 crore by bankrupt steel mill Bhushan Power & Steel.
"The market is likely to remain under pressure, with selling coming at every rise. The Budget offered no triggers. There are uncertainties on both micro and macro levels. Consumption is slowing down and there is a lack of liquidity to set the wheels in motion," said Umesh Mehta, head of research, Samco Securities.
Of the 19 sectoral indices on the BSE, 13 ended with losses - paced by a gauge of metal stocks. The BSE Information Technology index rose the most on the back of a 7.2-per cent rally in Infosys and 1.8-per cent gain in TCS.
Fourteen of the 31 Sensex stocks gained. ITC, which fell 1.5 per cent, was the biggest drag on the index. Outside the index, shares of Allahabad Bank plunged 7.6 per cent, while DHFL fell 29 per cent. Both the stocks were among the worst performers on the BSE 500 Index.
The BSE MidCap index retreated 0.6 per cent and the BSE SmallCap index fell 0.6 per cent.