Key benchmark indices traded near the flat line even as they pared some losses in afternoon trade. At 13:20 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 26.04 points or 0.1% at 26,204.62. The Nifty 50 index was currently down 5.75 points or 0.07% at 8,081.05.
Latest data released by Markit Economics showed that India's services sector activity declined sharply last month as cash shortages hit the sector in the wake of the government's move to demonetise higher denomination notes. Domestic markets were also trading subdued in the absence of any positive cues overseas.
The seasonally adjusted headline Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index dropped to 46.7 in November, from 54.5 in October, registering contraction for the first time since June 2015 and pointed to the sharpest reduction in output for almost three years.
The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was positive. On BSE, 1,266 shares rose and 1,145 shares fell. A total of 147 shares were unchanged. The BSE Mid-Cap index was currently up 0.2%, outperforming the Sensex. The BSE Small-Cap index was currently down 0.06%. The decline in this index was lower than the Sensex's decline in percentage terms.
Bank stocks nudged higher. Among public sector banks, Indian Bank (up 1.13%), Union Bank of India (up 0.99%), Bank of India (up 0.95%), Punjab National Bank (up 0.86%), Bank of Baroda (up 0.62%) and State Bank of India (up 0.49%) edged higher. IDBI Bank (down 0.52%) and Corporation Bank (down 0.44%) edged lower.
Among private sector banks, RBL Bank (up 1.62%), IndusInd Bank (up 0.98%), Kotak Mahindra Bank (up 0.54%) and Axis Bank (up 0.25%) edged higher. HDFC Bank (down 0.9%) edged lower. ICICI Bank was flat at Rs 259.65.
Yes Bank rose 1.37% after the bank said it has partnered with Ola, India's most popular mobile app for transportation, to set up mobile automated teller machines (ATMs) and enable convenient cash withdrawals for citizens by any bank's debit cards.
The service will be made available in over 30 locations across ten cities including, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Jaipur. The withdrawal is enabled using point of sale machines available in Ola cabs stationed near Yes Bank branches across various locations in these cities.
The partnership is done to ease the process of cash withdrawals and provide seamless service to the customers with additional mobile infrastructure powered by Ola.
Auto stocks headed north. Ashok Leyland (up 1.81%), Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1.63%), Maruti Suzuki India (up 1.12%), Tata Motors (up 1%), Hero MotoCorp (up 0.99%), Bajaj Auto (up 0.33%) and Eicher Motors (up 0.15%) rose. TVS Motor Company (down 0.71%) edged lower.
Dredging Corporation of India slumped 6.51% at Rs 382.50 after the company reported net loss of Rs 14.37 crore in Q2 September 2016, compared with net profit of Rs 20.78 crore in Q2 September 2015. Net sales declined 2.2% to Rs 156.45 crore in Q2 September 2016 over Q2 September 2015. The result was announced after market hours on Friday, 2 December 2016.
Overseas, most Asian stocks edged lower as investors feared the no vote in Italy's referendum on Sunday, 4 December 2016, could hurt the country's banking system and lead to global contagion. Italy's prime minister resigned following a heavy referendum defeat.
US stocks struggled for direction on Friday, 2 December 2016, with the Dow industrials finishing lower and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closing slightly higher as investors digested a weaker-than-expected payroll report, favoring sectors viewed as safe in economically uncertain times.
The uncertainty was underlined by the November jobs report, which showed 178,000 jobs added in the month, fewer than had been expected, while the count over the prior two months was reduced. However, the jobless rate fell sharply to a nine-year low of 4.6%.
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