Sensex, Nifty edge lower for second day ahead of budget


By Vishal Sridhar
(Reuters) - The Sensex and Nifty edged lower for a second straight session on Wednesday, tracking Asian peers, as caution crept into the markets ahead of the federal budget, due on Thursday.
Asian stocks were also down as the recent rise in global bond yields weighed on equities, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edging 0.2 percent lower.
"It's difficult for investors to take a call before the budget. After touching record levels, I see some correction happening, even after the budget," said Kunj Bansal, executive director & CIO - equity, Centrum Wealth Management Ltd.
Indian markets have been on a record-hitting spree in recent weeks, driven by liquidity, better-than-expected corporate earnings, and a positive economic growth forecast.
However, on Tuesday, they had their second biggest fall for the month with investors turning net sellers on caution ahead of the federal budget.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth 1.06 billion rupees, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold 2.82 billion rupees worth of shares, according to exchange data.
Investors are eagerly awaiting the federal budget, as the government aims to woo back rural voters and small businesses ahead of state elections.
It would be more of a populist budget and markets have partly factored in the possibility of a fiscal slippage, Bansal added.
The Nifty was down 0.25 percent at11,021.80 as of 0614 GMT, while the Sensex was 0.32 percent lower at 35,917.61.
Financials drove the indexes down with ICICI Bank Ltd trading 2.2 percent lower ahead of its results.
Pharma stocks continued to see selling pressure for a fourth straight session with the Nifty Pharma index down 1.3 percent. The index gained over 4 percent in December.
Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corp Ltd gained as much as 2.6 percent after reporting a nearly doubled third-quarter profit on higher inventory gains due to a sharp rise in global oil prices.
(Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 12:01 PM IST

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