Iran's missile strike on US-led forces in Iraq, and weak economic prospects for the current fiscal year 2019-20 kept investor sentiment at bay on Wednesday. Across-the-board selling, led by auto stocks, contained Indian equities in the negative territory.
Iran’s missile attacks on the Ain Al-Asad air base and another in Erbil, Iraq, early in the day, intensified tensions in the region. US WTI crude zoomed 5 per cent in the morning deals, thereby reversing gains logged yesterday. At 3:00 pm, Brent Crude Futures were at $68.55 per barrel-mark, up 0.41 per cent, while WTI was at $62.81 mark, up 0.18 per cent.
That apart, concerns remain elevated with respect to economic growth, as data released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) Tuesday showed the growth in gross domestic product (GDP) being capped at 5 per cent for the current fiscal.
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex pared losses in the fag-end of the session, and settled at 40,800.26 level, down 51.73 points or 0.13 per cent. Bharti Airtel, Tata Consultancy Services, and UltraTech Cements were the top gainers today, up 2 to 3 per cent on the index. On the contrary, L&T, ONGC, Hero MotoCorp and Infosys were the top laggards, down between 1.3 and 1.9 per cent. In the intra-day trade, Sensex slipped 393 points to hit a low of 40,476.55.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 closed at 12,025.35-mark, down 27.60 points or 0.23 per cent. The broader index hit a low of 11,929.60, down 123.35 points.
Sectorally, NIfty IT and FMCG indices gained 0.37 and 0.11 per cent, respectively at close. On the other hand, Nifty Auto index closed 0.75 per cent lower.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE mid-cap index inched 0.08 per cent higher at 14,873.91, while the S&P BSE small-cap index closed 0.18 per cent higher at 13,876.68 level.
>> Shares of Adani Enterprises slipped as much as 4.6 per cent to Rs 194.65 on the BSE on Wednesday after media reports suggested that the Supreme Court has set aside Bombay High Court's order giving relief to the firm in the coal import case. According reports, the SC has sought reply from Adani Enterprises on plea by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence alleging over invoicing of imported coal. The stock bounced back from lows to settle 1.2 per cent lower at Rs 201.55
>> Eicher Motors shares were trading lower for the seventh straight day, down 4.7 per cent to Rs 19,810 on the BSE on Wednesday on weak December sales. The stock was trading at its lowest level since October 24, 2019. It closed 4.4 per cent lower on the BSE.
>> Shares of Navin Fluorine International surged 8.1 per cent to hit a new high of Rs 1,104.75 on the BSE on Wednesday, in an otherwise weak market, after commencement of commercial production at Dewas, Madhya Pradesh plant. The stock was at Rs 1,090.65 at close, up 6.74 per cent.
Asian shares tumbled on Wednesday, while oil, safe-haven Treasury prices and gold shot higher after Iran fired rockets at US-led forces in Iraq. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.72 per cent, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 1.18 per cent lower.
In Europe, the pan-European STOXX 600 equity index was down 0.5 per cent by 1:40 PM.