Indian equity benchmarks traded lower in Friday's trade, dragged by pharma, financial, bank, consumer goods and metal stocks. The 30-share BSE Sensex slipped 225 points or 0.34 per cent to trade at 65,463, while the broader NSE Nifty was down 71 points or 0.36 per cent to trade at 19,473. Mid- and small-cap shares were up as Nifty Midcap 100 rose 0.09 per cent and small-cap climbed 0.31 per cent.
Asian markets were subdued today. Overnight, Wall Street equities edged higher after data showed that US consumer price inflation moderated in July, bolstering hopes that the US Federal Reserve is near the end of its rate-hiking cycle.
Back home, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) held repo rate steady at 6.50 per cent. But it now sees inflation at 6.20 per cent during the ongoing July-September quarter, significantly higher than the earlier forecast of 5.20 per cent.
The Reserve Bank also asked lenders to set aside a larger part of incremental deposits under the cash reserve ratio (CRR), to mop-up excess liquidity.
"Inflation data from the US indicate that the soft-landing narrative is intact. The Federal Reserve is likely to pause in September. This will support global equity markets. The only negative from the RBI's message yesterday is the hike in CRR to neutralise the excess liquidity created by the withdrawal of the Rs 2,000 notes. The indication from the RBI is that a rate cut can be expected only in Q1 of FY 25. This will be a headwind for the market. But the market is likely to remain strong. Banks, capital goods and autos are likely to do well, going forward," said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought Indian equities for the second straight session in the previous session, adding Rs 331 crore of shares, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought Rs 704 crore of equities.
10 out of the 15 sector gauges -- compiled by the National Stock Exchange -- were trading in the red. Sub-indexes Nifty Pharma, Nifty Financial Services, Nifty Bank, Nifty FMCG and Nifty Metal were underperforming the NSE platform by falling as much as 1.01 per cent, 0.41 per cent, 0.47 per cent, 0.47 per cent and 0.74 per cent, respectively.
On the stock-specific front, SBI Life was the top loser in the Nifty pack as the stock cracked 1.30 per cent to trade at Rs 1,317. Hero MotoCorp, Hindalco, JSW Steel and ICICI Bank fell up to 1.29 per cent.
In contrast, HCL Tech, Apollo Hospitals, PowerGrid, Titan and Grasim Industries were among the top gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,644 shares were advancing while 1,121 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, Hindustan Unilever, Infosys, Airtel, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) were among the top laggards.
Also, Hindware Home Innovation, Alkem Labs, Sequent, Scientific, Apollo Tyres tanked up to 12.04 per cent. On the other hand, HCC, Kirloskar Oil Engines, PTC Industries, Supreme Industries and GMM Pfaudler jumped up to 11 per cent.
On Thursday, Sensex had tanked 308 points or 0.47 per cent to close at 65,688, while Nifty had moved 89 points or 0.46 per cent down to settle at 19,543.
"The 19,500 regions came to the rescue again, but 19,600 was equally ready to discourage all upside attempts. There is now enough time spent inside this region, to make these breakout levels, but with 19,450 and 19,670 offering additional reinforcements on either side. Favoured view expects bias to strengthen in favour of the prevailing uptrend, but we will not be inclined to persist with such view beyond today. We will go in today expecting early weakness and consolidation to be limited to 19,556-19,540 regions followed by a push higher. Inability to do so could see buyers withdrawing at least until 19,400 or 19,235 is seen," said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
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