Markets pause as investors look to electoral slugfest

Mumbai: India’s key equity indices oscillated in a thin range during the holiday-shortened week (November 5-9), ending with slight gains, as investors keep an eye out on a string of assembly polls lined up this month and the next.

The Sensex gained 0.40 per cent, while the the Nifty advanced 0.30 per cent. These gains follow the previous week’s sharp rally which had sent the barometer indices 5 per cent higher.

The markets stalled during the week gone by, despite lower crude oil prices and a stronger rupee vis-a-vis the dollar, as investors turned cautious ahead of assembly polls, according to analysts.

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram go to polls this month and the next to reconstitute their respective assemblies. The BJP rules Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, and a return to power in these states will bolster Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances of winning next year’s general election.

For the week under review, the S&P BSE Sensex gained 146.9 points, or 0.41 per cent, to close at 35,158.55.

The 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange advanced 32 points, or 0.30 per cent, to settle at 10,585.20.

The markets were shut on Thursday on the occasion of ‘Laxmi Pujan’. On Diwali the previous day, the BSE and the NSE counducted a special ‘Muhurat’ trading between 5.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. The Sensex settled 245.77 points higher, while the Nifty gained 68.40 points after the ‘Muhurat’ trading.

“Global cues were negative as the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged in an unanimous decision, but signalled that it would continue to tighten monetary policy at a gradual pace,” said Rahul Sharma, Senior Research Analyst with Equity99.

“Meanwhile, the Democrats took control of the US House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections and will pose a major challenge to President Donald Trump’s domestic and foreign policies going forward.”

The rupee on Friday closed at 72.49 per dollar after logging a single-day gain of 51 paise. It had closed at 72.44 the previous week.

The provisional investment figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors bought scrips worth Rs 157.79 crore in the week ended November 9.

The domestic institutional investors sold Rs 813.42-crore stocks in the past week.

Sectoral gainers for the week were realty, IT, infrastructure, finance, banking, auto, energy and pharma indices while the sectoral loser was the metal index, said Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

Figures from the BSE indicated that the energy sector was the worst-performing sector and the biggest contributor to losses during October.

A rebound in the sector could be attributed to a significant decline in Brent crude prices, which fell below the $70-a-barrel mark on Friday.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were Yes Bank (up 11.83 per cent at Rs 227.85); Tata Motors (up 9.31 per cent at Rs 195.40); Maruti Suzuki (up 8.29 per cent at Rs 7,265.50); Tata Motors (DVR) (up 7.44 per cent at Rs 104.75); and Asian Paints (up 6.65 per cent at Rs 1,298.20 per share).

The major losers were Vedanta (down 1.90 per cent at Rs 208.85); NTPC (down 1.66 per cent at Rs 154.25); Wipro (down 1.53 per cent at Rs 324.90); TCS (down 1.28 per cent at Rs 1,909.80); and SBI (down 0.95 per cent at Rs 283 per share).