Sensex trips 23 points on F&O expiry, muted earnings

Mumbai :In a see-saw trading, the benchmark Sensex today slipped almost 23 points to end at 24,469.57, snapping its three-session winning streak, on across-the-board selling as monthly derivatives contracts expired today.

The index was dragged down by losses mainly in engineering, banking, auto and IT sector stocks.

Selling towards the fag end on the last day of the January series of derivatives contracts, concerns over muted corporate earnings so far and mixed global cues hit markets too, brokers said.

At the conclusion of its policy meet, the US Fed hinted at more interest rate hikes this year despite the lingering economic uncertainty, which depressed mood further.

Participants were seen offloading their long bets in futures and options (F&O) segment instead of carrying them forward to the next series for February, they said.

“The F&O expiry, sustained foreign funds outflows and absence of any market boosting factor dampened market sentiment,” said Manoj Choraria, a Delhi-based NSE stock broker.

After resuming lower, the Sensex closed at 24,469.57, a fall of 22.82 points, or 0.09 per cent.

The index gained 530.18 points in the last three sessions.

The broader Nifty ended lower by 13.10 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 7,424.65 after trading between 7,409.60 and 7,468.85.

In Asia, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sank 2.92 per cent, the third straight loss, despite another huge injection of Chinese central bank cash into the financial system as investors fretted over the state of the economy.

Japan’s Nikkei ended 0.71 per cent lower, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.75 per cent.

Market heavyweights like L&T plunged 2.72 per cent, Axis Bank 2.06 per cent, BHEL 1.97 per cent, Adani Ports 1.86 per cent and HDFC Ltd 1.67 per cent.

Stocks of Bharti Airtel and ICICI Bank came under some pressure and lost 2.32 per cent and 1.69 per cent, respectively, ahead of their quarterly numbers, to be released later in the day.

Other big losers were Hero MotoCorp, Tata Steel, Wipro, Tata Motors, Cipla, Infosys, Maruti Suzuki and HDFC Bank.

Helped by covering-up of short positions, a few stocks such as Hindustan Unilever, M&M, ITC Ltd, RIL, Sun Pharma, GAIL and Lupin bucked the trend and ended higher by up to 3.02 per cent, which cushioned the fall.

Foreign portfolio investors net sold shares worth Rs 366.93 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

In the 30-share Sensex constituents, 16 ended lower and 14 higher.

Sector-wise, the BSE capital goods index suffered the most by losing 1.72 per cent, followed by banking (0.91 per cent), consumer durables (0.82 per cent) and auto (0.42 per cent).

Selling pressure also dragged down the BSE mid-cap index by 0.36 per cent and small-cap index by 0.04 per cent.