MUMBAI, Feb 23 (PTI): Equity benchmark indices buckled under selling pressure for the fifth straight session on Thursday as a bearish trend in Asian markets and concerns over rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve unnerved investors.
Besides, fresh foreign fund outflows also hit investor sentiments, traders said.
In a highly volatile trade amid monthly derivatives expiry, the BSE Sensex declined 139.18 points or 0.23 per cent to settle at 59,605.80. During the day, it hit a high of 59,960.04 and a low of 59,406.31.
The NSE Nifty slipped 43.05 points or 0.25 per cent to end at 17,511.25.
In the Sensex pack, Asian Paints, Larsen & Toubro, Titan, IndusInd Bank, Bharti Airtel, Power Grid, Bajaj Finserv, Infosys, HDFC Bank and HDFC were the major laggards.
On the other hand, Axis Bank, Tata Motors, ITC, State Bank of India, Tata Steel and Sun Pharma were among the gainers.
“The equity market traded cautiously between gains and losses as the minutes of the central bank policy meeting revealed concerns over high inflation and its commitment to bring inflation under control.”
“In response to the heightened fears of rate hikes, the US 10 yr treasury yield continued to stay high, near 4 per cent. Additionally, the dollar index rose as the greenback cheered over hawkish Fed comments and rising geopolitical tensions,” said Vinod Nair, head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
In the broader market, the BSE midcap gauge declined 0.40 per cent, while the smallcap index gained marginally by 0.06 per cent.
Among the sectoral indices, realty declined by 1.60 per cent, utilities by 1.29 per cent, power (1.19 per cent), consumer durables (0.95 per cent) and capital goods (0.84 per cent).
FMCG, auto, bankex, metal, oil & gas and services were the gainers.
“Nifty fell for the fifth consecutive session, to close at 17,511. Nifty ended below its 200 Days EMA for the second consecutive day. Today, Nifty found support at its upward sloping trend line adjoining the lows of September 30, 2022, and February 1, 2023,” Nandish Shah, VP and senior derivative and technical analyst, HDFC Securities, said.
Nifty smallcap and midcap indices found support on their previous swing lows on the daily charts and saw some recovery. The advance-decline ratio remained in favour of declining shares for the fourth day in a row and stood at 0.88, Shah added.
“The benchmark Nifty remained volatile on the last day of February’s F&O expiry. During the day, Nifty managed to hold above the morning low of 17,455. Going ahead, the low of 17,455 is likely to act as immediate support for the falling Nifty,” Rupak De, senior technical analyst at LKP Securities, said.
In Asian markets, China and Hong Kong settled lower, while South Korea ended higher. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
European equities were trading mostly in the green during afternoon trade.
The US markets ended on a mixed note on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated by 15 paise to close at 82.73 (provisional) against the US dollar on Thursday.
International oil benchmark Brent crude climbed 0.32 per cent to USD 80.86 per barrel.
Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) offloaded shares worth Rs 579.82 crore on Wednesday, according to exchange data.