Market Wrap, March 15: Here’s all that happened in the markets today

Bears remained in the driver’s seat for the second straight day on Monday as a cocktail of weak macroeconomic data, resurgence in Covid-19 infections, elevated crude prices, and jump in bond yields weighed on sentiment.

On the domestic front, industrial production growth re-entered the negative territory by contracting 1.6 per cent in January, while retail inflation soared to a three-month high of 5.03 per cent in February on costlier food items. That apart, WPI inflation came in at a 27-month high of 4.17 per cent in February, up from 2.03 per cent in January.

This comes on close heels of a consistent rise in Covid-19 cases in the country. India recorded 26,291 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, its highest single-day spike in 85 days, taking the country’s infection tally to 1.14 crore according to Union Health Ministry data. Moreover, the latest concerns surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine and suspension of its use in some nations in Europe added to investors’ woes.

Globally, the 10-year US Treasuries yield stood at 1.634 per cent, having risen to as high as 1.642 per cent on Friday, a high last seen in February last year. Besides, Brent crude was back near $70 a barrel mark.

Against this backdrop, the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex tumbled 397 points, or 0.78 per cent, to end the day at 50,395 levels. In the intra-day deals, the index had plunged 993 points to hit a low of 49,799. Index breadth remained tilted towards declines with 19 of the 30 stocks ending the session in the red. Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Bajaj Auto, M&M, L&T, and Asian Paints closed the day as the top laggards on the index while Power Grid, HCL Tech, Tech Mahindra, NTPC, Titan, IndusInd Bank, SBI, and TCS closed as top gainers.

On the NSE, the Nifty50 index ended at 14,929 levels, down 101 points or 0.67 per cent. In the intra-day deals, the index slipped below the 14,750 levels to hit a low 14,746.

Weightage-wise, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC, Bajaj Finance, L&T, Axis Bank, Infosys, and Asian Paints, down between 0.6 per cent and 3 per cent, dragged the indices lower today.

The broader markets, however, outperformed the benchmark indices and closed with relatively lesser cuts. The S&P BSE MidCap index closed at 20,429 levels, down 0.72 per cent while the S&P BSE SmallCap index ended at 21,096 levels, down 0.53 per cent.

Individually, shares of MTAR Technologies, a precision engineering solutions company, made a strong debut at the bourses today, listing at Rs 1,064, up 85 per cent against its issue price of Rs 575 per share on the BSE on Monday. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the stock opened at Rs 1,050, up 83 per cent against its issue price.

Post listing, the stock zoomed 93 per cent, hitting a high of Rs 1,110 on the BSE and Rs 1,100 on the NSE. The stock pared gains partially and closed at an 88 per cent premium against the issue price at Rs 1,082 per share.

That apart, shares of Vaibhav Global hit a new high of Rs 4,513 after they rallied 8.5 per cent on the BSE in intra-day trade on Monday. In the past three months, the stock has zoomed 115 per cent after it reported a strong operational performance for the quarter ended December 2020. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex has risen 7.7 per cent during the same period. At close, the stock was quoting 6 per cent higher at Rs 4,402 apiece.

In terms of sectoral performance, banking and financial services stocks were the hardest hit as rising yields as negative implications for the G-Sec bonds that the banks/NBFCs hold. In the intra-day trade, the Nifty Bank index hit an intra-day low of 34,443.90, its lowest level since February 4, 2021. At close, the index was at 35,182, down 0.88 per cent.

The Nifty Pharma, Realty, and Financial Services indices closed 1 per cent lower each. On the upside, last-hour gains in the Nifty IT, FMCG, Metal, and PSU Bank indices, up 0.04 per cent to 1 per cent, trimmed losses in the market.

Primary market action

Despite weakness in the secondary market, investor interest remained intact in the latest IPO offers. To begin with, the IPO of Anupam Rasayan, which is in its second day of the issue, has been oversubscribed by 2.2 times till about 4 PM.

Two other IPOs, Laxmi Organics and Craftsman Automation, too, opened today. Of these, the issue of Laxmi has been subscribed 1.8 times so far while that of Craftsman Automation has been subscribed 44 per cent.

Global markets

European stocks rose on Monday with optimism about a strong economic rebound calming concerns about quickening inflation.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7 per cent in early trading, inching closer to a record peak set last year.

In Asia, S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 per cent, just below a record high level touched last week. The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was also up 0.1 per cent.

Mainland Chinese shares, however, dropped despite data showing a quickening in industrial output and a rise in retail sales, with bluechip CSI 300 index falling 2.2 per cent on policy tightening worries.

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