Market Wrap, March 3: Here’s all that happened in the markets today

Improved economic situation, stability in bond yields globally, and ‘buy on dips’ strategy worked in the favour of the bulls, pushing benchmark indices over 2 per cent higher on Wednesday.

India’s services activity expanded at the fastest rate in a year during February, even as employment fell further and companies noted the sharpest rise in overall expenses, Services PMI showed earlier today. The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index rose from 52.8 in January to 55.3 in February, boosted sentiment on D Street.

Barring auto, all the key sectoral indices were trading between 1.5 per cent and 3.3 per cent higher on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) highlighting strength in the market. The Nifty PSU Bank and Metal indices gained over 3 per cent each on the NSE while the Nifty Bank, Financial Services, Private Bank, Realty, and IT indices were up between 1.8 per cent and 2.8 per cent.

The frontline Nifty50 index made a dash for 15,300-mark in the intra-day trade, and hit a high of 15,273. The index cooled-off marginally and settled at 15,246 levels, up 326 points or 2.19 per cent.

On the BSE, the S&P BSE Sensex touched a high of 51,540 during the day but retreated to end at 51,445 levels, up 1,148 points or 2.28 per cent.

Blue-chip stocks such as Reliance Industries, HDFC, Infosys, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank gave the index 800-points lift today. These stocks advanced in the range of 3 per cent to 5 per cent. Additionally, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, SBI, IndusInd Bank, and Dr Reddy’s Labs, all up between 2 per cent and 5 per cent, were the other top gainers.

Auto stocks such as Bajaj Auto, Maruti Suzuki, and M&M declined up to 1.35 per cent on the back of profit-booking and were the only top drags on the Sensex. Hero MotoCorp, BPCL, and Titan, down 1.5 per cent, 0.5 per cent, and 0.05 per cent, were the additional losers on the Nifty index.

In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices closed 1.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent higher, respectively.

Global markets

Asian shares edged higher on Wednesday as investors shrugged off concerns that stocks may have rallied too far too fast in the past year.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.12 per cent. Australian shares were up 0.82 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index rose 0.45 per cent. Shares in China gained 1.27 per cent. E-mini S&P futures were up 0.36 per cent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7 per cent, while the German DAX gained 0.9 per cent, France’s CAC 40 was up 0.8 per cent and the UK’s FTSE 100 added 1 per cent.

Now, here’s your dose of market insights:

>> Shares of RIL ended 4.7 per cent higher at Rs 2,207 after Reliance Jio emerged as the highest bidder in the 4G telecom spectrum auction, beating incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea by a wide margin.

>> Those of Adani Enterprises, too, ended 5 per cent higher at Rs 916. In the intra-day trade, the firm joined the elite club of companies with Rs 1-trillion market capitalization and recorded an m-cap of Rs 1.01 trillion at 3:30 PM. Adani Enterprises is now at 39th position in the overall market-cap ranking.

>> Shares of IRCON International Ltd, on Wednesday, fell 7.4 per cent to Rs 90.55 on the BSE after the company announced offer for sale (OFS) for up to 16 per cent government stake at a floor price of Rs 88 per share, which opened today for non-retail investors and will open for retail investors tomorrow.

>> The prospects of temperatures being above normal in north India between March and May 2021 bodes well for cooling and refrigeration system makers over the next few months. The government’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme is another factor, they believe, which will help companies in this sector. Analysts have turned bullish on Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India, Whirlpool, Voltas and Blue Star. Shares of these firms ended up to 1.5% higher today.

>> Banking giants State Bank of India and Kotak Mahindra Bank’s decision to slash home loan rates by 10-15 bps to 6.7 per cent and 6.65 per cent, respectively may pull customers away from pure housing financiers, especially smaller players, believe analysts. Analysts believe that even though the rate cuts by banks may offer opportunities to larger players like HDFC and LIC Housing Finance to step-up in the business; it may push small HFCs with weaker balance sheets to the corner.

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