Trading in Samvat 2074 got off to a rocky start, with the benchmark indices ending more than half a% lower and gauge for banking stocks dropping 1.25%. The BSE Sensex on Thursday fell 194.4 points, or 0.6% to close at 32,390, the Nifty 50 index fell 64.3, or 0.63% to close at 10,147.
The Indian markets were open for an hour-long Muhurat trading 2017 to mark the start of the new Hindu calendar year — Samvat 2074. This was worst Muhurat day performance since 2007, when markets had declined 0.8%.
The fall in the market was on account of a global sell-off which saw the Hong Kong market tumble the most this year and the European equities fall the most in two months. Market players said some domestic investors also resorted to profit-booking after a healthy 18% rally in the just-concluded Samvat 2073.
“The markets have been weak in the past few sessions.
However, gains in certain index heavyweights, like Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank, prevented a big fall at the index level. Thursday’s fall was more pronounced as the banking stocks, which have a huge weightage in the indices, saw sharp selling,” said Ambareesh Baliga, a senior research analyst.
The BSE Bankex fell 1.3%, with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank declining 2%, 1.6% and one% respectively. These three stocks accounted for half of the fall in the benchmark Sensex.
Globally, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.9%, while China market too ended weak. Most European markets too were down 0.6%, while the US market had opened 0.3% lower.
Experts said the political crisis in Spain, earnings disappointment in Europe and the Hong Kong sell-off impacted global investor sentiment. Oil prices fell for the first time in five days, while safe-haven assets such as Swiss franc, Japanese yen and gold rallied.
Thursday’s weakness notwithstanding, most market players are hopeful that the Indian markets will once again deliver double-digit returns over the next one year.
“Next Samvat, the market returns could be even better. We expect double-digit earnings growth from this year onwards. The earnings momentum will sustain for the over the next three to five years, which will ensure huge upside in stock prices,” said Deven Choksey, MD, KR Choksey Investment Managers.