Eyes on Budget: Free fall continues, Sensex tumbles 588 points

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The Nifty dived 182.95 points (1.32%) to close at 13,634.6 while the Sensex crashed 588.59 points (1.26%) to 46,285.77.

Equities witnessed their longest losing streak since September after the benchmark indices plunged for the sixth straight session on Friday. The Nifty dived 182.95 points (1.32%) to close at 13,634.6 while the Sensex crashed 588.59 points (1.26%) to 46,285.77. The equity markets have declined by nearly 4.5% for the week.

Selling of Indian shares by foreign portfolio investors and the impending Union Budget made investors jittery this week. The risk-off sentiment globally also dampened the sentiment in India. The markets in Germany, France and the UK were down between 0.75% and 1.01%. They were mirroring the fall in the Asian markets, with the bourses in China, Hong Kong and South Korea declining by 0.63% to 3.03%.

The markets abroad have witnessed a correction this week because of increased speculative activities in stocks such as GameStop that hurt the investor sentiment in the US, along with concerns over the delay in US fiscal stimulus and slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Concerns over valuations of stocks also engulfed the markets globally. Rusmik Oza, executive vice president, head of fundamental research, Kotak Securities, said: “The market mood has turned fragile as investors have become wary of risks from the upcoming Budget, and also on account of selling by FIIs this week. International markets are also in correction mode.”

FPIs remained sellers for the fourth consecutive session, pulling out $801.14 million on Friday.

Despite the corrections this week, experts said most results declared by listed companies so far have beat expectations and only a few companies failed to meet analyst estimates in third quarter. The banking sector’s performance, however, was not strong enough. ICICI Securities said, “To date, Q3FY21 is turning out to be the third quarter in a row to show more beats than misses, indicating corporate profitability continues to be ahead of expectations which should lead to further upgrades.”

The markets on Friday were dragged by stocks belonging to the IT and automobile sectors. Shares that gained belonged to the financial sector. The biggest gainers on the Nifty were IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharmaceuticals, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and HDFC Life with gains of 6.14%, 4.26%, 2%, 1.43%, and 1.19%. Major losers were DRL, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Steel and Bharti Airtel, down by 5.3%, 4.83%, 3.69%, 3.3%, and 3.27%.

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