The Indian equity benchmarks settled lower on Thursday, December 30 amid volatile trading on the F&O expiry day, along with the expiry of derivates, and dragged by industry heavyweights such as Reliance, Bajaj Auto.
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex slipped 12.17 points to end at 57, 794.32, while the Nifty 50 declined 9.65 pts lower to 17,203.95. NTPC, IndusInd Bank, HCL Tech, and Cipla were the top gainers. On the flipside, heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, Bajaj Auto, JSW Steel, and Tata Steel were the top laggards on the NSE.
Gains in IT and pharma shares kept the market afloat for some part of today's session. Shares of pharma majors such as Cipla and Dr Reddy's Laboratories gained for the second straight day after India approved Merck's COVID-19 pill and two more vaccines for emergency use. Markets also witnessed cautious trading as the country reported its highest daily jump with 13,154 fresh COVID-19 cases today after a month.
The Nifty IT index gained one per cent and the pharma index added 0.44 per cent. The IT index has gained for a fifth straight week and is up over 59 per cent, so far this year. Mid- and small-cap shares ended mixed as Nifty Midcap 100 index was down 0.37 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 0.24 per cent.
"It has been quite a volatile month for Nifty, wherein Nifty fell to a low of 16,400 at the same time has also seen a high of 17,600. Currently, it looks like Nifty is going to end 1-1.5 per cent up for the month of December.
FIIs have sold equities worth almost $2.7 billion in the month of December. This is the third consecutive month wherein FIIs would be the net sellers. Overall, FIIs continue to be the net sellers for the entire year 2021,'' said Rahul Gupta, AVP-Derivative Sales, Institutional Equity, Emkay Global Financial Services
''Going forward two important things to watch out for in the market, one is the spread of the new variant Omicron and at the same time how the Fed policy panes out. The Fed has already indicated three rate hikes in 2022. From the expiry perspective, the fair roles should be around 34-35 bps this month,'' added Mr Gupta.
In the currency market, the rupee climbed 29 paise to settle at 74.42 against the US dollar tracking year-end dollar selling by banks and exporters amid muted domestic equities.
In global markets, world stocks snapped a seven-day rising streak today as the spread of Omicron worldwide clouded bumper year-to-date gains, dented oil prices, and boosted the dollar. MSCI's global equity index has managed a 17 per cent gain for the year, led by rises of 28 per cent and 22 per cent in the S&P 500 and Europe's STOXX 600 respectively.
On the stock-specific front, RBL Bank declined more than nine per cent after a report said that a Rs 300 crore write-off was the key reason for India's banking regulator's intervention in the private lender. Also, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today approved Rajeev Ahuja's appointment as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of RBL Bank.
Shares of IT majors such as HCL Tech, Tech Mahindra, and Infosys extended gains in today's session, along with pharma shares. HCL Tech settled as one of the top gainers on the NSE after reports said that the company's promoters will purchase 45 lakh shares of the firm in the open market.