Extending loss for the third consecutive session, the Indian share market closed lower on Thursday, undermining firm cues from Asian peers which ended mostly higher after China lowered its mortgage reference rate. With little over one week left for the Union Budget 2022, investors resorted to profit booking to take advantage of the recent rally in the stock market. Adding to it, sustained selling by foreign investors, rising U.S. bond yields, record surge in oil prices, and persistent concerns over inflation also triggered sell-off in the market.

The BSE Sensex closed below the psychological mark of 60,000, while the Nifty50 slipped below the 17,800 mark. Sensex dropped 634 points, or 1.06%, to 59,464, while the NSE Nifty plunged 181 points, or 1.01%, to 17,757.

Outperforming the benchmark indices, the broader markets ended on a flat note, with the S&P BSE Midcap index falling 0.07%, and the S&P BSE Smallcap index rising 0.05%.

The overall market breadth on the BSE was positive, with 1,870 shares advancing out of total 3,744 traded stocks. Out of the total shares, 1,770 shares declined and 104 scrips remained unchanged.

On the sectoral front, IT and tech stocks emerged as top laggards, while power and metal stocks gained the most. The BSE IT index ended 1.69% lower, led by Mastek, Oracle Financial Services Software, 63 Moons Technologies, Datamatics Global Services, and Zensar Technologies. Meanwhile, the BSE Tech index dropped 1.45%, weighed down by Sterlite Technologies, Hughes Ispat, Tata Communications, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, and Inox Leisure.

On the initial public offering (IPO) front, the ₹680-crore issue of AGS Transact Technologies was subscribed 1.28 times by the afternoon of January 20, the second day of bidding. As per the data available on the exchange, investors bid for 3.66 crore equity shares of the payment solutions provider against an offer size of 2.86 crore equity shares. The quota for retail investors has been subscribed 1.82 times and that of non-institutional investors 1.1 times. The price band for the offer has been fixed at ₹166-175 a share.

Top gainers and losers

Financial services company Bajaj Finserv emerged as the top loser on the BSE Sensex by falling 4.6% as investors reacted to its December quarter earnings. Some of the other notable losers include Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, and Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL), which ended over 2% lower.

On the gaining side, power utility company Power Grid Corporation of India topped the gainers’ chart by rising 4.86%. The other top performers include Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints, Maruti Suzuki India, and UltraTech Cement, which gained in the range of 0.3% to 1.6%.

Shares in news

Asian Paints: Shares of the paint company ended 0.7% higher after it released earnings report for December quarter of 2021. The company has reported 18% decline in consolidated net profit at ₹1,015.69 crore compared with ₹1,238.34 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Revenue from operations rose 25.6 per cent YoY to ₹8,527.24 crore.

Bajaj Finserv: Shares of the Bajaj group company dropped 4.6% after it reported a 2.63% fall in consolidated net profit at ₹1,256 crore for the quarter ended December 2021, from ₹1,290 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. The total revenue from operations jumped 10.21% to ₹17,589 crore from ₹15,959 crore in the same quarter a year ago.

Rallis India: The share price of the chemical company dipped 6.2% after it reported disappointing Q3 results. The company posted a 13.3% year-on-year (YoY) fall in its profit after tax (after exceptional items) at ₹40 crore in December quarter of 2021. The Tata Group company had posted a net profit of ₹46 crore in Q3 FY21.

Mastek: Shares of technology company tumbled 11.5% after it reported subdued earnings for the December quarter of 2021. The consolidated net profit rose 2.4% to ₹83.5 crore in Q3 FY22, as against ₹83.5 crore in Q2 FY22. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) margin contracted by 7 bps quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) at 21.1% in Q3 FY22.

PTC India Financial Services: The share price plunged 18.3% following the resignation of three independent directors, who raised concerns over corporate governance standards at the company. PTC India Financial Services in an exchange filing on Wednesday said that independent directors Kamlesh Vikamsey, Thomas Mathew, and Santosh Nayar have resigned with immediate effect.

Apollo Hospitals Enterprise: Shares of the hospital chain operator rose 2.6% after analysts at Jefferies maintained the 'buy' call on the stock with a target of ₹6,060 per share, an upside of over 29% from current market price.

Asian markets ended mixed on weak global cues

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region closed mixed on Thursday, undermining weak cues from Wall Street which finished lower overnight. The market sentiment was lifted after China on Thursday lowered its mortgage reference rate for the first time in nearly two years, which boosted property stocks. However, persistent concerns about rising Treasury yields and raging spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 cases across the globe and its impact on the economic recovery.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong emerged as the best performer in the region by ending 3.4% higher, followed by Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which closed 1.1% higher, reversing some of the losses incurred in the last two sessions. South Korea’s KOSPI also added 0.72%.

In mainland China, Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component ended lower with marginal losses. In a similar trend, Taiwan Weighted Index and Thailand’s SET Composite settled a tad lower.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ASX 200 index closed a tad higher, while the Straits Times Index in Singapore rose 0.3%.

European shares follow Wall Street lower

Most of the European stocks opened lower today, following weak cues from Wall Street as investors weighed the rise in the U.S. bond yields and crude prices.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.1% in early trade, while France’s CAC index slipped 0.4%. In a similar trend, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.2%, while Spain’s IBEX index shed 0.1%.

Bucking the trend, Italy’s FTSE MIB index rose 0.1% in early deals.

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