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Sensex logs cautious gains as metals see selling pressure

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The S&P BSE Sensex index started the day up 68.88 points at 49,971.52.
NEW DELHI: Domestic indices slipped into the red after a firm start on Thursday as minutes of the US Fed minutes of April policy review stoked fears of tapering talks, sending the dollar higher and global equities lower. Wild swings in cryptocurrencies globally also hurt the sentiment of Dalal Street.

At 9:24 am, the BSE Sensex was quoting marginally lower at 49,860.77 after gaining as much as 180 points in early trade. The NSE Nifty took out the 15,050-mark in early trade, only to slip below the 15,000 level.

Aditya Agarwala of YES Securities said that a failure to hold support at 15,000 can trigger profit booking, dragging the index to levels of 14,950-14,900. “A trade beyond 15,130 level will take the index higher to levels of 15,240-15,300,” he said.

ONGC fell 1.91 per cent to Rs 112.65. Sun Pharma, Nestle India, Bajaj Finance and Kotak Bank declined up to 1.6 per cent. TCS, Bharti Airtel, HCL Tech and Power Grip fell up to 1 per cent. Titan Company climbed 2 per cent to Rs 1,553. ICICI Bank, L&T and Infosys gained marginally.

Shares of Axis Bank fell 1.05 per cent to Rs 709.20. The issue opened for retail investors on Thursday. The government is selling up to 5.80 crore shares or 1.95 per cent stake held through the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI) in Axis Bank at a floor price of Rs 680 apiece.

Fed minutes published overnight suggested that a number of policymakers were of view that if the recovery in the US economy holds up, it would be appropriate to “begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases”.

The April meeting occurred before the release of key economic data, including an unexpected weakness in the labour market and surge in US inflation to 4.2 per cent level led by a supply-demand imbalance. The Fed has since repeatedly offered assurances that surging prices in the near term will not translate to long-term inflation.

“The official statement from the FOMC minutes meeting was cautiously optimistic about the US recovery. At its worst moment, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies held double-digit percentage losses as the statement given by the People’s Bank of China reiterating that digital currency can’t be used as a form of payment,” said Mohit Nigam, Head PMS at Hem Securities.

Bitcoin plunged as much as 30 per cent to $30,000 overnight. It recovered some ground and was trading above $38,000 after a Tesla founder Elon Musk’s “diamond hands” tweet, which was interpreted as the company’s commitment to hold on to their Bitcoin position the company took earlier this year with an investment of $1.5 billion.

Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO of ZebPay said a 40 per cent dip in the Bitcoin price from its all-time high looks dramatic but is normal in many volatile markets, including cryptos, especially after such a large rally.

“Such corrections are mainly due to short-term traders taking profits. Long-term value investors might call these lower prices a buying opportunity, as MicroStrategy just did. Technical analysts would call this a test of the support level around $40,000. Neither type of investor would say that tweets are the underlying cause. Use strategies like rupee cost averaging and SIPs to more confidently manoeuvre through volatility and take a long-term view,” he said.

The day would see a host of companies including Havells India, Bosch, HPCL, Relaxo Footwears, Torrent Power, ZEE Entertainment, KNR Constructions, JK Lakshmi Cement, Meghmani Organics and Usha Martin announcing their March quarter results.

Asian markets were trading largely lower in Thursday’s trade. Japan’s Nikkei225 index was down 0.48 percent or 134.79 points at 27,909.66 in early trade. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.63 per cent, or 180.32 points, to 28,413.49. China’s Shanghai Composite index shed 0.29 percent, or 10.09 points, to 3,500.88. Korea’s Kospi also fell half-a-per cent.

In overnight trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 164.62 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 33,896.04, the S&P500 index lost 12.15 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 4,115.68 and the Nasdaq Composite index dropped 3.90 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 13,299.74.

(What’s moving Sensex and Nifty Track latest market news, stock tips and expert advice on ETMarkets. Also, ETMarkets.com is now on Telegram. For fastest news alerts on financial markets, investment strategies and stocks alerts, subscribe to our Telegram feeds.)

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