Indian equity indices closed flat on Wednesday as gains from index heavyweights Reliance Industries, SBI and Axis Bank were offset by Infosys, TCS, and HDFC Bank.

Information technology stocks dropped after global major Cognizant’s quarterly results and commentary reaffirmed weakness in client spending.

The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex fell 34 points or 0.05% to settle at 72,152. The broader NSE Nifty rose 0.01% to end at 21,930.

From the Sensex stocks, SBI was the top gainer, rising over 4%. JSW Steel, Bajaj Finance, Nestle, Axis Bank, and Asian Paints also closed higher, while Tech Mahindra, Power Grid, Infosys, TCS, and HDFC Bank closed in the red.

Nestle India shares closed nearly 2% higher after the FMCG major reported a net profit of Rs 656 crore for the quarter ended December 2023, up 4% year-on-year (YoY) from Rs 628 crore posted in the same quarter last year.

YES Bank and Suryoday Small Finance Bank shares closed 17% and 7% higher, respectively, after the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) nod to HDFC Bank for acquiring up to 9.50% of the paid-up share capital or voting rights of the banks.Nifty IT fell 1.2%, dragged by Tech Mahindra, Infosys, TCS, and Wipro. While Nifty PSU Bank, Media, and Realty closed 1-3% higher. In the broader market, Nifty Midcap100 rose 0.75%, and Nifty Smallcap surged 0.7%.The market breadth was skewed in favour of the bulls. About 2,267 stocks gained, 1,605 declined, and 85 remained unchanged on the BSE.

Expert Views

“The domestic market exhibited cautious range-bound movement, despite robust PMI data and favourable global cues ahead of the RBI policy meet. While no change in stance is anticipated, the RBI’s commentary on any hints regarding potential rate cuts and improvements in liquidity will be closely monitored,” said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services.

Rupak De, senior technical analyst, LKP Securities, said, “Bears exerted downward pressure on the Nifty after an initially positive start. Sentiment remained somewhat weak as the market closed. Support is positioned at 21,850, and a breach below this level could potentially initiate a correction towards 21,700. On the upside, resistance is identified at 22,000.”

Global Market

Early on Wednesday, the MSCI All-World index rose 0.1% to reach its highest since mid-January 2023, led in part by a rally in Chinese blue-chips, which have gained almost 5% in the last two trading days alone.

In Europe, stocks were mostly flat in an earnings-heavy day, as a lift from consumer discretionaries such as LVMH was offset by a drop in shares of pharmaceutical companies.

S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures were down 0.1%. Companies reporting earnings on Wednesday include Uber, Walt Disney and PayPal.

Rupee Ends Stronger

The Indian rupee gained on Wednesday, in line with most of its Asian peers, on the back of dollar sales from two large foreign banks.

The rupee ended at 82.9675 against the US dollar, up 0.11% compared with its close at 83.0550 in the previous session.

Oil Rises

Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday after US crude inventories grew less than expected and a cut in the forecast for output growth in the US, the world’s biggest producer, eased concerns about potential oversupply.

Brent crude futures were up 26 cents to $78.85 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 27 cents to $73.58.

(With inputs from agencies)

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