Market extends losses as India-Pak tension escalates



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Mumbai, Feb 27 (PTI) The benchmark BSE Sensex surrendered early gains Wednesday to end in the negative terrain after a 600-point swing amid escalating cross-border tension between India and Pakistan.

Investor sentiment took a beating after Pakistani fighter jets on Wednesday violated Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Nowshera sectors, experts said.

After opening on a positive note, the 30-share Sensex swung over 600 points as it turned volatile triggered by across-the-market selling by participants, finally settling 68.28 points, or 0.19 per cent, lower at 35,905.43. The gauge had lost 239.67 points Tuesday.

In similar movement, the 50-share Nifty ended 28.65 points, or 0.26 per cent, lower to 10,806.65. Intra-day, it moved between 10,939.70 and 10,751.20.

“Indian market ended the day in the red after a volatile session as tension between India Pakistan escalated further,” said Hemang Jani, Head – Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

One can expect the market to be volatile for the next few days as the political environment comes under pressure. Investors will remain cautious and look for clarity on the cross-border tension, he said, adding that there is need to understand that the fundamentals of the Indian market continues to remain strong.

“Inflation has remained tepid and globally we continue to be a preferred investment destination amongst emerging markets,” he said.

Pakistan on Wednesday claimed that it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested one of the pilots.

Later in the day, India’s External Affairs Ministry said Pakistan has used its Air Force to target military installations in India in response to Indian counter-terrorism operations but their attempts were foiled successfully, though one Indian pilot is “missing in action”.

The move came after the Indian Air Force on Tuesday struck Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest camp in Pakistan in a major “preemptive” action, killing a large number of terrorists and trainers of the Pak-based terror group preparing to carry out suicide attacks in India.

Fears that foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who have been pumping sizeable funds into the Indian bourses in the past few sessions, may slow down their activity, too cast a shadow over domestic equities, experts said.

On Tuesday, domestic institutional investors sold equities to the tune of Rs 720.27 crore, while Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,674.17 crore, provisional data showed.

In the Sensex kitty on Wednesday, Tata Motors emerged as the top loser falling 3.01 per cent, followed by Vedanta shedding 2.92 per cent.

Other laggards include HUL, Kotak Bank, NTPC, Infosys, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Finance, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, HDFC, IndusInd Bank and PowerGrid, falling up to 1.77 per cent.

On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Auto, L&T, Sun Pharma, Axis Bank, TCS, M&M, Maruti Suzuki, Coal India, SBI, ITC, Tata Steel, ONGC, HCL Tech, RIL and Asian Paints, ended up to 2.43 per cent higher.

Sectorwise, the BSE consumer durables index emerged worst performer by falling 0.70 per cent, followed by power 0.45 per cent, bankex 0.44 per cent, metal 0.42 per cent, teck 0.38 per cent, FMCG 0.35, IT 0.30 per cent and oil & gas 0.17 per cent.

While, capital goods index topped the gainers list by rising 1.13 per cent. Healthcare, auto, infrastructure, realty and PSU indices too ended higher with gains up to 0.31 per cent.

Outperforming benchmarks, the broader markets displayed a better trend with the mid-cap index rising 0.40 per cent and small-cap index gaining 0.17 per cent.

The rupee, meanwhile, depreciated 25 paise to 71.32 after touching a low of 71.49 against the dollar (intra-day).

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.05 per cent, Singapore’s Straits Times down 0.36 per cent, Taiwan index fell 0.02 per cent. However, Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.42 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.50 per cent.

In the euro zone, Frankfurt’s DAX dropped 0.72 per cent, Paris CAC 40 shed 0.32 per cent in their early session. London’s FTSE too fell 0.81 per cent.

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