Along with global issues, political imbroglio on the domestic front, is expected to give some direction to the market
The domestic market is likely to open on a cautious note on mixed cues from the global arena as the implications of spiralling crude prices continued to weigh on investors and on the political drama in Delhi. US stocks ended lower amid choppy trade on Monday on global worries and a downgrade of the semiconductor sector by Wells Fargo. Markets in Asia were stable in early trade today as investors went bargain-hunting, picking up stocks at lower levels. The SGX Nifty was down 18.50 points at 5,460 compared to its previous close of 5,482.50.
On the local front, the political drama at the Centre is expected to go on a compromise formula to broker peace between the DMK and the UPA government at the Centre looked evasive. Ministers of the southern ally on Monday put off their decision to withdraw support to the central government as hectic parleys continued.
The Indian markets suffered a rough day yesterday following an oil price spike on the worsening crisis in Libya and fears of an interest rate hike that hit rate-sensitive stocks across the board. The global weakness was compounded by worries for the ruling United Progressive Front government as its southern ally, the DMK decided to pull out its ministers from the cabinet. Monday’s fall on Sensex and Nifty was the second biggest fall since 21 February 2011.
The market was sharply down till around 1pm, after which it tried pulling back and recovered quite a bit of the day's losses. In the end the Sensex closed down 264 points at 18,223 and the Nifty ended down 76 points at 5,463.
Wall Street closed in the red overnight after recovering from early lows on higher commodity prices and a downgrade of the semiconductor sector by US bank Wells Fargo. Crude-oil futures remained high on concerns that fighting in Libya would damage oil infrastructure. With no end in sight for the conflict, the oil market began to price in a much longer interruption to Libya's production of 1.6 million barrels a day.
Wells Fargo cut its view of the semiconductor sector to “market weight” from “overweight” for the first time in more than two years. Besides the downgrade, rising energy prices also impacted the sector. Among tech stocks, JDS Uniphase declined 6.9%, Applied Materials fell 4.6% and Advanced Micro Devices was down 4.2%.
The Dow Jones declined 79.85 points (0.66%) to 12,090.03. The S&P 500 fell 11.02 points (0.83%) to 1,310.13 and the Nasdaq shed 39.04 points (1.40%) to 2,745.63.
Markets in Asia were stable in early trade today as investors picked up beaten-down shares. However, possibility of central banks in the region rejigging interest rates to deal with rising prices.
The Hang Seng added 0.01%, the KLSE Composite rose 0.11%, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.39%, the Straits Times was up 0.01%, the Seoul Composite surged 0.67% and the Taiwan Weighted was 0.34% higher in early trade.
Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said while world food prices fell after spiking in 2008, they remain elevated and volatile, a situation likely to continue owing to rising production costs, growing demand from bio-fuels and pressure on supplies from a rapidly-expanding population.
The FAO report said that with global food consumption outpacing supply, “prices are projected to increase over the next decade and to continue to be at levels, on average, above those of the past decade.”
Back home, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Monday put on hold the resignation of its six ministers from the UPA government in a dramatic new turn with the party and Congress engaged in hectic negotiations to sort out their seat-sharing problems in Tamil Nadu.
On a day of hectic developments, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee telephoned DMK chief M Karunanidhi twice and urged him not to pull out his ministers from the Cabinet during the Budget Session and sought a day's time to resolve problems.
The market will continue to react to only specific events, like oil prices
The Indian markets suffered a rough day today following an oil price spike on the worsening crisis in Libya and fears of an interest rate hike that hit rate-sensitive stocks across the board. The global weakness was compounded by worries in the political arena for the ruling United Progressive Front government as it southern ally, the DMK decided to pull out its ministers from the cabinet.
Today's fall on Sensex and Nifty was the second biggest fall since 21 February 2011. Both the Sensex and the Nifty opened with a negative gap at 18,362 and 5,490 respectively. It turned out to be the day's high for the Sensex, whereas for the Nifty the intra-day high was 5,491.
The market was sharply down till around 1pm, after which it tried pulling back and recovered quite a bit of the day's losses. The intra-day low on both the Sensex and the Nifty was 18,059 and 5,408 respectively. In the end the Sensex closed down 264 points at 18,223 and the Nifty ended down 76 points at 5,463. The advance decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 400:1319.
In the Sensex stocks, five gained while 25 were in the red. The major gainer was Wipro which gained 1.04%, while Tata Power, Cipla, NTPC and ITC also ended up between 0.03% and 0.96%. Oil price fears dragged auto stocks to the bottom of the 30 stocks. Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki were the major losers on the benchmark, falling 3.64% and 3.73% respectively.
Among the Nifty stocks, there were nine gainers while 41 stocks fell. Here too Tata Motors was the worst loser (down 4.21%).
All the 13 sectoral indices on the BSE were in the negative. The biggest loser was BSE-Auto, which fell 2.55%. The other major loser was BSE-Capital Goods that lost 2.36%. it is widely expected that the Reserve Bank of India will raise key interest rates by 25 basis points in its monetary policy review on 1st March, as inflation has stayed well above the target. The BSE Bankex was among the bottom five sectoral indices today. Losing 1.60%.
In line with the 1.43% fall in the Sensex, the BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap also fell 1.41% and 1.43% respectively.
US crude rose to a 30-month high above $106 on Monday as civil unrest worsened in Libya. At home, the pull-out by the DMK could make things more difficult for prime minister Manmohan Singh to push through his agenda and economic reforms. But reports that the DMK would continue to support the government from outside contributed to recovery of the market post-noon. The Sensex rose 164 points from its intra-day low of 18,059, but still closed in the negative.
The sale of equities is finding its way to precious metals. Both gold and silver surpassed all previous records to hit new highs today. While gold surged Rs200 to Rs21,420 per 10 grams on rising seasonal demand, silver rose by Rs1,250 to Rs54,450 per kg on heavy buying by stockists and industrial units.
Dr C Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, said today that a hike in domestic fuel prices would become "inevitable'' if oil prices remained high. However, he said food inflation would decline from March.
"You see, the impact of the decline in vegetable prices started somewhere in the second week of February. Therefore, even the February numbers may not fully reflect the impact of the decline in vegetable prices. March numbers, I believe will show the result (and) it will come down. One can expect a sharper decline in March,'' he said.
In the Asian markets, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.76%, the Seoul Composite lost 1.22% and the Hang Seng was down 0.41%. The Shanghai Composite was the top gainer up 1.83%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.53% and the Straits Times was up 0.17%.
Today, FIIs were net sellers of equities worth Rs92.24 crore, while the DIIs were net buyers by Rs45.57crore.