Marked by day-long swings, the stock market came off its nearly two-month high by falling over 119 points to close at 26,759, stumped by IT worries following proposed visa curbs in the US. The NSE Nifty too briefly retook the 8,300 level before capitulating.
Information technology stocks hit a rough patch after US lawmakers pushed ahead with legislation to put restrictions on use of H1B visas, a highly contentious issue — Infosys fell by as much as 2.50 per cent, TCS 2.18 per cent and Wipro 2.18 per cent.
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The Sensex opened higher and advanced to touch a high of 27,009.61 before ending at 26,759.23, down 119.01 points, or 0.44 per cent.
The gauge had gained 245.11 points in yesterday’s trade. The NSE 50-share Nifty also regained the 8,300 level before settling lower by 30 points, or 0.36 per cent, to close at 8,243.80.
On a weekly basis, both key indices — the Sensex and the Nifty — rose 132.77 points, or 0.49 per cent, and 58 points, or 0.70 per cent, respectively, pulling off their second consecutive surge.
“Stocks continued the week long surge, but with third quarter figures expected to flow in shortly, and with IT stocks bogged down by US visa restrictions fears, profit booking gained traction as the day drew to a close,” said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
ITC, Power Grid, Tata Motors, Adani Ports, Coal India, Axis Bank, NTPC, Reliance Industries and Bharti Airtel fell up to 1.56 per cent. However, ONGC, Asian Paints, Dr Reddy’s, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Bharti Airtel and Cipla ended up on the gainers list.
In the 30-share Sensex pack, 18 scrips ended with losses while the remaining 12 finished in the green.
Selling pressure pulled indices such as IT, realty, FMCG, consumer durables all lower. The IT index suffered the maximum pain by falling 2.54 per cent as two US lawmakers reintroduced a Bill to curb the use of H-1B visas, including requiring employers to shell out more for workers.
Others that felt the squeeze were technology, down 2.16 per cent, realty 0.97 per cent, FMCG 0.81 per cent. But banking and healthcare bucked the trend and ended in the green.
The BSE small and midcap indices also showed a weak trend, down 0.43 per cent and 0.27 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, foreign funds continued to dump shares worth Rs 86.88 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
A mixed trend at other Asian markets and a lower opening in Europe ahead of the US non-farm payrolls data triggered late selling on the domestic bourses here, brokers said.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japanese Nikkei fell 0.34 per cent and Shanghai Composite index was down 0.35 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.21 per cent today.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.1 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index slipped 0.2 per cent and Paris CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent.
“Despite starting the day on a positive note, benchmark indices failed to hold above the dotted line and succumbed to profit booking. Both the Sensex and the Nifty finally closed the day with losses of over 0.25 per cent,” said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager – Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.
“Institutional activity continued in a similar vein and the pace of selling by foreign institutional investors slowed considerably in yesterday’s trade.”