Markets open on a cautious note: Sensex turns choppy, Nifty below 12,000-mark; Infosys among top losers, falls up to 3%


Domestic equity benchmarks opened on a cautious note on Friday tracking weakness in index-heavyweight IT stocks amid mixed global cues.

After opening on a positive note, the 30-share index turned choppy to trade 15.89 points, or 0.04 percent, lower at 40,559.28. Similarly, the broader Nifty slipped 20.45 points, or 0.17 percent, to 11,947.95.

Top losers in the Sensex pack included Infosys which fell up to 3 percent, HCL Tech 1.67 percent, Tech Mahindra 1.65 percent, TCS 1.52 percent, Bharti Airtel 1 percent and Bajaj Auto 0.91 percent.

On the other hand, Sun Pharma rose up to 3.16 percent, NTPC 2.69 percent, PowerGrid 2.30 percent and RIL 1.74 percent.

According to traders, fall in IT stocks amid reports of changes in US work visa requirements aimed at protecting American workers fuelled the overall weakness in the market, a PTI report said. On Thursday, the Sensex ended 76.47 points, or 0.19 percent, lower at 40,575.17.

The Nifty closed 30.70 points, or 0.26 percent, down at 11,968.40. Foreign institutional investors bought shares worth Rs 5,023.54 crore in the capital market in the previous session, while domestic institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 247.74 crore, data available with stock exchange showed.

Rupee up 6 paise

The Indian rupee on Friday appreciated by 6 paise to 71.70 against the US dollar, amid fresh foreign fund inflows and easing crude oil prices.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 71.77, showing a decline of just 1 paise over its previous closing.

The domestic unit however, gained some momentum and touched a high of 71.70 against the dollar, showing a rise of 6 paise over its last close.

 Markets open on a cautious note: Sensex turns choppy, Nifty below 12,000-mark; Infosys among top losers, falls up to 3%

Representative image. Reuters

The Indian rupee on Thursday had closed at 71.76 against the US dollar.

Traders said rupee is trading in a narrow range as market is awaiting fresh cues on the potential US-China trade deal.

On the currency front, the rupee appreciated 4 paise (intra-day) against the US dollar to trade at 71.72 in early session.

Asian stocks recover from 3-week lows

Asian equities posted a mild bounce on Friday from three-week lows hit the previous day, with persistent worries over the status of trade negotiations between China and the United States limiting the gains.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.12 percent, recovering from Thursday’s drop of as much as 1.4 percent that took it to its lowest level since 30 October on concerns that US legislation on Hong Kong threatened to undermine trade talks between the world’s two largest economies, according to Reuters.

Those concerns linger, with US President Donald Trump expected to sign into law two bills backing protesters in Hong Kong after the US House of Representatives voted 417 to 1 for the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act”, which the Senate had passed unanimously a day earlier.

“If he’s going to be forced to sign it, then it brings another (element) of uncertainty to this phase one trade deal, which then pushes back into next year,” said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at GAIN Capital in Singapore.

But Simpson said that in the absence of major news on trade, rangebound market moves are “quite reflective of the small headlines coming through”.

Chinese blue-chip shares, which had opened higher, turned negative later in the morning and were last down 0.82%.

Australian shares gained 0.55 percent and Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.43 percent.

Worries that a “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China might not occur until next year had weighed on investor sentiment on Wall Street overnight, pulling the S&P 500 down 0.16 percent to 3,103.54, the Dow Jones down 0.2 percent to 27,766.29 and the Nasdaq Composite 0.24 percent lower to 8,506.21.

The losses, though, were tempered by China saying it was willing to work with the United States to resolve core trade concerns and a report in the Wall Street Journal that China has invited top US trade negotiators for a new round of face-to-face talks in Beijing.

“I was ready to give up on a trade deal yesterday. But it seems the Chinese haven’t so I, we, mustn’t,” Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro, said in a note.

But analysts at ANZ said that whipsawing hopes over a deal were starting to wear on investors in the 16th month of the U.S.-China trade war.

“It’s fair to say that some signs of trade-headline fatigue are emerging in markets,” they said in a note.

US Treasury yields were a shade higher.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was at 1.7774 percent, up from its US close of 1.772 percent on Thursday. The policy-sensitive two-year yield was at 1.6087 percent compared with a US close of 1.605 percent.

In currency markets, the yen was barely stronger, with the dollar buying 108.61. The euro was up 0.05 percent at $1.1063.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was off 0.04 percent at 97.958.

Oil prices retreated after hitting two-month highs following a Reuters report that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are likely to extend existing output cuts until mid-2020.

US. West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.68% to $58.18 a barrel and global benchmark Brent crude was down 0.58 percent at $63.60 per barrel.

Spot gold edged up 0.04% to $1,464.74 per ounce.

–With inputs from agencies

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