Sensex, Nifty off to a muted start in 2024 as financials, IT weigh

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India’s benchmark indexes Nifty 50 and Sensex were muted on Monday, the first session of 2024, dragged by high weightage information technology and financials, after clocking a 20 per cent rise in 2023.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 fell 0.08 per cent to 21,714.15 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex shed 0.15 per cent to 72,132,72, as of 9:51 am IST.

Five of the 13 major sectors logged losses. Financials and IT fell 0.25 per cent each.

The more domestically-focused small-and mid-caps gained about 0.3 per cent each, outperforming the benchmarks, despite concerns over high valuations.

“We stick with our positive view on large-caps, where valuations are still somewhat reasonable,” according to analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities.

Barring banks, most other sectors and stocks are over-valued, they added.

Oil and gas index gained 0.8 per cent, on falling crude prices due to demand concerns. Easing oil prices are positive for importers of the commodity like India.

Airline operators like Interglobe Aviation and SpiceJet jumped between 1.5 per cent and 3 per cent, aided by a cut in aviation turbine fuel costs.

Bharat Heavy Electricals jumped 4.4 per cent on bagging a contract worth 190 billion rupees from NLC India. HFCL climbed 3 per cent on winning a $135 million order.

Eicher Motors shed 1.6 per cent and was the top percentage loser on the Nifty 50. The automaker received a goods and services tax (GST) demand order worth about 1.30 billion rupees.

Mahindra and Mahindra lost 1 per cent after the government levied a 41.2 million rupees tax penalty on the firm. The company said it will challenge the order.

“Going ahead, the immediate focus would be on third-quarter earnings and any deviation in earnings could trigger profit-booking,” according to analysts at Centrum Institutional Research.

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