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Sensex Ends 152 Points Lower; Energy and IT Stocks Witness Selling
Thu, 20 Feb Closing | Monish Vora, TM Team

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India share markets witnessed selling pressure during closing hours and ended their day marginally lower.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 152 points (down 0.4%) and the NSE Nifty stood down by 45 points (down 0.4%).

The BSE Mid Cap index ended the day down 0.4%, while the BSE Small Cap index stood down by 0.5%.

Stocks in the energy sector and IT sector witnessed huge selling pressure, while metal stocks and telecom stocks were trading in the green.

The rupee was trading at 71.64 against the US$.

Asian stock markets finished on a mixed note. As of the most recent closing prices, the Hang Seng was down by 0.17% and the Shanghai Composite was up by 1.84%. The Nikkei 225 was up 0.34%.

European markets were also trading on a mixed note. The FTSE 100 was up by 0.04%. The DAX was trading down by 0.10%, while the CAC 40 stood down 0.15%.

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In news from the automobile sector, automobile dealers' body FADA said passenger vehicle (PV) retail sales in January declined 4.61% YoY to 2,90,879 units. The fall here was seen on the back of tepid response by end customers.

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According to Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), which collected vehicle registration data from 1,223 out of the 1,432 regional transport offices (RTOs), PV sales stood at 3,04,929 units in January 2019.

Two-wheeler sales declined 8.82% to 12,67,366 units last month as compared with 13,89,951 units in January 2019.

Commercial vehicle sales declined 6.89% to 82,187 units as compared to 88,271 units in January 2019.

Three-wheeler sales, however, rose 9.17% to 63,514 units last month as compared with 58,178 units in January 2019.

Total sales across categories declined 7.17% to 17,50,116 units last month as against 18,85,253 units in the year-ago month.

FADA President Ashish Harsharaj Kale said that overall weak economic sentiment continues and even the Budget 2020, although an inclusive budget with growth drivers for the mid to long term, did not have any direct measures nor any immediate growth enabling initiatives for the auto sector.

On sales outlook, Kale said with continued weak consumer sentiment and the overall economic situation as well as the upcoming transition to BS-VI regime, the near-term demand situation will continue to be dynamic.

Note that India's automobile industry is bracing itself for a unique challenge in the first quarter of 2020 when the transition of BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms has to be made at the stroke of midnight on 31 March 2020.

No BS-IV vehicle could be sold from 1 April 2020, which means automakers would have to reduce their inventory on BS-IV models to zero by then.

The exercise is likely to see companies show extra caution in dispatching cars to dealers in the next few months, which may cause a continuation of the decline in wholesale numbers.

However, despite the slowdown in the auto sector, the sales volume of electric vehicles (EVs) are growing at a robust pace.

Sale of Electric Vehicles in India Projected to Go Up 10x in the Next Two Decades

Electric vehicles are very much on their way to invading Indian roads. The threat of disruption in this era is something you cannot ignore.

The recently announced government incentives will give a further boost to EV sales.

The coming one year will be a real test for India's auto companies.

It will also tell us if this slowdown is temporary or if there has been a structural change in the sector.

In our view, companies in the sector adapting their business models to the rapidly changing environment will survive and thrive.

We will keep you updated on all the trends shaping up in this space. Stay tuned.

Also, speaking of auto sector, Tanushree Banerjee is counting on two listed automobile companies from the Indian market. The Rebirth of India stocks she has identified, are set to leave their mark on the global EV revolution.

These stocks may not have the 4x vertical ride like Tesla within a few months.

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In other news, rating agency ICRA has revised cut and polished diamond industry outlook from stable to negative. The same is done in view of the ongoing lockdown in parts of China and Hong Kong (C&HK) region due to coronavirus.

China accounts for 14% of polished diamond consumption while a larger proportion (35%) of exports from India is currently routed via Hong Kong. The weak demand conditions in key markets is also expected to impact the domestic cut and polished diamond industry in a major way.

Confirming this, Jay Sheth, Vice President, Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited said that apart from recent developments in China, the CPD industry had been going through weak demand conditions in key markets and pressure on gross margins due to declining finished prices.

If the business lockdown continues in C&HK, industry pressure will aggravate thereby impacting cash flows. This can have a serious bearing, especially given the cautious lending to the sector and; potentially impact CPD players' credit profile.

He added that the pandemic in China will also hit near-term global demand for CPD and the widespread economic shutdown in C&HK region which will further delay demand recovery. The industry is already bearing the brunt of on-going US-China trade and political tensions.

Note that in recent years, banks' lending to the gems and jewellery sector has been cautious following corporate governance and related concerns.

Restrictions were placed towards sectoral exposure in the light of past and recent defaults and weak perception over transparency related issues. In this background, the coronavirus related blow shall continue to restrict lending to the sector over next few months.

How this pans out remains to be seen. Meanwhile, we will keep you updated on all the developments from this space. Stay tuned.

And to know what's moving the Indian stock markets today, check out the most recent share market updates here.

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