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Sensex Ends Marginally Higher; Realty and IT Stocks Witness Buying
Wed, 20 Mar Closing | Monish Vora, TM Team

Indian share markets witnessed volatility during closing hours and ended their day marginally higher. Gains were largely seen in the realty sector and IT sector, while oil & gas stocks and power stocks witnessed selling pressure.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 23 points (up 0.1%) and the NSE Nifty closed down by 11 points (down 0.1%). The BSE Mid Cap index closed down by 0.4%, while the BSE Small Cap index ended the day down by 0.3%.

Asian stock markets finished on a mixed note as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng stood down by 0.5% and the Nikkei was trading up by 0.2%.

European markets were trading on a negative note. The FTSE 100 was down by 0.1%. The DAX was trading down by 1.2%, while the CAC 40 was down by 0.1%.

The rupee was trading at 68.85 to the US$ at the time of writing.

Moving on to other news, data available with the NSE showed foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought Rs 21.3 billion worth of domestic stocks in yesterday's trading session.

Domestic institutional investors (DIIs), on the other hand, were net sellers to the tune of Rs 12.5 billion.

Note that overseas flows into domestic equities in February were the highest in 12 months. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought stocks worth US$1.9 billion, the highest since March 2018 when they had pumped in over US$2 billion.

FPIs have been taken out money in seven out of 12 months.

The reversal in overseas flows seen last month will boost investor sentiment, which has been hit due to escalation in cross-border tensions between India and Pakistan.

However, this flow tally needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The market has seen single-day FPI investment of US$1.7 billion, the highest in 4 years. This was on account of share sale by Dutch bank ING Group in Kotak Mahindra Bank.

As per the reports, high inflow tallies this month isn't necessarily due to change in sentiment. FPIs continue to remain cautious ahead of elections.

Also, Indian equities have had a tough time in the past one year. With elections around the corner, volatility in the markets has been on a constant rise.

Till date in FY18-19, foreign investors have pulled out around Rs 515 billion from the Indian equity market.

But there's also an interesting development seen this time...

In the past, such panic would have meant the domestic investor would have followed suit.

That hasn't happened this time.

Domestic investors have shown surprising resiliency to the market's volatility.

The month-wise SIP in FY18-19 has seen a constant rise.

Also, close to 1 million new SIP accounts have been added during FY18-19 according to AMFI.

Rising Retail Particpation Even In A Falling Market

The days of knee-jerk panic withdrawals by individual investors are slowly but surely reducing.

If they ride out this volatility they will see the benefit of the cycle turning in their favor.

That will mark a significant change in the mindset of the retail investor for the long term.

In the news from the macroeconomic space, Venezuela has suspended its oil exports to India. Further, it is looking Russia and China as its main export destinations, the Azeri energy ministry said on Tuesday, citing Venezuela's oil minister.

The Indian market has been crucial for Venezuela's economy because it has historically been the second-largest cash-paying customer for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) crude oil, behind the United States.

Earlier this year, the US imposed heavy sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry and has pressed India to stop buying Venezuelan oil.

What impact the above development has on Indian crude oil market remains to be seen. We'll keep you updated on all the news from this space.

Also, speaking of crude oil, oil prices were near 2019 highs on Tuesday, supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC. Reportedly, US sanctions against oil producers Iran and Venezuela are boosting prices.

The OPEC on Monday scrapped its planned meeting in April, effectively extending supply cuts that have been in place since January until at least June, when the next meeting is scheduled.

The OPEC and non-affiliated allies like Russia - known as the OPEC+ alliance - have been withholding around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude supply from the start of the year to tighten markets and prop up prices.

US crude oil output has soared by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since early 2018, to around 12 million bpd, making America the world's biggest producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

On the demand-side, there is concern that an economic slowdown as well as improving energy efficiency and the emergence of alternative transport fuels will erode oil consumption.

In other news, as per a leading financial daily, Nirav Modi, the jeweller wanted in the 140-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, has been arrested in London on India's extradition request.

He will now be produced in a Westminster court today and is likely to get a bail but British authorities may curb his movement.

The above development comes as a diplomatic victory for BJP and Narendra Modi, who is seeking a second term in the upcoming general elections.

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

For information on how to pick stocks that have the potential to deliver big returns, download our special report now!

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