Sensex Slumps 400 Points, Nifty Below 10550, HUL Shares Fall 2%

BSE Sensex and NSE’s Nifty 50 declined for a fourth straight day on Wednesday as global stock markets remained under selling pressure over political uncertainty in the US and worries of global economic slowdown. The Indian rupee gained against the US dollar after Brent crude dropped below $50 a barrel.

Asian equities were shaky following a Christmas eve plunge in US stocks. Japanese stocks pared early gains. Korean shares fell after a holiday, and Shanghai stocks were little changed. Australia and Hong Kong were closed.

Oil prices were mixed in thin trading as US oil rebounded from steep losses in the previous session, while international Brent benchmark traded lower. Indian markets were closed on Tuesday on account of Christmas Day.

HUL shares fall over 2% on anti-profiteering authority order
The shares of Hindustan Unilever Ltd fell as much as 2.32% to Rs 1,742 per share after GST anti-profiteering watchdog, National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA), said on Monday HUL has allegedly profiteered to the extent of ₹383 crore after the large scale GST rate cut last November.

An order from the NAA posted on its website said that, after allowing for certain deductions, the confirmed amount of tax benefit that the company has not passed on to consumers was assessed at ₹383 crore.

NAA asked HUL to deposit ₹223 crore in central and state consumer welfare funds as the company had proactively deposited ₹160 crore with the central consumer welfare fund, set up under the anti-profiteering laws.

Sensex, Nifty trade lower
The BSE Sensex traded 289.81 points, or 0.82%, down at 35,180.34. The Sensex opened at 35,470.15 and hit a low of 35,160.78. The Nifty 50 fell 73.80 points, or 0.69%, to 10,589.70. The 50-share index opened at 10,635.45 and fell to a low of 10,575.05.

The BSE midcap and smallcap indices declined 1.065 and 0.96%, respectively. All the sectoral indices on BSE, except oil and gas, traded lower dragged mainly by IT, teck, basic materials, and healthcare, which fell over 1%.

Rupee gains against US dollar
The Indian rupee gained against the US dollar after Brent crude dropped below $50 a barrel and comments from US President Donald Trump expressing confidence in the Treasury secretary, federal reserve and US economy.

At 9.10am, the rupee was trading at 69.82 a dollar, up 0.46% from its Monday’s close of 70.14. Rupee opened at 69.93 a dollar and touched a high of 69.79 a dollar. The 10-year gilt yield was trading at 7.235% from its previous close of 7.287%.

Oil prices mixed, Gold trade higher

Oil prices were mixed in thin trading as the US benchmark rebounded from steep losses in the previous session, even though concern over the health of the global economy continued to overshadow the market in the longer term. US WTI crude futures, were up 35 cents, or 0.82%, at $42.88 per barrel, at 0152 GMT, having at one point risen as high as 2% from the last close.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil futures were down 16 cents or 0.32% at $50.31 a barrel, having skidded 6.2% in the previous session to $50.47 a barrel, the weakest since August 2017.

Gold prices inched lower on Wednesday as the dollar firmed but hovered near a six-month high, supported by political instability in the United States and concerns about a global economic slowdown. Spot gold slipped 0.2% to $1,265.46 per ounce as of 0052 GMT. The metal touched $1,270.50 in early trade, its highest level since June 25. US gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,268.10 per ounce.