Sensex Falls 96 Points, Nifty Struggles Near 10,750

The Indian stock markets started Tuesday’s session on a positive note but soon turned negative. The S&P BSE Sensex plunged as much as 96.21 points to touch 35,753.95, while the Nifty50 barometer of the National Stock Exchange lost 38.85 points to 10,733.25. The losses on Dalal Street were led by banking and auto stocks. Heavyweights HDFC Bank, HDFC, Reliance and Axis Bank contributed the most to the losses on the Sensex.

At 9:29 am, the 30-share Sensex traded 55.07 points or 0.15 per cent lower at 35,795.09, and the Nifty was at 10,752.75, down 19.05 points or 0.18 per cent from the previous close.

Top laggards on the 50-scrip index were Powergrid, NTPC, Ultracemco, BPCL and Axis Bank, trading between 0.75 and 0.88 per cent higher. The Nifty bank index was down 0.36 per cent at that time.

Most Asian shares, on the other hand, were propped up on Tuesday by hopes that Washington and Beijing may be inching towards a trade deal and that US Federal Reserve would halt its tightening if economic growth slows further. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.9 per cent while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up just 0.1 per cent, though it was dragged down by falls in China and Taiwan.

Oil prices also rebounded further on Monday from 1-1/2-year lows reached in December, drawing support from a Wall Street Journal report that Saudi Arabia is planning to cut crude exports to around 7.1 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of January.

Rupee weakens against US dollar
The Indian rupee was trading lower against the US dollar after crude oil prices surged in eight out of nine trading sessions. At 9.10am, the rupee was trading at 70 a dollar, down 0.46% from previous close of 69.68. The home currency opened at 69.84 a dollar and touched a low of 70.01 a dollar. So far this year, the rupee has declined 1.3%, while foreign investors have sold $203.80 million in equities and bought $43.50 million in the debt markets.

Bandhan Bank shares fall 6%, Gruh Finance dives 10%
Bandhan Bank shares fell as much as 6.03% to Rs 470.85 per share, Gruh Finance shares slumped as much as 9.8% to Rs 276 per share, and HDFC shares traded 0.5% lower at Rs 1,960.90 per share.

Bandhan Bank has agreed to combine with Gruh Finance in a deal valued Rs 81,800 crore, according to calculations based on closing share prices on Monday, Reuters reported. Investors in Gruh Finance, controlled by HDFC, will get 568 shares of Bandhan Bank for every 1,000 they own, according to exchange filings from the companies.