Indian stock markets started Monday’s session on a weak note, after growth in industrial production crashed to the lowest level recorded since June 2017. The Sensex fell as much as 259 points in early trade to hit 35,750, and the broader Nifty declined 83 points to touch 10,711.
A broad-based selloff, led by financial, metal and energy stocks dragged the markets lower. Weakness in other Asian markets, where equities receded from recent highs, after the release of Chinese trade data also hurt investor sentiment.
At 10:18 am, the Sensex traded 239 points lower at 35,770 and the Nifty was down 76 points at 10,718. Top laggards on the 50-scrip index were GAIL India, L&T, Vedanta, JSW Steel and IndusInd Bank, trading between 1.7 per cent and 2.6 per cent lower.
“Market breadth seems to be on a weaker end and bulls appear to be exhausted at these levels,” said Ritesh Ashar, chief strategy officer, KIFS Trade Capital. Analysts will also watch inflation data due later in the day closely.
Industrial production growth stood at 0.5 per cent in November, government data showed last Friday, largely due to a contraction in manufacturing activity. That marked the slowest rate of growth in industrial production recorded since June 2017.
Domestic markets tracked weakness in Asian peers, where equities receded from one-and-a-half-month highs. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan stumbled 0.7 per cent, with Chinese and Hong Kong shares the biggest losers. Partial data on trade from China showed growth in dollar-denominated exports was the highest since 2011. Markets still awaited numbers for December due shortly.
The rupee declined by 10 paise to touch 70.59 against the dollar in early trade, as the greenback strengthened against major peers overseas. Infosys shares jumped 3.9 per cent to touch an intraday high of Rs. 710.20 apiece on the NSE.
The IT major last Friday reported its earnings for the October-December period and raised its revenue forecast for the current financial year. It also announced a share buyback worth Rs. 8,260 crore.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net sold shares worth Rs. 687.20 crore on Friday, while net purchases by domestic institutional investors (DIIs) stood at Rs. 123.17 crore, according to provisional data from the NSE.