Sensex Edges Lower, Nifty Retreats From 17,200 On F&O Expiry Day

Nifty 50 index retreated from its 17,200 level in early trading
Nifty 50 index retreated from its 17,200 level in early trading

The Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Thursday, December 30, on F&O expiry day, along with expiry of derivates, tracking mixed global cues. The Sensex BSE Sensex was trading in red below 57,780, while Nifty 50 index retreated from its 17,200 level. Index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank dropped in early trading.

Wipro, Tata Consumer products, Eicher Motors, Power Grid Corporation of India were the top gainers. On the flipside, Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finserv, Sun Pharma, Indian Oil Corporation, Hero MotoCorp were the top loser on NSE.

Mid- and small-cap shares were traded mixed as the Nifty Midcap 100 index was down by 0.11 per cent, while the Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 0,30 per cent.

Asian share markets got off to a listless start on Thursday as the spread of Omicron clouded what is the last trading day of the year for many exchanges around the globe. 

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat on the day and down six per cent on the year. Chinese blue chips have also lost six per cent led by big falls in techs as Beijing tightened restrictions on the sector.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.7 per cent on Thursday, which left it with a modest gain of 4.6 per cent for the year and some way from a three-decade top reached in September. 

S&P 500 futures eased 0.2 per cent in early trade, while Nasdaq futures lost 0.3 per cent.

Wall Street has had a stellar year on the back of upbeat corporate earnings and policy stimulus support. The S&P 500 is up by 28 per cent and looking at its strongest three-year performance since 1999.

In the crude market, oil prices rose on Thursday to extend several consecutive days of gains, buoyed by data showing US fuel demand holding up well despite soaring Omicron coronavirus infections.

Brent crude futures rose 17 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $79.40 a barrel, climbing for a fourth day in a row. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 23 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $76.79 a barrel for a seventh straight session of gains.

In foreign currency, the dollar and yen were at the low end of their recent ranges in thin holiday trading, having fallen overnight as investors favoured riskier currencies along with equities. The euro was at $1.1352 in early Asian trading, after gaining 0.35 per cent and touching a one-month high the day before.

Back home, on the stock-specific front, top airline company IndiGo (listed as InterGlobe Aviation Ltd) will be in focus as it will conduct its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) today. Shareholders are likely to take a decision on amending the company's Articles of Association which has been a key point of friction between the company's Founders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) noted in its economic stability report that even though the economy has steadily gained momentum and remained resilient since the second quarter of the current fiscal, the Omicron variant of coronavirus remains the major challenge along with rising inflation pressures.

India has reported 961 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus so far out of which 320 people have recovered or migrated, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. Delhi recorded the maximum number of 263 cases followed by Maharashtra at 257. Overall, the country recorded 13,154 fresh COVID-19 cases today, taking the total tally to 3,48,22,040.