|Brokers monitor prices during a special one-hour trading session in Reliance shares in Mumbai (above), while the Tokyo Stock Exchange wears a deserted look after suspension of trade on Wednesday. (AFP & Reuters)
Mumbai, Jan. 18: Indian equities today caught the Asian flu after a special trading session was held in heavyweight Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to determine its core value post demerger. Catching the chill from a floundering Nikkei and other Asian indices, the benchmark BSE sensex slipped by 77 points at the close to 9237.53.
The two big turbo-charged events of the day ' the higher than expected discovered price for the rump Reliance stock which quoted at a weighted price of Rs 713.95 on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the strong third-quarter numbers reported by technology titan Wipro ' failed to provide the ballast to the sensex which, at one stage, had plunged by over 155 points.
The shivers had gone through the market after the Nikkei posted its biggest ever one-day percentage fall since April last year as it plummeted 464.77 points to 15,341.18.
In fact, the Japanese authorities had to stop trading 20 minutes early to prevent its system from being inundated by orders. It was not the Nikkei alone that bled; the Kospi lost 2.6 per cent and the Taiwan index plummeted 3.2 per cent.
“If one were to look at the fall that other indices took, then the picture here looks much better. However, there is no denying the fact that the market sentiment is bearish here on account of crude oil prices and relatively low inflows from foreign institutional investors (FIIs). Moreover, earnings have already been factored into the current valuations of stocks,” said an analyst from a local brokerage.
Showing high volatility, the benchmark BSE index opened on a weaker note at 9293.80 and touched a low of 9158.44 after which it finished at 9,237.53 against previous close of 9,314.13, thus showing a net fall of 76.60 points or 0.82 per cent.
After its strong showing in the special trading session, the Reliance rump wobbled in response to the heavy selling in the regular trading session. It ended at Rs 693.85, lower by Rs 20.10 than its discovered closing price. RIL also topped the turnover charts with more than 3 crore shares transacted, resulting in a turnover of Rs 2257.21 crore.
The Reliance scrip has gone into a no-delivery phase till January 25 and brokers feel the counter will continue to play a pivotal role in determining the course of the indices.
Oil and gas stocks were at the receiving end as investors shed their positions on account of rising crude oil prices.
Many of the banking scrips, barring Dena Bank which posted encouraging quarterly numbers, also witnessed selling pressure.
The BSE Oil and Gas index was the biggest loser, shedding 2.06 per cent. It was followed by the BSE PSU index and Bankex.
Wipro, however, bucked the trend as investors reacted positively to its better than expected quarterly numbers. The scrip ended higher by Rs 11.90 to Rs 461.15. The other counters that ended in positive territory included Hindalco, Gujarat Ambuja Cements and Tata Steel.
The broad-based BSE-100 index dropped further by 36.56 points to 4,900.94 from yesterday's close of 4,937.50.
The BSE-200 index and the Dollex-200 were quoted sharply lower at 1,177.74 and 442.52 at close compared with the last close of 1,186.49 and 445.81, respectively. The BSE-500 index fell by 26.97 points to 3,781.13 from yesterday's close of 3,808.10 and the Dollex-30 ended lower at 1711.58 from 1,725.77.