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Markets start 2024 on a sombre note, Sensex registers small gain of nearly 32 points

The muted opening came in the absence of global cues as Asian and European markets were closed for the New Year

Our Special Correspondent Mumbai Published 02.01.24, 11:39 AM
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Equities began 2024 on a frail note with the Sensex notching a small gain of nearly 32 points after a choppy session amid concerns of expensive valuations in various sectors.

At the forex markets, the rupee closed 6 paise lower at 83.22 against the dollar after trading in a narrow range.


The muted opening came in the absence of global cues as Asian and European markets were closed for the New Year.

With domestic factors in play, stocks witnessed alternate bouts of buying and selling that saw the benchmark indices hitting fresh highs before the last 30 minutes of the trading session. However, a sharp selling resulted in a flat close.

The 30-share Sensex opened on a sober note at 72218.39 and hit a new intra-day record of 72561.91 after which it slipped to a low of 72031.23.

The gauge finally ended at 72271.94, a gain of 31.68 points or 0.04 per cent over the last close.

The broader Nifty also touched an all-time intraday peak of 21834.35 before closing higher by 10.50 points or 0.05 per cent at 21741.90.

As many as 22 Nifty shares advanced while 28 declined.

Market circles said the rich valuations could see profit booking in various sectors or companies that benefited from the bull run.

Brokerages said the benchmark indices will continue to give positive returns in 2024, albeit lower than last year that gave returns of 20 per cent to investors.

Analysts are betting on sectors such as banking and IT, which will benefit from a cut in interest rates.

“We stick with our positive view on large-cap banks where valuations are still somewhat reasonable. Most other sectors and stocks are overvalued,’’ a note from Kotak Institutional Equities said.

While Tier 1 banks are now fairly valued in general and expensive in some cases, Tier II and Tier III banks such as Shriram Finance, Muthoot Finance and Mahindra & Mahindra Financial are available at attractive prices.

The short-term developments that are likely to impact prices include the earnings season which will start on January 11 with the third-quarter results of Infosys.

The first advance estimates of GDP is expected this week, which will also serve as a trigger to purchase stocks.

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