Benchmark indices continue to trade weak primarily on losses in information technology, FMCG and select auto and power stocks even as their Asian peers firmed up on renewed buying interest.
Investors have remained cautious ahead of the conclusion of US Federal Reserve two-day policy meet on expectations of a hike in key rates, the first in nearly a decade, as early as June this year. US Federal Reserve may discard its pledge to remain “patient” before hiking rates. Fed chair Janet Yellen will also provide updated economic forecasts by Fed policymakers in a a press conference following the two-day meeting.
At 2:26PM, the 30-share Sensex was down 86 points at 28,650 and the 50-share Nifty was down 29 points at 8,694.
In the broader market, both the BSE Midcap index and Smallcap index up around 0.4% each have performed better than the front-liners. Market breadth in BSE is negative with 1,488 declines against 1,242 advances.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors were net buyers in equities to the tune of Rs 265.52 crore on Tuesday as per provisional stock exchange data.
6 out of the 12 sectoral indices of BSE are trading lower. BSE Power index down over 1% is the top loser followed by BSE IT index down 0.8% and BSE Auto index down 0.6%. BSE Bankex, up 0.6% is the top gainer.
Tata Motors has declined around 2% after the company in release said that global wholesales for Jaguar Land Rover for February 2015 were lower at 38,541 units compared to 39,011 units in February 2015.
Among other auto shares, Bajaj Auto has declined 0.2%, M&M is down 1.3% while Hero Motocorp has gained 0.8% and Maruti Suzuki is up 0.2%.
Domestic two-wheeler sales have taken a hit following the drop in rural demand due to agragarian stressors such as unseasonal rains and hailstorms which have impaired the rural economy. Last month, Hero MotoCorp reported a drop of eight per cent in sales and for Bajaj Auto in February, the motorcycle sales fell 26 per cent, according to data by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Among financials and bank stocks, HDFC is down over 1% and Axis Bank is trading flat while SBI is up 1.5%, HDFC Bank is up 0.6% and ICICI Bank is up 0.2%.
Information technology stocks are under pressure. Wipro has declined over 1%, TCS is down 0.7% and Infosys is down 0.3%. A whistleblower from Indian IT giant Infosys has said that H-1B workers replacing Americans have minimal skills and little or no business knowledge and asked US lawmakers not to increase the number of much sought-after visas.
Sesa Sterlite has gained 2.5% after the Goa government said that mining operations would resume in the State following the Centre’s revocation on Tuesday of its earlier order that suspended all environmental clearances of mines. Hindalco and Tata Steel are trading flat.
Among capital goods stocks, BHEL is down 1.7% and L&T is down 0.4%. According to media reports, the government has firmed up a list of PSUs to be divested next fiscal, starting with BHEL in April, in a bid to meet the Rs 41,000 crore stake sale target for 2015-16.
Asian markets firmed up on renewed buying interest. However, upside gains remained capped as investors are keenly awaiting the policy statement on interest rates from the US Federal Reserve later today. Nikkei gained around 0.5%. Shares in China also surged over on expectations of further monetary stimulus. Benchmark Shanghai Composite ended over 2% higher while Hang Seng index gained around 1%.
European markets have opened on a cautious note, FTSE 100 index has gained around 0.4% while CAC 40 and DAX indices are trading flat.