By Porisma Pompi Gogoi and Rohit Vaid

Mumbai– Indian equity markets fell prey to bears, as profit booking, negative global cues and a weak rupee arrested their meteoric rise during the week ended Friday.

The key indices concluded the week on a flat note — marginally in the red — despite value buying, a healthy monsoon and a firm rupee.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE closed the week’s trade with a marginal loss of 18.01 points or 0.06 per cent at 27,126.90 points.

Similarly, the 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) dropped to 8,323.20 points — down 5.15 points or 0.06 per cent.

“The week which has just gone by was really boring after the exciting run up to Brexit and post-Brexit turmoil followed by a smart recovery in markets globally,” Pankaj Sharma, Head of Equities, Equirus Securities, told IANS.

“The Indian markets operated in a very narrow range this week as there was really nothing that significant which could have provided direction to them.”

However, the benchmark indices had a flying start to the week, as they reached new 2016 closing high levels. At that time, the equity markets had gained for six consecutive sessions.

But, the positive sentiment was soon curbed as investors resorted to booking profits on the back of mixed global cues, ignoring the healthy progress of monsoon rains.

Key macro-data, too, played its part in subduing sentiments. The Nikkei India Services PMI (purchasing manager’s index) fell to a seven month low of 50.3 for last month from 51 in May 2016.

Further, uncertainties ahead of key quarterly results and upcoming global event risks such as the release of US FOMC minutes and non-farm payrolls’ data eroded investors’ confidence.

Nevertheless, there were certain positive domestic cues like prospects of more EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organisation) funds being invested in the equity markets, as well as government’s plans to offload stake in SUUTIs (Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India).

Although these prompted some value buying to lift prices, the equity markets were not able to recover back into the green.

Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls said that the Indian equity markets traded with bearish sentiments last week mainly due to profit booking and mixed global markets.

“Sentiments came under pressure with the report that growth in India’s services firms fell to a seven-month low of 50.3 in June as compared to the previous month of May as new business grew at its slowest pace in the previous 11 months,” Desai told IANS.

“Some weakness also came with (global rating agency) Moody’s report that stated India’s economic growth over the next two years will face challenge from lackluster global demand and high leverage in some corporate sectors.”

According to Vaibhav Agarwal, Vice President and Research Head at Angel Broking, a mix trend was seen during the shortened trading week, as the benchmark indices registered gains in two trading sessions and losses in the remaining two sessions.

The equity markets were closed on Wednesday on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

“The BSE Sensex was down by 0.06 per cent whereas Nifty was down by 0.06 per cent which remained flat week on week. The BSE midcap index rose by 0.19 per cent and smallcap index rose by 0.76 per cent,” Agarwal said.

Sector wise, the automobile index was up 0.63 per cent, followed by the healthcare index (0.43 per cent) and the consumer discretionary goods and services index (0.23 per cent).

On the other hand, the telecom index was down by 2.20 per cent, the capital goods index by 0.99 per cent, and the oil and gas index by 0.98 per cent.

Among the individual Sensex stocks, Asian Paints was the top gainer at 2.38 per cent, followed by Tata Motors (2.19 per cent), Hero MotoCorp (1.90 per cent), Cipla (1.27 per cent), and Dr Reddy’s Lab (0.86 percent).

The losers were led by GAIL (down 2.37 per cent), followed by Bharti Airtel (2.28 per cent), Adani Ports (1.59 per cent), BHEL (1.57 per cent) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) (1.43 per cent).

On a positive note, the week witnessed an influx of foreign funds. The provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 479.02 crore.

The figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) showed that foreign portfolio investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs 525.32 crore, or $78.17 million from July 4-8.

Even after the fresh influx of foreign funds, the Indian rupee weakened by five paise to 67.37 against a US dollar from its previous week’s close of 67.32.