Mumbai–Indian equity markets were subdued on Thursday as volatility was induced by futures and options (F&O) expiry, coupled with negative global cues.

Consequently, the key indices closed in the red, as heavy selling pressure was witnessed in metal, information technology (IT) and automobile stocks.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) slipped down 58.10 points, or 0.67 per cent to 8,592.20 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 28,103.60 points, closed at 27,835.91 points — down 224.03 points, or 0.80 per cent from the previous close at 28,059.94 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 28,154.21 points and a low of 27,803.24 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bears — with 1,486 declines and 1,216 advances.

On Wednesday, both the key Indian indices closed on a flat-to-positive note, despite mixed global cues and lower crude oil prices.

The barometer index had risen by 69.73 points or 0.25 per cent, while the NSE Nifty edged up 17.70 points, or 0.21 per cent.

Initially on Thursday, the benchmark indices opened on a positive note, in spite of mixed cues from their Asian peers and negative US markets. However, later in the day, they experienced volatility due to futures and options (F&O) expiry and capped gains.

The markets also traded with apprehension as caution prevailed ahead of US Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday — a pointer to a possible interest rate hike, which can potentially lead FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) away from emerging markets such as India.

“The indices declined mainly due to the derivatives expiry. The markets, which were attempting to rise, started falling from higher levels,” Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.

According to James, rollovers in derivatives expiry for August were seen above six-month average, which led to value buying at lower levels in anticipation of more upsides in September F&O series.

“In addition, the European markets fell sharply by more than one per cent. These factors contributed to the fall in the domestic markets,” he added.

Nevertheless, a firm rupee and healthy foreign fund inflows were not able to uplift the market spirits.

The rupee appreciated by six paise to 67.05 against a US dollar from its previous close of 67.11 on Wednesday.

In terms of investments, provisional data with exchanges showed the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold stocks worth Rs 372.08 crore and the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) divested scrips worth Rs 357.02 crore.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE metal index plunged by 143.37 points, the IT index declined by 136.76 points, and the automobile index fell by 126.74 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE oil and gas index gained 31.61 points and the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) index rose by 26.77 points and.

Major Sensex gainers during Thursday’s trade were: Gail, up 2.04 per cent at Rs 373.20; ITC, up 1.24 per cent at Rs 253.30; Axis Bank, up 0.47 per cent at Rs 586.40; Dr. Reddy’s Lab, up 0.47 per cent at Rs 3,049.55; and Lupin, up 0.10 per cent at Rs 1522.60.

Major Sensex losers were: Adani Ports, down 3.02 per cent at Rs 262.15; Wipro, down 2.84 per cent at Rs 505.10; Tata Steel, down 2.04 per cent at Rs 372.40; Infosys, down 1.99 per cent at Rs 1,036.55; and HDFC, down 1.93 per cent at Rs 1,357.60. (IANS)