Mumbai– A massive sell-off in banking sector stocks over fears of rising non-performing asset (NPA) levels pulled the key Indian equity indices lower on Wednesday.

According to market observers, heavy selling pressure in the banking, healthcare and consumer durables stocks, along with profit bookings eroded investors’ risk-taking appetite.

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) closed 24.81 points or 0.08 per cent lower during the day’s trade.

Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed on a negative note. It inched down by 23.60 points or 0.23 per cent to close at 10,210.85 points.

The Sensex of the BSE, which opened at 32,518.56 points, closed at 32,584.35 points, lower by 24.81 points or 0.08 per cent from Tuesday’s close at 32,609.16 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 32,670.32 points and a low of 32,462.85 points during the intra-day trade.

“Markets ended with modest losses on Wednesday ahead of a long Diwali weekend though volumes were higher. A bounce from the lows of the day helped to curb the losses,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets have ended on a mixed note. European indices like FTSE 100, CAC 40 and DAX traded higher. Technically, while the Nifty has taken a breather, the underlying trend remains up. Further upsides are likely once the immediate resistance of 10,236 points is taken out. Weakness could emerge if the supports of 10,176 points is broken.”

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, investors’ fear of rising banking sector NPAs dragged the NSE Nifty lower on Wednesday.

“The NSE Nifty edged lower on Wednesday, retreating from record highs hit in the previous three sessions after a rise in bad loans at Axis Bank sparked concerns about the recovery of stressed assets in the country’s banking sector,” Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

“Axis Bank contributed to most of the losses on the NSE index, and also led the losers on the NSE Bank index, which shed about 1.4 per cent.”

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold scrips worth Rs 1,251.16 crore while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased stocks worth Rs 904.27 crore.

On the currency front, the rupee remained flat. It inched lower by 2 paise to close at 65.04 against the US dollar from its previous close at 65.02.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE oil and gas index surged by 195.76 points, followed by energy index by 102.65 points and utilities index by 28.05 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE banking index fell by 494.76 points, healthcare index by 114.07 points and consumer durables index by 104.53 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: Reliance Industries, up 4.52 per cent at Rs 913.75; PowerGrid, up 4 per cent at Rs 213.10; Wipro, up 1.92 per cent at Rs 295.05; ONGC, up 1.75 per cent at Rs 174.20; and Kotak Bank, up 1.67 per cent at Rs 1,097.40.

Major Sensex losers were: Axis Bank, down 9.52 per cent at Rs 464.35; ICICI Bank, down 3.96 per cent at Rs 263.05; Cipla, down 3.26 per cent at Rs 610.70; State Bank of India (SBI), down 2.77 per cent at Rs 244.20; and Lupin, down 1.66 per cent at Rs 1,048.90.

The day’s trade was also the last session of Samvat 2073, the barometer index (BSE Sensex) gained 4,654 points or 16.6 per cent, whereas the NSE Nifty swelled by 1,585 points or 18.4 per cent.

“Equities have had a good run in Samwat 2073 with the Nifty rising –18 per cent — till Oct 17, 2017,” elaborated Jasani. (IANS)