India’s Sensex Closes Little Changed in a Volatile Session
A security guard uses an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of a man, wearing a protective mask, entering the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India’s Sensex Closes Little Changed in a Volatile Session

India’s benchmark equity index closed little changed, after fluctuating between gains and losses, as a steady increase in new coronavirus cases slowed the buying spree led by vaccine approvals.

The S&P BSE Sensex rose less than 0.1% to 44,632.65 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index climbed 0.2% to a new high. Both indexes had climbed as much as 0.8% earlier in the day.

Foreign net equity purchases of $16.6 billion this year through Dec. 1 are already the most since 2013 as funds have poured into emerging markets chasing returns. The relative strength index on both the Sensex and Nifty is around 70, a level that some traders read as a signal that they’re overbought.

“If the vaccine works to a decent level, more money will flow to emerging markets,” said Sameer Kalra, a strategist at Target Investing in Mumbai. “We are now seeing value stocks, like banks and industrials, starting to catch up after under performing the market.”

Measures of mid and small-cap stocks climbed for a fifth consecutive session, headed for their first annual gains in three years.

India’s central bank will probably keep interest rates unchanged on Friday for a third straight meeting, based on estimates by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Inflation remains elevated in Asia’s third-largest economy due to supply constraints, while economic growth is showing signs of resuming.

The rupee weakened 0.2% to 73.9263 per U.S. dollar, while the yield on the 10-year government bond rose one basis point to 5.93%.

The Numbers

  • Fourteen of 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a gauge of metal companies
  • Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. contributed the most to the Sensex gain and had the largest move, increasing 7.5%
  • HDFC Bank Ltd. was the biggest drag on the index and had the biggest drop, declining 2.1% after the Reserve Bank of India ordered to curb some digital and credit card operations following a series of glitches at the Indian lender

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