Markets tick higher in cautious trade as polls begin

Mumbai: Benchmark equity indices ended with marginal gains on Thursday, with investors largely remaining on the sidelines as voting began in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls.
The 30-share BSE Sensex inched up 21.66 points, or 0.06 per cent, to close at 38,607.01.
The broader NSE Nifty settled 12.40 points, or 0.11 per cent, higher at 11,596.70.
Traders said market mood was cautious as polling began in 91 constituencies spread across 18 states and two union territories in the first phase of the general elections.
Participants also awaited key earnings and macro data due Friday, they added. Vedanta was the top loser in the Sensex pack, dropping 3.72 per cent.
Axis Bank, Sun Pharma, Infosys, PowerGrid, ICICI Bank, TCS, HCL Tech, Tata Steel, Kotak Bank, HDFC, IndusInd Bank and Maruti too fell up to 1.46 per cent.
On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Auto, Reliance Industries, Tata Motors, SBI, HUL, NTPC, ONGC, ITC and Asian Paints rose up to 2.19 per cent.
“Market was range bound and finally settled with minor gains as investors stayed cautious at the start of the initial phase of polling and remained watchful ahead of the announcement of CPI and IIP data tomorrow.
“Pick up in auto sales aided the sector to gain investors’ attention. On the global front, economic growth remains a concern but Fed minutes reiterating the dovish view on rates will provide support to emerging markets like India,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
Sectorally, BSE energy, telecom and oil and gas indices rose up to 1.11 per cent, while BSE metal, IT and teck dropped up to 1.18 per cent.
Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased equity worth a net Rs 1,429.92 crore on Wednesday.
While domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold shares to the tune of Rs 461.29 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed. Asian markets were subdued on growth concerns, while trade tensions further dented risk appetite.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 0.93 per cent, while Shanghai Composite Index plunged 1.60 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.11 per cent and Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.02 per cent.
In Europe, Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.42 per cent, Paris CAC 40 jumped 0.82 per cent and London’s FTSE gained 0.24 per cent in early deals. The oil benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.44 per cent to USD 71.29 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated 11 paise to 69 against the US dollar intra-day. (PTI)