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Markets plunge over 1% on Iran-Israel row

Foreign fund outflows and hotter-than-expected US inflation data also played spoilsport

Markets plunge over 1% on Iran-Israel row

Mumbai: Stock markets took a beating on Monday with benchmark Sensex and Nifty tumbling over one per cent as escalating conflict in the Middle East and weak trends from global markets unnerved investors. Falling for the second session in a row, the 30-share BSE Sensex tanked 845.12 points or 1.14 per cent to settle at a more than two-week low of 73,399.78 points. During the day, it plunged 929.74 points or 1.25 per cent to 73,315.16 points. NSE Nifty declined 246.90 points or 1.10 per cent to settle at 22,272.50 points.

“Geopolitical tensions and higher-than-expected US inflation impacted investor sentiment and dragged the indices to a lower note. The major casualties were the mid- and small-cap indices due to their rich valuation and expectation of moderation in earnings growth in Q4FY24. “On the other hand, the European market opened on a positive note while oil prices inched lower as market participants expected that the diplomatic efforts were likely to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East,” said Vinod Nair, head (research), Geojit Financial Services.

“The escalating geopolitical tensions in West Asia prompted a decline in the 30-share BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty. Market indices traded lower, influenced by the heightened tensions between Iran and Israel, leading to losses across major sectors. Notably, the broader small and midcap segments also saw declines,” said Suman Bannerjee, CIO of hedge fund Hedonova.

Among the indices, services droped by 2.12 per cent, financial services by 1.81 per cent, IT by 1.58 per cent, bankex by 1.55 per cent and utilities by 1.37 per cent. Energy and oil & gas were the gainers. A total of 2,991 stocks declined, while 913 advanced and 145 remained unchanged.

Key indices had plunged by over one per cent in the previous session on Friday due to profit taking by investors at record high levels. Sensex lost 1,638 points or 2.19 per cent while Nifty plunged 481 points or 2.13 per cent to slip below the 22,300 level in two straight sessions. Foreign fund outflows and hotter-than-expected US inflation data also played spoilsport for the markets. Analysts said the renewed conflict in the Middle East, proposed changes in the India-Mauritius tax treaty and the hotter-than-expected US inflation proved to be major drags.

From the Sensex basket, Wipro, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Finance, Tata Motors, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra and HDFC Bank were the major laggards.

Nestle, Maruti and Bharti Airtel were the gainers. In the broader market, the BSE smallcap gauge declined 1.54 per cent and midcap index dipped 1.50 per cent.

In Asian markets, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong settled lower while Shanghai ended in the positive territory. European markets were trading on a mixed note. Wall Street ended significantly lower on Friday.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude dipped 1.04 per cent to $89.51 a barrel. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) offloaded equities worth Rs 8,027 crore on Friday, according to exchange data.

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