Domestic stock markets gave up all of the intraday gains to end marginally lower on Tuesday, but clocked their best quarter since 2009, as losses in pharmaceutical and energy stocks offset gains in automobile and select financial shares. The S&P BSE Sensex index moved in a range of 421.11 points, declining to as low as 34,812.80 in afternoon deals, having risen to as high as 35,233.91 earlier. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark also swung between gains and losses, hitting 10,401.05 and 10,267.35 at the strongest and weakest levels of the day respectively, compared to its previous close of 10,312.40.
The Sensex ended 45.72 points – or 0.13 per cent – lower at 34,915.80, and the Nifty settled at
10,302.10, down 10.30 points from its previous close.
In the 50-scrip Nifty basket, 29 stocks ended lower. Bharat Petroleum, Power Grid, Sun Pharma, GAIL and Indian Oil, closing between 1.72 per cent and 2.50 per cent lower, were the top percentage laggards.
On the other hand, Shree Cement, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank, Nestle and Britannia were the top Nifty gainers, closing between 2.41 per cent and 3.12 per cent higher.
“The Nifty will continue to trade in the 10,000-10,500 range as markets pull between fears over the virus-related lockdowns and a liquidity-driven recovery,” said Samrat Dasgupta, chief executive at Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.
The Nifty closed the quarter up about 19.8 per cent and the Sensex 18.5 per cent, registering their best performances since the June quarter of 2009, after hitting a four-year low in March.
Both indices are still down around 15 per cent for the first half of the year, as markets grappled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s already weak economy and more recently the border tensions with China.
COVID-19 cases continued to surge in India, with total cases rising to 5,66,840 as of Tuesday morning, including 16,893 deaths, according to health ministry data, as several cities prepared to extend their lockdowns.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 4:00 pm, a day after the government announced a new set of guidelines to further ease restrictions on the lockdown.
European shares edged lower, oil fell and the MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was muted as markets took stock at the end of the first half of 2020.