Profit booking, global cues drag equity markets lower

Mumbai: Profit booking, coupled with negative global cues and a weak rupee dragged the key Indian equity markets lower on Friday. The equity markets traded in the red during the late-afternoon session, as heavy selling pressure was witnessed in capital goods, oil and gas, and banking stocks. The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged down by 24.05 points or 0.29 per cent, at 8,313.85 points. The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 27,292.20 points, traded at 27,107.42 points (at 2.45 p.m.) -- down 94.07 points or 0.35 per cent from the previous close at 27,201.49 points. The Sensex has so far touched a high of 27,294.82 points and a low of 27,034.14 points. The BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bears -- with 1,543 declines and 1,069 advances. On Thursday, the benchmark indices closed flat -- marginally in the green -- after a volatile trading session induced by profit booking. Initially on Friday, the key indices opened on a lower note, in sync with their Asian peers. Besides, profit booking and a weak rupee dented investors' sentiments. Further, investors' confidence was eroded by uncertainties ahead of key quarterly results. Infosys is expected to be the first bluechip firm to come out with its results on July 15. In addition, upcoming global event risks such as the release of US non-farm payrolls' data negatively influenced investors' sentiments. The data assume significance as a healthy jobs growth figure can quicken the next rate-hike cycle. A hike in the US interest rates can potentially lead FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) away from emerging markets such as India. "Profit booking, coupled wih subdued Asian markets and uncertainties ahead of the quarterly earnings season weighed heavy on the equity markets," Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services said. According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, Nifty traded with bearish sentiments on selling pressure.  "IT, banking and auto stocks traded with mix sentiments, while sugar stocks faced resistance at higher levels due to profit booking," Desai noted.