During the week ended January 23, some top-notch companies reported results that were in line with expectations. A few came out with numbers that were a notch above expected lines.
But then, there were some disappointing numbers as well. And the mixed nature of results and a negative global sentiment kept the market subdued for a major part of the week.
Inflation rose marginally weakening hopes of a further cut in key rates. With the Reserve Bank of India slated to come out with its policy statement on Tuesday, the January 27, 2009, and the January series derivatives contracts expiring next week, participants refrained from picking up stocks any significantly during the week.
FIIs, who made some big purchases in the previous month, turned net sellers again. Domestic mutual funds too were largely seen staying at the sidelines.
Recording losses on three of the five sessions, the Sensex ended the week lower by as much as 649.24 points or 6.96% at 8674.35. The National Stock Exchange's 50 stock Nifty index lost 149.90 points or 5.3% to 2678.55. The BSE Midcap index slipped by 5.84%, while the smallcap index lost 4.61% in the week.
All the sectoral indices too ended in the red last week. BSE Realty fell 12.19%. The Metal index lost 11.38% and the Bankex plunged 10.98%. The Auto, Consumer Durables, Capital Goods, IT, PSU, Teck, Oil & Gas and Healthcare indices lost 4% - 8%. BSE Power eased by 3.51% and the FMCG index, which suffered the least damage, drifted down by around 2.2%.
On positive global cues, the market opened on a firm note last Monday, but turned choppy thereafter as investors chose to exit key counters at every sharp rise in values.
The surge on the European bourses on reports of a fresh rescue plan announced by the UK government for the ailing financial sector triggered a rally a little past mid afternoon the market gave up almost its entire gains during the closing minutes that day. The Sensex ended with a small gain while the Nifty, faring slightly better, closed higher by around 18 points.
The sharp plunge in Asian markets on fresh concerns over mounting financial losses and deepening recession sent stock prices tumbling down on the major Indian bourses in early trade on Tuesday.
And the market never really recovered from that early setback as investors remained quite reluctant to pick up stocks even at lower levels. However, power stocks rallied in late afternoon trade on the back of a decision by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to raise the return on equity for power units to 15.5% from existing 14%. The CERC has stated that the new RoE would be applicable for the period from 2009 to 2014. While the Sensex ended with a loss of over 225 points, the Nifty lost close to 50 points in that session.
The bears dominated the ring right through the session on Wednesday as weak global markets and some disappointing quarterly numbers from India Inc gave them a solid platform to launch an aggressive assault on stocks.
Concerns over heavy losses posted by global financial majors and fears of a deep recession also weighed into a marked extent. The Sensex, which opened with a negative gap of around 200 points at 8900.78 and crashed to a low of 8734.93 during closing minutes, ended the day at 8779.17 with a huge loss of 321.38 points or 3.53%.
The Nifty closed at 2706.15, a few points off its intra-day low of 2690.20, with a sharp loss of 90.45 points or 3.23%.
After opening with a positive gap of over 125 points, the Sensex lost its way a little past noon and remained highly volatile till the end of the session on Thursday as investors turned extremely cautious ahead of key results. While the BSE barometer ended the session with a modest gain of 35 points, the Nifty edged up by 7.67 points that day.
Weak global sentiment hit the market on Friday. As the mood remained negative, even some positive results from India Inc were ignored by the participants, and, mirroring heavy selling in some front line stocks, the benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty weakened by around 140 points and 35 points respectively.
Not even a single Sensex component ended on the positive side last week. NTPC and ONGC were the least hit as they declined just marginally from their previous week's closing levels. ITC and Hindustan Unilever, the FMCG heavyweights, also fared relatively better, declining by just around 1.1% and 1.6% respectively.
Tata Steel, the biggest loser in the pack, went down by around 18.5%. Mahindra & Mahindra, which had a couple of disastrous sessions, lost 18.4%. Realty major DLF tumbled by 17.5%. ICICI Bank (down 14.1%), Ranbaxy Laboratories (down 13.8%), Hindalco (down 12.8%), Maruti Suzuki (12.5%), Reliance Communications (down 12.3%), Tata Motors (down 11.9%), HDFC (11.3%), Grasim Industries (down 11.2%), Larsen & Toubro (down 10.7%), State Bank of India (down 10.6%), Reliance Infrastructure (down 103%) and Wipro (down 10.1%) posted hefty losses. Ranbaxy Laboratories reported a sharp loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2008. Reliance Communications and HDFC posted lower profits for the October-December 2008 quarter.
Reliance Industries reported better than expected quarterly results and its stock fell 5.4%. Tata Power and Sterlite Industries lost 8.3% and 8% respectively. Jaiprakash Associates and HDFC Bank eased by nearly 7%. BHEL, ACC and Infosys Technologies lost 5% - 5.5%.
Sun Pharmaceuticals closed with a loss of 3.8%. Tata Consultancy Services (the company's results fell short of expectations) ended 3.4% down and Bharti Airtel, despite posting good numbers, declined 2.7%.
Nifty stocks Power Grid Corporation (14.5%), Cipla (1.6%), Nalco (1.4%) and Hero Honda (0.2%) closed on the positive side last week. Cipla reported a sharp surge in net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2008.
Zee Entertainment tumbled by 24.4% to Rs 91.55 on disappointing results. Siemens fell 12.6% due to weak results. Reliance Capital lost 11.2%. Punjab National Bank, SAIL, HCL Technologies, Unitech, Tata Communications, Ambuja Cements and BPCL also declined sharply.
Satyam Computer Services gained nearly 60% to Rs 38.85 last week on heavy volumes on expectations that the company would rope in a strategic investor in the near future.
United Spirits, Aban Offshore, Glenmark Pharma, Welspun Gujarat, IVRCL Infrastructure, Kotak Bank, Punj Lloyd, Divi's Laboratories, Nagarjuna Construction Company, Educomp Solutions, India Bulls Real Estate, GE Shipping, Gujarat NRE Coke, Indian Hotels, NDTV, Gammon India, Yes Bank, Essar Shipping, United Phosphorus and Oriental Bank of Commerce were some of the prominent losers last week.