Nervous traders pull mkts down ahead of Budget

Mumbai: Indian stocks dropped on Friday for the sixth straight session in a late sell-off as nervous traders trimmed bets ahead of Budget announcements by finance minister on Monday. A weak opening in European markets also soured sentiment. Sensex ended down 588.59 points or 1.3 per cent at 46,285.77 and Nifty ended down 182.95 points or 1.3 per cent to close at 13,634.60.

With this fall, Sensex and Nifty have corrected 7.8 per cent and 7.6 per cent, respectively from all-time highs hit on January 21 and have equaled the losing streak of last September when indices fell for six straight days. This is also the first time since May 2020 that the indices have posted two straight weekly losses.

“Markets across the globe have seen a big move since March and valuations are no more cheap. So some corrections at various points will happen. Typically, they also happen ahead of an event like the Budget, where people turn cautious and want to see if any change in taxation rates are there,” said Rajat Rajgarhia, CEO, Motilal Oswal Institutional Equities. “Post budget, focus will shift on economic recovery, corporate earnings and global sentiment,” said Rajgarhia.

The latest bout of correction in the market is the first big fall in the otherwise near vertical rally seen since March 23, 2020. The correction mirrors the sentiment in global markets, which have been unsettled of late by a bounce in the dollar, signs of liquidity squeeze in China and concerns over retail trading frenzy in the US. Owing to these concerns, markets have weakened ahead of the Budget day.

Bank of America Securities said the Budget is likely to be growth focused. “We expect Budget to step up capex, recap PSBs, push asset sales/break government monopolies, see sops for real estate, tax cuts for lower income groups & potential for creation of ‘bad bank’,” said Bank of America Securities.

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