NEW DELHI: Leading equity indices were trading close to the flatline on Monday, in line with global peers, as US employment growth slowed, outlining the impact of Covid on the economy while India continued to report a record number of cases.
US employment growth slowed further in August and permanent job losses increased as money from the government started running out, raising doubts on the sustainability of the economy’s recovery. India is reporting over 90,000 cases daily.
At 09.18 am, BSE flagship Sensex was down 45.47 points or 0.12 per cent to 38,311.71 while NSE benchmark Nifty fell 5.80 points or 0.05 per cent to 11,328.05. Metal and realty stocks saw buying while PSU bank and media names were under pressure.
In the 30-share pack Sensex, Tata Steel was the biggest gainer, up 1.13 per cent at Rs 426.05. It was followed by Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, Titan, SBI and Asian Paints that gained in the range of 0-1 per cent.
M&M was the biggest loser in the pack, down 2.04 per cent to Rs 619.50. Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Auto, HCL Tech and Bajaj Finance were among other major losers, falling 1-2 per cent.
Broader market indices were faring mixed with Nifty Smallcap added 0.06 per cent while Nifty Midcap dipped 0.26 per cent. Broadest index on NSE, Nifty 500 was up 0.14 per cent.
Nifty Metal was the biggest sectoral gainer on NSE, rising 0.80 per cent. It was followed by Nifty Pharma with gains of about half 0.17 per cent. Nifty Media, Nifty PSU Bank and Nifty Media registered losses in early trade.
Globally, Asian shares were on the defensive as investors grappled with sky-high valuations against the backdrop of a global economy in the grip of a deep coronavirus-induced recession while oil prices dropped sharply.
Chinese stocks started lower while shares of Hong Kong-listed Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) plunged to the lowest since June 16 on fears the firm could be added to a US trade blacklist. China’s blue-chip index slipped 0.5 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng eased 0.2 per cent.
Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.4 per cent with SoftBank coming under heavy selling following media reports it has spent at least $4 billion buying call options on listed U.S. technology stocks.
Australian shares, which had opened in the red, reversed losses to edge up 0.1 per cent led by miners, while South Korea added 0.4 per cent.