Sensex opens flat, Nifty50 above 17,950; Metal and pharma stocks gain

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Stock markets today: On Friday morning, markets started on a volatile note amid weak global signals and high crude oil prices. Frontline Nifty50 indices rose 18 points to trade above the 17,950 levels while the S&P BSE Sensex was steady at 60,319 levels.

Broader markets, meanwhile, outperformed benchmarks, with the Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 jumping 0.4%.

Main winners and losers

Ultratech Cement, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Eicher Motors, ONGC were the main contributors to the benchmarks. Meanwhile, IndusInd Bank, Coal India, Reliance Industries, NTPC weighed on the indices.

Sector-wise, Nifty Media, Nifty Pharma, Nifty Metal bucked the trend. Nifty Realty, Nifty Bank, Nifty FMCG, however, were the losers of the pack.

VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, said: “The market momentum that drove Nifty up 18% from June lows is now likely to face headwinds. The sudden sharp rise in the dollar index to 107.6 will impact capital flows to emerging markets like India. The steady FII buying seen in August is likely to run out of steam, which will impact sentiment. High valuations do not justify further market acceleration. Some profit booking and diversion of money into fixed income securities can be seen as a short-term strategy. Buying on the downside can be seen in high-quality financials, big names in capital goods and automotive.

Global indices

Globally, US markets posted marginal gains on Thursday, with the Dow Jones rising 0.06%, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite gained 0.2% each.
U.S. stocks ended higher on Thursday as upbeat sales forecasts from Cisco Systems helped lift the tech sector, while data showed the economy remained relatively strong. Investors were still pricing Wednesday’s minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting, which they initially saw as supporting a less aggressive stance by the central bank.

Major Asia-Pacific markets, however, were down slightly in Friday morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell nearly 1% and Australia’s S&P 200 fell 0.2%.

Shares in Tokyo opened higher on Friday as investors searched for fresh clues ahead of next week’s annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.58%, or 167.65 points, to 29,109.79 in early trading, while the broader Topix index was up 0.49%, or 9, 78 points, at 2,000.28.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices edged higher on hopes of stronger demand. Brent crude climbed 0.1% to $96 a barrel and WTI crude gained 0.2% to $90 a barrel.

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