Sensex, Nifty end 2018 on a tepid note

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Mumbai–The last trading session of 2018 on the Indian stock markets ended on a flat note with the Sensex declining 8 points and the Nifty adding just 2 points to its previous close.

“Quite a volatile and eventful year, closed on a very steady and benevolent note. Equity markets and bond yields are very close to last year’s levels. Crude is down and rupee has recovered substantially. Hope for steadier and stable markets in 2019,” Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg tweeted.

Although the indices were in the green for most part of the day, they were dragged down from the highs by weakness in key sectors like realty, oil and gas and energy.

“European stocks traded slightly higher on the final day of 2018, while stocks in Hong Kong rose more than 1 per cent in an abbreviated trading session,” said Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager for Equities at BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.

“Investors were also encouraged by signs that the US and China are working towards a trade deal.”

Earlier, domestic stocks, in line with global markets, edged up after US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China.”

“Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made,” he added.

The S&P BSE Sensex settled 8.39 points or 0.02 per cent lower at 36,068.33 after touching an intra-day high of 36,285.46 and a low of 36,033.95.

The Nifty 50 ended at 10,862.55 up 2.65 points or 0.02 per cent.

The benchmark Brent Crude price was also flat at $54.10 per barrel ahead of the production cut by OPEC and other oil producers which will take affect from January 1.

“OPEC had earlier said that they consider the $50-60 per barrel range as stable. Now that the Brent crude price slid below 50 earlier in December. We expect a further production cut,” Anuj Gupta of Angel Broking told IANS.

The Indian currency ended at 69.76 per dollar. It had closed at Rs 69.94 last week.

According to the provisional figures from the stock exchanges, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth Rs 326.87 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought Rs 321.98-crore stocks.

Stock-wise, Tata Steel gained close to 1.59 per cent on Monday. Vedanta, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors and IndusInd Bank also rose above 1 per cent.

In contrast, telecom major Bharti Airtel lost 1.04 per cent, the most among the 30-stock Sensex.

Axis Bank, Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki and HDFC lost up to 1 per cent. (IANS)

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