Sensex, Nifty snap five-day rally on profit-taking

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The Nifty fell on Tuesday, retreating from a record high hit earlier in the session, as recent outperformers such as Reliance Industries fell on profit-booking ahead of key inflation data.

India’s record-setting rally, with the Nifty hitting its third all-time high in as many sessions, faces a key test on Wednesday when India is due to release consumer inflation and industrial output data, the last set of reports before the Reserve Bank of India’s policy review on April 1.

Although foreign institutional investors on Monday bought a net $211.6 million shares in secondary markets, heavy selling in primary markets turned them into net sellers of $612 million for the day, halting a 16-day consecutive buying streak.

Still, for the year, overseas funds have bought a net $1.5 billion, which analysts have attributed largely to bets on a recovery in the domestic economy, easing inflation, and the prospect of a win by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which is considered more business-friendly by markets.

“Markets will be watching the data,” said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, chief strategist at SMC Global Securities.

“But people are building up positions and focusing their portfolios on the next big event, which is elections. There could be some correction, but the undercurrent is positive.”

The NSE fell 0.39 per cent to end at 6,511.90 points, retreating from a record high of 6,562.85 points hit earlier in the day.

The fall snapped a five-day winning streak in which the NSE index had surged 5.1 per cent.

BSE Sensex fell 0.49 per cent to end at 21,826.42, also snapping a five-session winning run, although the benchmark did not set a record high on Tuesday.

Recent top gainers were among the biggest decliners. Reliance Industries fell 1.2 per cent after surging 9.7 per cent over the previous three sessions, while HDFC Bank lost 1.3 per cent after jumping 9.8 per cent over the same period.

Metal stocks extended falls to a second day on rising fears of a slowdown in China. Tata Steel fell 5.6 per cent, after losing 1.9 per cent on Monday. Hindalco Industries fell 3.7 per cent.