Mumbai, India (BBN) – The Sensex and Nifty were trading marginally higher as investors remained wary ahead of exit poll results on Thursday.
Exit polls are due out around 5:30 pm (local time) (1200 GMT), and have often been wrong in the past, but any clear trend showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in front could trigger buying by investors, reports The Hindu Business Line.
Domestic sentiment remained subdued ahead of the results of state elections, including that of the country’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
Actual results will be announced on Saturday, and will help to shape the next two years of Modi’s government as it heads for the 2019 general election.
“Markets are trading very cautiously ahead of the exit poll results this evening,” said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities.
“A BJP win could take the market very close to the new high.”
At 2:35pm, the 30-share BSE index Sensex was up 54.90 points or 0.19 per cent at 28,956.84 and the 50-share NSE index Nifty was up 10.15 points or 0.11 per cent at 8,934.45.
Among BSE sectoral indices, consumer durables index was up 0.72 per cent, auto 0.7 per cent, realty 0.29 per cent and banking 0.27 per cent. On the other hand, oil & gas index fell the most by 0.53 per cent, healthcare 0.5 per cent, metal 0.27 per cent and infrastructure 0.23 per cent.
Top five Sensex gainers were Maruti (+1.64 per cent), Axis Bank (+1.27 per cent), State Bank of India (+1.22 per cent), Tata Motors (+1.25 per cent) and Asian Paints (+0.84 per cent), while the major losers were Dr Reddy’s (-4.89 per cent), Adani Ports (-1.86 per cent), GAIL (-1.75 per cent), Wipro (-1.72 per cent) and ONGC (-1.43 per cent).
The 30-share Sensex barometer, which had lost 146.25 points in the previous two sessions, fell another 86.92 points or 0.30 per cent to 28,815.02.
The broader Nifty too declined by 24.80 points or 0.27 per cent to 8,899.50.
Uttar Pradesh election is the world’s largest this year and will have a key influence on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances of clinching a second term in 2019.
Talks of a hung house suddenly gained momentum in the last phase of polling with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself flagging the possibility of a hung Assembly in the State.
Even before the election results are declared on March 11, party insiders do not discount chances of a fractured verdict after the seven phases of polling that will come to an end today in the absence of any wave.
In Asian markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down by 1.01 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.15 per cent in early trade. Shanghai Composite index shed 0.92 per cent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.33 per cent lower in yesterday’s trade.