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NSE Intra-day chart (20 February 2024)
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Market Commentary 21 February 2024
Benchmarks likely to get flat-to-positive start on Wednesday

Indian equity benchmarks continued their upward momentum for the sixth consecutive session on Tuesday, largely driven by gains in Banking, Realty and Financial Services stocks. The markets initially faced some downward pressure as the provisional data from the NSE showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 754.59 crore on February 19. However, key gauges recovered from early losses and managed to trade in green for most part of the session, as traders got some support after Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal exuded confidence that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will cut interest rates as inflation is under control. The RBI has been maintaining the benchmark interest rate at an elevated level of 6.5 per cent since February 2023. Key gauges added gains in late afternoon deals, taking support from Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri's statement that infrastructure will be a vital component for India to become a developed country by 2047. He asserted that the country will be the third-largest construction market globally by next year. Highlighting the vitality of the construction industry for the Indian economy, he said the construction industry is among the fastest growing industries in the country. Meanwhile, government think tank NITI Aayog has pitched for tax reforms, mandatory saving plan, and housing plan for elderly in India, as the population of senior citizens is projected to reach 19.5 per cent of the country's population by 2050. Finally, the BSE Sensex rose 349.24 points or 0.48% to 73,057.40 and the CNX Nifty was up by 74.70 points or 0.34% to 22,196.95.

The US markets ended lower on Tuesday with Nasdaq settling cut of around one percent. The weakness on markets reflected ongoing anxiety about the outlook for interest rates following last week's hotter-than-expectation inflation data. CME Group's FedWatch Tool is indicating just an 8.5 percent chance the Federal Reserve will lower rates by a quarter point in March, while the chances of a quarter point rate cut in early May have fallen to 33.8 percent. The Fed may provide additional insight into the outlook for interest rates with the release of the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. Chief Economist for Comerica Bank Bill Adams said The minutes of the Federal Reserve's January Federal Open Market Committee meeting may clarify how much more good data the Fed's policymakers want to see before starting to reduce interest rates. On the sectoral front, Steel stocks showed a significant move to the downside, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index tumbling by 1.9 percent after ending last Friday's trading at its best closing level in well over a month. Significant weakness was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent loss posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Shares of Nvidia (NVDA) plunged by 4.4 percent ahead of the release of the chipmaker's quarterly results after the close of trading on Wednesday. Tobacco, oil producer and transportation stocks also saw notable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

Crude oil futures ended lower on Tuesday amid ongoing concerns about the outlook for demand. However, trades were cautious as tensions continued to escalate in the Middle East. Yemen's Houthi militants said they had attacked the Rubymar cargo vessel in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel was seen at risk of sinking. A U.S.- and U.K.-led coalition has conducted a number of airstrikes against Houthi targets in response to drone and missile attacks in the region that have forced shippers to reroute to avoid the Red Sea. The Houthis vowed to continue their attacks. Benchmark crude oil futures for March delivery fell $1.01 or 1.3% to settle at $78.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery dropped $1.22 or 1.5% to $82.34 per barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

Indian rupee ended marginally higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday amid softening crude oil prices in the overseas market. Traders took some support with Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal's statement that the present government's ambition is to make India a fully developed nation by 2047 and all efforts are being made in this direction. Goyal said that the government's ambition is to increase the current $3.7 trillion economy to be a $30-35 trillion economy by 2047 and to ensure food and energy security of the nation. However, a strong American currency and withdrawal of foreign funds kept the local unit under pressure. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net sellers in the capital markets on Monday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 754.59 crore, according to exchange data. On the global front, the dollar rose broadly on Tuesday and firmed above 150 yen on mounting expectations of higher-for-longer U.S. rates, contrasting with a recession in Japan and market doubts about a near-term exit from the country's ultra-easy policy. Finally, the rupee ended at 82.96 (Provisional), stronger by 5 paise from its previous close of 83.01 on Friday.

The FIIs as per Tuesday's data were net buyers in both equity and debt segments. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 23871.05 crore against gross selling of Rs 23698.37 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 1139.61 crore with gross sales of Rs 948.22 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 158.07 crore against gross selling of Rs 106.66 crore.

The US markets ended lower on Tuesday with the Nasdaq showing the largest declines as chipmaker Nvidia stumbled ahead of its highly awaited earnings report. Asian markets are trading mixed on Wednesday tracking Wall Street losses. Indian markets ended higher for sixth straight session on Tuesday as banks and financial services saw heavy buying, lifting the benchmarks. Today, markets are likely to get flat-to-positive start amid mixed cues from global peers. Traders will be taking encouragement as economists in the Finance Ministry said with the stable downward movement in core inflation and moderation in food prices, the outlook for a reasonably low headline inflation rate is good. They said the outlook for the Indian economy appears bright with GDP likely to grow by 7% next financial year beginning April 1 from an estimated 7.3% in the current financial year. Some support will come with report that retail inflation for farm workers and rural labourers eased marginally to 7.52 per cent and 7.37 per cent in January as compared to the previous month, mainly due to lower prices of certain food items. In December 2023, Consumer Price Index-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) and Consumer Price Index-Rural Labourers (CPI-RL) was 7.71 per cent and 7.46 per cent, respectively. Besides, the latest payroll data released by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) showed that the labour market recovered slightly in December as fresh formal job creation hit a three-month high. As per the data, in December 2023, the number of new monthly subscribers under the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) increased by nearly 10 per cent to 840,584 in December from 762,513 in November. Traders may take note of Arvind Panagariya, chairman of the Sixteenth Finance Commission, stating that India must focus on exports to achieve a 10% growth rate for the economy. However, foreign fund outflows likely to dent sentiments. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 1,335.51 crore on February 20, provisional data from the NSE showed. Also, oil prices regained some ground in early Asian trade on Wednesday, as investors weighed concerns over output cuts by key producers and attacks on shipping in the Red Sea against dimmed expectations of U.S. rate cuts. There may be some cautiousness as the Reserve Bank of India's February 2024 bulletin showed that the net foreign direct investment (FDI) into India, inflows minus the outflows, declined sharply by 55.2 per cent to $9.69 billion in April-December 2023, from $21.63 billion in the corresponding period in 2022, mainly due to a rise in repatriation of equity capital.

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  • Mahindra & Mahindra has launched new variants of Bolero MaXX Pik-Up range.
  • Bajaj Finance has raised Rs 4,280.04 crore through the allotment of 4,28,000 Secured Redeemable NCDs, at the face value of Rs 1 lakh each and in case of re-issuance at the face value of Rs 10 lakh.
  • Tech Mahindra has entered into a strategic partnership with TOTSCo to design, build and operate a message-exchange platform for the UK telecom industry.
  • Bharti Airtel has launched two new, next-gen Company owned stores in the city of Ambala.

News Analysis