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NSE Intra-day chart (02 March 2024)
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Market Commentary 04 March 2024
Benchmarks likely to get flat-to-positive start on Monday

A Saturday special trading session ended on a higher note, with both Sensex and Nifty hitting fresh record closing highs. Stock exchanges -- BSE and NSE -- conducted two special trading sessions on Saturday, aimed at testing their preparedness in case of any unexpected disaster in the system. After a positive start, markets remained higher during the first special trading session from 9:15 am to 10 am, as foreign fund inflows aided domestic sentiments. The provisional data from the NSE showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net bought shares worth Rs 128.94 crore on March 1. Indices resumed their second trading session at 11:30 am and continued positive trend. Markets settled their trade in green terrain with marginal gains at 12:30 pm. Sentiments were positive as GST collections rose by 12.5 per cent to Rs 1.68 lakh crore in February 2024 compared to the year-ago period buoyed by an increase in domestic sales as well as imports. With this, the gross GST collection in April-February of the current fiscal stood at Rs 18.40 lakh crore, up by 11.7 per cent year-on-year. Adding more optimism, the Reserve Bank of India data showed foreign exchange reserves rose by $2.9 billion to $619 billion in the week ended February 23. Finally, the BSE Sensex rose 60.80 points or 0.08% to 73,806.15 and the CNX Nifty was up by 39.65 points or 0.18% to 22,378.40.

The US markets magnified their previous session's gains and ended higher on Friday with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 once again reaching new record closing highs. A report from the Institute for Supply Management showed manufacturing activity in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted at an accelerated rate in the month of February. The ISM said its manufacturing PMI dipped to 47.8 in February from 49.1 in January, with a reading below 50 indicating contraction. Street had expected the index to inch up to 49.5. Also, the University of Michigan released revised data showing consumer sentiment in the U.S. unexpectedly deteriorated in the month of February. The report said the consumer sentiment index for February was downwardly revised to 76.9 from the previously reported 79.6. Street had expected the reading to be unrevised. With the unexpected downward revision, the consumer sentiment index is now below the January reading of 79.0. The weak data contributed to a downturn by treasury yields, which added to optimism about the Federal Reserve eventually cutting interest rates. Meanwhile, the surge by the Nasdaq partly reflected substantial strength among computer hardware stocks following upbeat results from Dell (DELL), with the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index soaring by 6.9 percent to a record closing high. Shares of Dell skyrocketed by 31.6 percent after the computer maker reported fourth quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Crude oil futures settled at a four-month high on Friday, buoyed by the Energy Information Administration's report that oil demand surged to a four-year high in 2023 and demand will hold near that level through this year. Optimism about an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve in June also contributed to the jump in oil prices. Investors await an OPEC+ decision on supply agreements for the second quarter. The group is likely to extend its production cuts through the second quarter and possibly the end of 2024. Escalating tensions in the Middle East also added to the rise in the crude oil prices. Benchmark crude oil futures for April delivery rose $1.71 or about 2.2% to settle at $79.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery was up by $1.71 or about 2.1% to $83.94 per barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

Indian rupee ended lower against the dollar on Friday amid rising crude oil prices in the overseas market and increased demand for the American currency from importers. Sentiments were down beat as eight core industries growth slowed to a 15-month low of 3.6 per cent in January 2024, on account of poor performance of sectors like refinery products and fertilizer. In December 2023, core sector growth had printed in at 4.9 percent. In January 2023, the core sector had grown by 9.7 per cent. On the global front, the yen slipped against the dollar on Friday after Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda said it was too soon to declare victory on pulling inflation up to a desired level. Meanwhile, the dollar was little changed against its other major peers, bitcoin took a breather after surging last month, and China's yuan dipped after weak manufacturing data. Finally, the rupee ended at 82.91 (Provisional), weaker by 2 paise from its previous close of 82.89 on Thursday.

The FIIs as per Friday's data were net buyers in equity segment, while they were net sellers in debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 57371.12 crore against gross selling of Rs 53169.81 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 1267.21 crore with gross sales of Rs 1400.96 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 101.26 crore against gross selling of Rs 63.60 crore.

The US markets ended higher on Friday ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony before Congress on March 6 and 7. Asian markets are trading mixed on Monday ahead of China's 2024 growth expectation figure later in the week. Indian markets ended Saturday's special trading session on a positive note, backed by strong gains in metal stocks. Today, markets are likely to get flat-to-positive start tracking mixed cues from Asian counterparts. Some support will come with a private report that Inflation in goods and services other than fuel and food is likely to remain low, around 3% in the near term, owing to weak rural demand, softness in housing inflation and lower input cost pressures. Traders will be taking encouragement as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed that sales of listed private non-financial companies grew 5.5 per cent in the three months ended December 2023 from 4.4 per cent expansion in the previous quarter. Traders may take note of Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal's statement that the outcome of the 13th ministerial conference of the WTO was good and India is completely satisfied as the country continues to retain its full policy space to protect the interests of farmers and fishermen in every respect. Market participants continue to take support with the finance ministry's statement that India collected Rs 1.68 lakh crore in goods and services tax (GST) in February, 12.5 percent more than the year-ago period. The latest GST figure, which has come in above the Rs 1.5-lakh-crore mark for the 12th month in a row, takes the average monthly collection in 2023-24 to Rs 1.67 lakh crore. However, upside may remain capped amid foreign fund outflows. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 81.87 crore on March 2, provisional data from the NSE showed. Some cautiousness may come as oil prices slightly rose in Asian trade on Monday after the OPEC+ maintained its current pace of production cuts until the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be inaugurating the national conference of Goods and Services Tax enforcement chiefs. The one-day national conference will be held aiming to strengthen the enforcement mechanism in GST. Stocks related to semiconductor industry will be in focus as IT and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said India will, in next five years, join the high-stake global stage of semiconductor manufacturing as it combines unparalleled design capabilities with $10 billion of incentives to draw manufacturers to set up new fabs and units that will cut dominance of Taiwan, South Korea and China.  There will be some reaction in infrastructure industry stocks as the finance ministry said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman virtually launched seven infrastructure projects worth over Rs 1,000 crore.

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  • Cipla has completed the transfer of Generics Business Undertaking as a going concern on a slump sale basis to Cipla Pharma and Life Sciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company.
  • Eicher Motors and Volvo Group's JV company -- VE Commercial Vehicles has posted 1.9% rise in total sales at 7424 units in February 2024 as compared to the same month last year.
  • Tech Mahindra has signed MoU with Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison at Mobile World Congress 2024 to build Garuda, a Large Language Model.
  • ICICI Bank has bought an additional 25.14 lakh shares of ICICI Lombard General Insurance for Rs 431 crore.

News Analysis