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Market Commentary 15 January 2024
Benchmarks likely to get optimistic start on Monday

Indian equity benchmarks rose sharply on Friday to scale their record closing high levels, supported by gains in IT, TECK and Realty stocks. Markets made a positive start and gained strength throughout the day, as traders took support with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) stating that the net direct tax collection so far this fiscal rose 19.41 per cent to Rs 14.70 lakh crore from the corresponding period of last year. The provisional figures of Direct Tax collections up to January 10, 2024, continue to register steady growth. Traders took note of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's statement that the much-awaited direct listing of stocks at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in GIFT City would happen soon to enable Indian companies to access global funds easily. Traders overlooked Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) data showing that India's outward foreign direct investment (FDI) commitments fell sharply to $2.25 billion in December 2023, compared to over $4.12 billion in December 2022. Sequentially, they were also down from $4.0 billion in November 2023. Traders also paid no heed towards reports that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold Indian shares on a net basis during the previous session, offloading Rs 865 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth Rs 1,607.08 crore. Meanwhile, investors were looking ahead to the India's Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation and Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data to be out later in the day for more directional cues. Finally, the BSE Sensex rose 847.27 points or 1.18% to 72,568.45 and the CNX Nifty was up by 247.35 points or 1.14% to 21,894.55.

The US markets ended mostly higher on Friday after producer prices in the U.S. unexpectedly edged slightly lower in the month of December, according to a report released by the Labor Department. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand slipped by 0.1 percent in December, matching a revised dip in November. Street had expected producer prices to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month. The modest decrease in producer prices partly reflected anther steep drop in energy prices, which tumbled by 1.2 percent in December after plunging by 2.4 percent in November. The report said food prices also slid by 0.9 percent in December after climbing by 0.7 percent in the previous month. The decrease in food and energy prices contributed to a 0.4 percent drop in prices for final demand goods, although excluding food and energy prices, prices for final demand goods were unchanged. However, a steep drop in UnitedHealth (UNH) weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with the health insurance giant tumbling by 3.4 percent despite reporting fourth quarter results that beat street estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Financial giants Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) also moved to the downside after reporting their quarterly results, while Citigroup (C) moved higher over the course of the session. On the sectoral front, airline stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, resulting in a 4.4 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. Delta Air Lines (DAL) led the sector lower, plummeting by 9.0 percent despite reporting fourth quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates. Considerable weakness was also visible among housing and banking stocks, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index and the KBW Bank Index falling by 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures ended higher on Friday as an escalation in tensions in the Middle East raised concerns about delay in supplies. The number of oil tankers being diverted from the Red Sea rose sharply following the air and sea strikes by the U.S. and the U.K. on the areas occupied by the Houthi rebels. Besides, oil prices also rose after customs data showed China's annual crude oil imports hit an all-time high in 2023. Benchmark crude oil futures for February delivery rose by $0.66 or 0.9 percent to settle at $72.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery gained $0.88 or 1.1 percent to settle at $78.29 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

Indian rupee ended marginally lower against the dollar on Friday, as investors remained on sidelines ahead to the India's Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation and Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data to be out later in the day for more directional cues. Some concern also came with Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) latest report showing that India's outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) commitments fell sharply to $2.25 billion in December 2023, compared to over $4.12 billion in December 2022, down by 45.39% year on year.  An upward movement in crude oil prices and a stronger American currency also weighed on sentiment. On the global front, the dollar held steady against other major currencies on Friday, as investors weighed an ambiguous U.S. consumer price inflation report against market bets that the Federal Reserve will cut rates as soon as March. Finally, the rupee ended at 83.03 (Provisional), weaker by 2 paise from its previous close of 83.01 on Thursday.

The FIIs as per Friday's data were net sellers in equity segment, while they were net buyers in debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 11673.48 crore against gross selling of Rs 12448.94 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 1621.70 crore with gross sales of Rs 718.29 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 40.76 crore against gross selling of Rs 22.48 crore.

The US markets ended mostly in green on Friday as traders parsed through the first batch of fourth-quarter earnings and digested the second in a pair of closely watched inflation reports this week. Asian markets are trading higher on Monday after China's central bank surprised markets with a rate pause ahead of key economic data and earnings. Indian markets ended at record highs on Friday with the support of a blistering rally in information technology (IT) stocks, along with select banking and consumption related names. Today, markets are likely to get optimistic start with information technology stocks in focus after better-than-expected results from HCL Tech and Wipro. Market participants will be eyeing the Q3 earning for more directional cues. Sentiments will get some support as commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said there is great excitement about India globally and the country stands at a crucial juncture, ready to catapult into a $35-trillion economy in the next 24 years, marking an era of unprecedented growth. He separately said the rate of rupee depreciation has come down and expressed hope that after 8-10 years, it will start appreciating against US dollar, helping the Indian economy to grow at faster pace. Unlike in the past, Goyal said, the Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry are working together to push the growth of the country. Besides, Nepal and India have expressed a commitment to implementing bilateral initiatives aimed at further strengthening the seamless cross-border connectivity, as the officials from the two sides met to discuss ways to fortify the economic and commercial linkages. The India-Nepal Inter-Governmental Sub-Committee (IGSC) on Trade, Transit, and Cooperation to Combat Unauthorised Trade convened its latest session in Kathmandu on January 12-13. However, weak macro-economic data may dent sentiments. India's industrial production growth fell sharply to an eight-month low in November due to a moderation in manufacturing activity led by the consumer goods as well as a high base effect. The index of industrial production (IIP) grew by a meagre 2.4 per cent in November compared to 11.7 per cent in October. On the other hand, retail inflation in December rose to a four-month high because of a seasonal spike in the prices of vegetables, fruits, and pulses that the Reserve Bank of India has already factored in. The Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based retail inflation slightly rose to 5.69 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in December from 5.55 per cent in November. Foreign fund outflows may dampen sentiments. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) offloaded shares worth Rs 340.05 crore on January 12, provisional data from the NSE showed. There will be some buzz in two-wheelers industry stocks as Vinod Aggarwal, President of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said the two-wheeler sales in India increased by 9.12 per cent Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y) to 17.075 million units in 2023 as the rural market continues to recover, and the overall economy shows strong growth.

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  • Infosys has inked a definitive agreement to acquire InSemi, a leading semiconductor design and embedded services provider.
  • TCS has launched an AI Experience Zone, to foster hands-on proficiency in Artificial Intelligence and Generative AI for its employees.
  • Mahindra & Mahindra has launched the XUV400 Pro Range, at an introductory price starting at Rs 15.49 lakh.
  • Tata Motors' subsidiary -- Tata Passenger Electric Mobility has started production of passenger vehicles from its new factory in Sanand, Gujarat.

News Analysis