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NSE Intra-day chart (16 March 2021)
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Market Commentary 17 March 2021
Markets likely to get flat-to-positive start on Wednesday


Indian equity benchmarks gave up early gains to end marginally lower on Tuesday, as investors fretted over rising cases of Covid-19 cases in the country and amid new localised restrictions.  Key indices made positive start, as traders found some support with the government data showing that the country's exports rose marginally by 0.67 per cent year-on-year to $27.93 billion in February, growing for the third consecutive month, even as trade deficit widened to $12.62 billion. Imports rose by 6.96 per cent to $40.54 billion in the month. Domestic sentiments were optimistic, as the finance ministry said it has released the full Rs 1.10 lakh crore estimated GST compensation shortfall to the states with the release of final weekly installment of Rs 4,104 crore. With the release of the 20th installment, 100 per cent of the total estimated GST compensation shortfall of Rs 1.10 lakh crore for the year 2020-21 has now been released to the states and UTs with Legislative Assembly. However, domestic equities gave up initial gains and traded flat towards the final hours of the day, as traders turned cautious with Credit rating agency ICRA's report stated that the states may face a shortfall of Rs 2.7-3 lakh crore as Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation from the Centre next fiscal. Out of that amount, the shortfall from cess collections will be at Rs 1.6-2 lakh crore. Some concern also came as India reported 24,366 fresh Covid-19 cases on Monday pushing the overall tally to 11,409,524, according to Worldometer. The death toll from the deadly infection jumped to 158,892. Besides, a report stated that Cinema halls, hotels, restaurants and offices except those related to health and essential services in Maharashtra will function at 50 percent capacity till March 31. Finally, the BSE Sensex fell 31.12 points or 0.06% to 50,363.96, while the CNX Nifty was down by 19.05 points or 0.13% to 14,910.45.


The US markets ended mostly lower on Tuesday as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. Traders will be paying close attention to any changes to the Fed's statement as well as any revisions to the central bank's forecasts for the economy, inflation and interest rates. Some weakness also prevailed in the markets after a Commerce Department report showing retail sales pulled back by much more than anticipated in the month of February. The Commerce Department said retail sales plunged by 3.0 percent in February after soaring by an upwardly revised 7.6 percent in January. Street had expected retail sales to dip by 0.5 percent compared to the 5.3 percent spike originally reported for the previous month. Excluding a drop in auto sales, retail sales still tumbled by 2.7 percent in February after skyrocketing by 8.3 percent in January. Ex-auto sales were expected to edge down by 0.1 percent. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve released a report showing an unexpected slump in US industrial production in February, with steep drops in manufacturing and mining output more than offsetting a sharp increase in utilities output. The Fed said industrial production tumbled by 2.2 percent in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.1 percent in January. The pullback surprised participants, who had expected industrial production to climb by 0.6 percent compared to the 0.9 percent increase originally reported for the previous month. The Fed said the severe winter weather in the south central region of the country in mid-February accounted for the bulk of the declines in output for the month.


Crude oil futures ended lower for third straight session on Tuesday as traders bet that domestic crude supplies climbed for a fourth week in a row, in the wake of last month's Texas deep freeze. Further, concerns about a likely drop in energy demand also weighed on oil prices amid reports several countries in Europe have temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine. Germany, France and Italy plan to suspend AstraZeneca COVID-19 injections after reports of possible serious side effects, although the World Health Organization said there was no established link to the vaccine. Crude oil futures for April fell 59 cents or 0.9 percent to settle at $64.80 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude dropped 49 cents or 0.7 percent to settle at $68.39 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Indian rupee ended weaker against the US dollar on Tuesday, on increased demand for the greenback from importers and banks. Traders overlooked government's data showing that the country's exports rose marginally by 0.67 per cent year-on-year to $27.93 billion in February, Growing for the third consecutive month, even as trade deficit widened to $12.62 billion. Imports rose by 6.96 per cent to $40.54 billion in the month. On the global front, dollar edges up as currency markets wait for Fed meeting. A cautious tone dominated currency markets on Tuesday, before the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting. The Fed's policymakers are expected to forecast that the US economy will grow in 2021 at its fastest rate in decades, with unemployment falling and inflation rising, but are not considered likely to change their monetary policy. Finally, the rupee ended at 72.55, weaker by 9 paise from its previous close of 72.46 on Monday.


The FIIs as per Tuesday's data were net seller in equity segment, while net buyer in debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 6526.39 crore against gross selling of Rs 7488.07 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 2268.82 crore against gross selling of Rs 1919.86 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 30.49 crore against gross selling of Rs 46.77 crore.


The US markets ended mostly lower on Tuesday as yields on longer-maturity US Treasury bonds fluctuated. Asian markets are trading mixed on Wednesday as investors await Fed outcome. Indian markets ended in red for the third consecutive day on Tuesday as bond yields rise and inflation worries emerge. Today, the benchmarks are likely to make flat-to-positive start amid mixed global cues. Investors are likely to track Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with chief ministers, scheduled later today, to discuss the situation of coronavirus cases. Traders will be taking encouragement with the commerce ministry's preliminary data stating that India's exports grew 17.27 per cent to $14.22 billion during March 1-14 as compared to the year-ago period, showing healthy signs of revival. The key sectors which recorded a healthy growth in exports include engineering, rice, gems and jewellery. Traders may take note of report that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin have announced a digital partnership in information and communications technology, future mobile technologies and digital education at a virtual summit. However, there may be some cautiousness as India reported 28,869 fresh Covid-19 cases on Tuesday pushing the overall tally to 11,438,464, according to Worldometer. The death toll from the deadly infection jumped to 159,079. Maharashtra reported 17,864 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, which is an increase of over 2,000 cases recorded on Monday when the state reported 15,051 new cases. Meanwhile, SEBI has issued guidel­ines aimed at addressing grie­vances of IPO investors, parti­cularly those using the unified payment interface (UPI) for payments. Banking stocks will be in focus as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the interest of all employees of state-owned banks which are likely to be privatised will be protected, even as bank unions observed a two-day strike against the government's privatisation decision. There will be some reaction in metal stocks as ratings agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) revised its outlook on the domestic steel sector from negative to stable for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2021. The agency also expects the prices of iron ore, a raw material used for steel making, to increase in the coming financial year. Meanwhile, IPO of Nazara Technologies and Suryoday Small Finance Bank will open today.


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Indian Oil Corporation





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  • L&T's construction arm -- L&T construction has secured orders from its prestigious client for two businesses. 
  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries is recalling products in the US market, the world's largest market for pharmaceutical products, for various reasons. 
  • Tata Steel's Jamshedpur Steel Plant has been recognised as the World Economic Forum's Advanced 4th Industrial Revolution Lighthouse. 
  • APSEZ will partner with John Keells Holdings PLC and Sri Lankan Port Authority to develop the West Container Terminal at the Colombo port in Sri Lanka.
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