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NSE Intra-day chart (18 March 2024)
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Market Commentary 19 March 2024
Benchmarks to get negative start amid weakness in Asian counterparts

Indian equity markets garnered marginal gains on Monday. After a negative start, markets witnessed volatility during the first half, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves and look ahead to the U.S. central bank's monetary policy meeting this week. While the US Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will look to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates. Some anxiety came as former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian said India's latest GDP numbers are 'absolutely mystifying' and difficult to comprehend. However, erasing all of their losses, key indices turned positive in the second half of the trading session, as market participants took some support with the provisional data from the NSE showing that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net bought shares worth Rs 848.56 crore on March 15, 2024. Some support also came as latest data by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showed that India's foreign exchange reserves jumped by $10.47 billion to $636.1 billion for the week ending on March 8. This is the biggest surge since the week ended July 14, 2023. Markets managed to hold their heads above water till the end of day, as sentiments were optimistic, amid a private report stating that India's current world-beating economic growth rate on the back of an investment boom resembles that of 2003-07 when growth averaged more than 8 per cent. Some relief came after the government launched various initiatives including Dissemination of Indian Standard Time through NTP, an Integrated Price Monitoring Dashboard and CCPA website for seamless redressal of violation of consumers rights, with an aim to empower consumers and protect consumer rights. Finally, the BSE Sensex rose 104.99 points or 0.14% to 72,748.42 and the CNX Nifty was up by 32.35 points or 0.15% to 22,055.70.

The US markets ended higher on Monday. After showing a strong move to the upside early in the session, markets gave back some ground over the course of the trading day but managed to close mostly higher. Technology stocks helped lead the early rally on markets, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a particularly strong move to the upside. Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) surged by 4.6 percent after a report from Bloomberg said Apple (AAPL) is in talks to build Google's Gemini artificial intelligence engine into the iPhone. Nvidia (NVDA) also jumped early in the session ahead of its GTC Conference, where the chipmaker is expected to provide updates on its AI initiatives, but gave back ground before ending the day up by 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, traders continued to look ahead to the Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the central bank's accompanying statement and economic projections could have a significant impact on the outlook for rates. On the economic data front, a report released by the National Association of Home Builders showed an unexpected improvement in U.S. homebuilder confidence in the month of March. The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 51 in March from 48 in February. Street had expected the index to come in unchanged. With the unexpected increase, the housing market index surpassed the breakeven point of 50 for the first time since hitting 56 last July.

Crude oil futures ended sharply higher on Monday amid concerns about supply due to geopolitical risks following continued drone attacks by Ukraine on Russian oil refineries. According to private report, the disruption in Russian refineries will likely result in a drop of close to 200,000 barrels per day to around 2.15 million barrels per day this month. Besides, oil prices were also supported by data showing a drop in crude exports from Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, improved industrial output and retail sales data from China and the IEA forecast of a supply deficit through 2024, changing its earlier prediction of a surplus, contributed as well to the jump in oil prices. Benchmark crude oil futures for April delivery rose $1.68 or about 2.1% to settle at $82.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery surged by $1.55 or about 1.8% to $86.89 per barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

Indian rupee ended lower on Monday on firm crude oil prices. Some cautiousness came in as former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian said India's latest GDP numbers are absolutely mystifying and difficult to comprehend. Traders overlooked data by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showing that India's foreign exchange reserves jumped by $10.47 billion to $636.1 billion for the week ending on March 8. This is the biggest surge since the week ended July 14, 2023. On the global front, the dollar was steady on Monday as traders looked ahead to a week dominated by central bank meetings worldwide, with the Bank of Japan seemingly on the brink of ending negative rates and the focus on how many rate cuts the Federal Reserve projects. Finally, the rupee ended at 82.90 (Provisional), weaker by 4 paise from its previous close of 82.86 on Friday.

The FIIs as per Monday's data were net buyers in both equity and debt segments. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 50330.25 crore against gross selling of Rs 49557.16 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 3100.90 crore with gross sales of Rs 2145.02 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 321.72 crore against gross selling of Rs 309.98 crore.

The US markets ended higher on Monday ahead of the US Fed meet later this week, where the central bank is expected to keep rates steady and provide cues on its monetary policy trajectory. Asian markets are trading mostly in red on Tuesday ahead of central bank monetary policy decisions from the Bank of Japan and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Indian markets remained volatile on Monday and ended with marginal gains as investors looked for decisive cues. Today, markets are likely to get negative start amid weakness in Asian counterparts as all eyes remain on the BOJ amid bets that the central bank could end its negative interest rate policy after 17 years. Foreign fund outflows likely to dent sentiments in the domestic markets. Provisional data from the NSE showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 2,051.09 crore on March 18. However, some support may come as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed that India's outward foreign direct investment (FDI) commitments rose substantially to $3.47 billion in February 2024, compared to over $2.82 billion in February 2023. Sequentially, FDI commitments were also up from $2.18 billion in January 2024. Traders may take note of a report that Indian industry has cheered the latest exports data that were released on March 15. According to the data, India's overall exports, merchandise and services combined, in February 2024 are estimated to be $73.55 Billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 14.20 per cent on a year-on-year basis. IT sector stocks will be in focus with report that uncertain macroeconomics in key markets like the US and Europe will continue to drag growth for the Indian IT services industry. A report released by ICRA said that the industry is poised to witness a modest revenue growth of 2 per cent in the first three quarters of FY24, and it will maintain a restrained trajectory in the range of 3-5 per cent in FY25. This is the second consecutive year when the credit rating agency has forecasted a growth rate in the range of 3-5 per cent for the Indian IT sector. There will be some reaction in insurance industry stocks as Financial Services Secretary Vivek Joshi said the insurance sector has witnessed an influx of Rs 53,900 crore in foreign direct investment (FDI) from December 2014 to January 2024. This comes against the backdrop of the liberalisation of overseas capital flow norms by the government. Fertilizer industry stocks will be in limelight as the government extended the permission by a year for import of urea (agri grade) through India Potash till March 2025. Meanwhile, Jefferies has identified 11 stocks set to benefit from long-term macro trends like capital expenditures, government manufacturing initiatives, and financialisation. The brokerage expects these equities to more than double by 2029. Moreover, Popular Vehicles and Services will make its debut on bourses today against an issue price of Rs 295.

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  • Bajaj Finance has raised Rs 504.49 crore through the allotment of 50,000 Secured Redeemable NCDs, at the face value of Rs 1 lakh each.
  • NTPC is all set to start commercial operations of second unit of its North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Project on March 20, 2024.
  • Bharti Airtel has deployed additional sites in Sambhaji Nagar and Jalna district to densify its network.
  • Tata Sons is reportedly set to divest a 0.65 per cent stake in in TCS in the open market.

News Analysis