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NSE Intra-day chart (21 April 2023)
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Market Commentary 24 April 2023
Benchmarks likely to get flat-to-positive start amid mixed global cues


Indian equity benchmarks ended flat on Friday as cautious undertone prevailed as investors awaited earnings results from heavyweights Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank for directional cues. Markets made a cautious start and soon slipped into red terrain, as traders got cautious after retail inflation for farm labour and rural workers rose marginally to 7.01 percent and 6.94 percent, respectively, in March compared to February this year, mainly due to higher prices of certain food items. Some concerns also came as a report by Acuite Ratings stated that India's economic activity is expected to decline and witness a lower growth print in FY24 on the back of a buoyancy in the services sector, moderation in inflation and the consistency in public sector capital expenditure. Markets extended fall in afternoon session amid reports that GST evasion detection by tax officers almost doubled year-on-year to over Rs 1.01 lakh crore in the just concluded 2022-23 fiscal. Sentiments remained weak as minutes of this month's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting showed India's current rate tightening cycle may not be over as more hikes could be warranted to align inflation towards the central bank's medium term target of 4%. Adding to the pessimism, National Stock Exchange's provisional data showed foreign institutional investors (FII) sold shares worth Rs 1,169.32 crore on April 20. However, markets managed to cut all of their initial losses to settle flat, taking support with rating agency ICRA stating that India's real GDP growth is likely to have risen to 4.9% YoY in Q4 FY2023 from the provisional 4.4% in Q3 FY2023, with the softening of commodity price pressures. Meanwhile, the retirement fund body, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO) latest data report showed that India created 1396185 new jobs in the month of February 2023 as against revised figure of 1299220 in January 2023. Finally, the BSE Sensex rose 22.71 points or 0.04% to 59,655.06 and the CNX Nifty was down by 0.40 points to 17,624.05.


The US markets ended higher on Friday as S&P Global released data indicating a faster rise in business activity at U.S.-based firms on the month of April. The headline S&P Global Flash U.S. PMI Composite Output Index climbed to 53.5 in April from 52.3 in March, signaling the quickest upturn in business activity since May 2022. Street had expected the index to inch up to 52.8. The report also said the Flash U.S. Services Business Activity also rose to a twelve-month high of 53.7 in April from 52.6 in March, while the Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI crept up to 50.4 from 49.2, signaling the first improvement in operating conditions at goods producers in six months. However, traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves as they looked for additional clarity about the outlook for the markets following the volatility seen in recent session. Traders have been looking ahead to several key economic reports due be released next week, including the Commerce Department's report on personal income and spending. The report includes a reading on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve and could impact the outlook for interest rates ahead of the next Fed meeting the following week. On the sectoral front, Pharmaceutical stocks showed a strong move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index up by 1.4 percent to a record closing high. Notable strength was also visible among retail stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain posted by the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index. On the other hand, steel stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the NYSE Arca Steel Index down by 2.4 percent.


Crude oil futures ended higher on Friday on strong economic data in Britain. The U.K. private sector expanded for the third successive month in April to the strongest level in a year, driven by a sharp upturn in the services economy. However, concerns about the U.S. economic outlook and interest rate uncertainty limited the uptick in oil prices. Benchmark crude oil futures for June delivery rose $0.50 or 0.7 percent to settle at $77.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for June delivery surged $0.56 or 0.69 percent to settle at $81.66 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange. 


Indian rupee ended higher for the second consecutive day on Friday, led by continued selling of the US currency by banks and exporters. Traders took some support with rating agency ICRA stating that India's real GDP growth is likely to have risen to 4.9% YoY in Q4 FY2023 from the provisional 4.4% in Q3 FY2023, with the softening of commodity price pressures. Some support also came as the Retirement fund body, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO) latest data report showed that India created 1396185 new jobs in the month of February 2023 as against revised figure of 1299220 in January 2023. Downward movement of crude oil prices also supported the local unit. On the global front, the dollar headed for its first weekly gain in nearly two months on Friday as investors raised their bets that the Federal Reserve will increase rates in May, while a surprising recovery in the euro zone economy in April underpinned the euro. Finally, the rupee ended at 82.08 (Provisional), stronger by 9 paise from its previous close of 82.17 on Thursday.


The FIIs as per Friday's data were net sellers in equity segment, while net buyers in debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 5871.01 crore against gross selling of Rs 6838.60 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 1965.20 crore against gross selling of Rs 426.10 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 3.74 crore against gross selling of Rs 3.10 crore.


The US markets ended higher on Friday amid mixed earnings results and recession fears. Asian markets are trading mostly in red on Monday as investors await cues from more U.S. earnings and the policy announcements by the U.S. Fed and Bank of England in early May. Indian markets consolidated in a narrow range and ended flat on Friday after ITC and TCS logged strong gains even as auto, metal and realty stocks slid amid selling pressure. Today, markets are likely to get flat-to-positive start amid mixed global cues. Investors' assessment of Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank's January-March (Q4) results will guide the market direction. Traders will be taking encouragement with a private report that starting FY24 on a positive note, Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have been buyers throughout the trading sessions in April month so far. On a reasonable valuation of stocks, they invested Rs 8,643 crore in Indian equities. Besides, according to the RBI data, India's forex reserves rose by $1.657 billion to $586.412 billion as of April 14, marking their second consecutive week of increase. Some support will come as Union minister Piyush Goyal said the world is now looking up to India and its industries and this is the right time for entrepreneurs and industry players to grasp the opportunity and grow exports. Separately, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed hope that traders will soon be able to settle foreign trade in the rupee currency as several banks from different countries are opening special Vostro accounts with Indian banks. Meanwhile, India has climbed six places on the World Bank's Logistic Performance Index (LPI) 2023, now ranking 38th in the 139 countries index, as a result of significant investments in both soft and hard infrastructure as well as technology. Traders may take note of a private report that with India surpassing China to become the world's most populous country with 1.428 billion people, it needs to grow an annual pace of 8 percent for the next three decades to ensure jobs for people of working age.


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