India’s Nifty posts worst session in nine months; small-, mid-caps tumble

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s benchmark Nifty 50 posted its worst session in nine months on Wednesday as investors booked profits, while small and mid-cap stocks tumbled too.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 fell 1.41% to 21,150.15, its worst performance since mid-March, while the S&P BSE Sensex shed 1.30% to 70,506.31.

Both indexes had risen 0.65% earlier in the session to all-time highs.

The more domestically focussed small- and mid-caps underperformed the benchmarks, dropping 3.63% and 3.27%, respectively. This was the worst session in three months for small-caps and 12 months for mid-caps.

“We are unlikely to see the margin of safety in small- and mid-caps in 2024 that we witnessed in 2023, as some pockets are overstretched after the recent rally,” said Sanjeev Hota, vice president and head of research at Sharekhan.

Despite the session’s decline, small- and mid-caps have risen 48.06% and 39.72% in 2023 so far, far outperforming the Nifty, which is up 16.82%.

“Excesses in small and micro-cap space raise concerns and there is an anticipation of volatility, especially in segments where valuations appear stiff,” said Kenneth Andrade, founder and director of Old Bridge Capital Management.

Andrade added that the high market capitalisation to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio in Indian markets signalled over-valuation.

State-owned banks, energy, metals and auto stocks dropped between 2.2% and 4.1%, after a recent rally.

Financials and information technology shed 1.09% and 1.71%, respectively.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone and Adani Enterprises were the top losers in Nifty 50, losing 5.76% and 5.35%, respectively.

On the other side, Oil & Natural Gas Corp was the top gainer, adding 1.45% after ICICI Securities estimated Indian oil companies would benefit from crude prices in $75-$80 per barrel range.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Varun H K)