Nifty Trades Near Six-Month Highs; Axis Bank Pares Losses

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10.25 a.m. The BSE Sensex traded with modest gains, rising over 50 points to 26,050 levels. The Nifty meanwhile inched over 20 points to trade above 7,980, its highest level since November 6, 2015. Recovery in banking shares supported the broader Sensex and Nifty, traders said.

Axis Bank, which shed over 4 per cent in morning trade, traded 2.15 per cent lower as of 10.25 a.m. Axis Bank shares came under selling pressure after the private lender placed Rs 22,600 crore worth of corporate loans under a “watch list”. Over two years, 60 per cent of these loans can slip into non-performing assets, the lender said.

The negative sentiments in Axis Bank impacted other lenders too. ICICI Bank, which is yet to report its Q4 numbers, traded 1.4 per cent lower. State-run SBI, India’s biggest lender, was down 0.6 per cent.

09.20 a.m. The BSE Sensex opened sharply lower on Wednesday, but staged a smart recovery soon after. The broader Nifty, which slipped below 7,950 in opening deals, traded flat at 7,964 as of 09.20 a.m.

Banking stocks underperformed, with the Nifty Bank slipping 0.5 per cent in early trade. Private lender Axis Bank was the top Nifty loser, falling over 3 per cent, after it placed Rs 22,600 crore worth of corporate loans under a “watch list”. Over two years, 60 per cent of these loans can slip into non-performing assets, the lender said.

The list of loans placed under “watch list” are mainly from iron & steel and power sectors, which have been under stress because of slowdown in the economy.

ICICI Bank, which is yet to report its Q4 numbers, traded 1.65 per cent lower. State-run SBI, India’s biggest lender, also traded lower.

Bharti Infratel, which beat profit estimates in Q4, was the top Nifty gainer. Bharti Infratel has also announced a buyback of Rs 2,000 crore at a price of Rs 450 per share.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel and private lender Yes Bank will be in focus today ahead of the their earnings announcement.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks traded on a subdued note on Wednesday, as investors stayed cautious ahead of US and Japanese central bank policy decisions, while crude oil prices hovered near 2016 highs.