Stock market indices hovered near their lowest in more than 10 weeks in a volatile session on Friday, heading for a third consecutive weekly loss as caution prevailed over concerns about rising tensions in the Middle East.

The benchmark Bombay Stock Exhcange (BSE) index Sensex fell 0.1 per cent to 27,422, heading for a 2.9 per cent weekly loss. The broader 50-share Nation Stock Exhcange (NSE) index Nifty declined by 0.21 per cent to 8,324.35.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 521 crore (US $ 83.22 million) on Thursday, in a session that saw both Sensex and Nifty falling to their lowest since January 14 after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies launched air strikes in Yemen. It was the first day of net sales by overseas funds in six sessions.

Trading sentiment thus remained weak. If the market indices end the day with losses, it would mark an eighth consecutive session of declines, the longest losing streak in over 18 months.

But broader losses were capped as software services exporters such as Infosys gained after global rival Accenture on Thursday raises revenue growth forecast for the second time.

“We are advising people to be cautious as we see some more pain. Any fresh buy can happen only in the second week of April,” said Suresh Parmar, head, institutional equities at KJMC Capital Maarkets.

Recent outperformers led the decliners. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries’ stock, which gained 16.9 per cent in march till Thursday, fell 1.2 per cent, while shares of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories fell 2.1 per cent after gaining 5.1 per cent so far in March till Thursday.

Technology stocks led the gains. Infosys shares gained 3.3 per cent while stocks of Tata Consultancy Services added 1.4 per cent.

(Reuters)