Sensex and Nifty start the week slightly down; HDFC Bank shares are lower

The benchmark stock market indices commenced Monday's trading session with a modest decline, influenced primarily by a downturn in HDFC Bank and Tata Group stocks.

The NSE Nifty50 observed a marginal dip of 0.17 percent, closing at 22,456.30 points, whereas the S&P BSE Sensex registered a slight decline of 0.22 percent, reaching 73,959.08 points.

Notably, small-cap stocks, which typically exhibit a more localized focus, experienced a more pronounced setback, witnessing a decline of 0.6 percent and performing below the benchmark indices. Conversely, mid-cap stocks saw a modest uptick of 0.2 percent.

Among the top small-cap losers was IIFL Finance, which is gearing up to raise funds on March 13 to bolster its capital reserves following recent scrutiny by the Reserve Bank of India regarding its gold loan offerings, recording a loss of 4.2 percent.

Last week, both small- and mid-cap stocks trailed behind the benchmarks due to concerns surrounding excessive fund inflows and stretched valuations. However, despite these apprehensions, they continued to attract significant investments from domestic mutual fund investors, with overall inflows hitting a 23-month high in February, according to data disclosed on Friday.

HDFC Bank incurred a 1 percent decline and emerged as the top loser on the Nifty, consequently exerting downward pressure on the private bank index by 0.5 percent. Citi downgraded the stock to "outperform" from "buy" and lowered the target price, citing challenges related to deposit growth and net interest margin recovery.

Meanwhile, Tata group stocks, including Tata Consumer, Tata Steel, and Tata Motors, witnessed losses ranging between 0.9 percent and 3 percent.

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