Domestic benchmark indices extended losses for the sixth straight trading session on Friday on concerns over aggressive interest rate hikes by major central banks and geopolitical tensions weighed on markets. Last week, the BSE Sensex saw a decline of 2.5%, settling at 59,464, while the Nifty 50 also followed suit, falling by 2.67% and finishing at 17,466.
The Indian rupee, on the other hand, continues to lose ground and hovers around its all-time low of 83 against the US dollar. The rupee fell 0.18% last week, marking the fifth consecutive week of losses. In February, the domestic currency plummeted by 1.42%, erasing all of its gains made in the prior month.
The rupee has remained under pressure on account of the plateauing of exports and the subsequent widening of the current account deficit.
As per the recent RBI data, the country's current account deficit (CAD) widened to 4.4% of the GDP in the quarter that ended in September from 2.2% in April-June due to a higher trade gap.
Despite the market being volatile, three BSE small-cap stocks recorded a gain of over 15% last week, while nine other stocks surged by more than 10%.
Lumax Auto Technologies stood as the top gainer in the BSE small-cap index over last week, with a surge of 19.6%. The stock began its upward journey on February 14 and has since returned nearly 22.17%, moving from ₹216 apiece to the current level of ₹263.90.
The next company on the list was Sanghi Industries, a clinker and cement manufacturer that witnessed an impressive surge in its stock price over the last week, recording a rise of 18.13%, climbing from ₹56.25 apiece to ₹66.45. The stock has risen nearly 110% since its 52-week low of ₹31.6.
Dishman Carbogen Amcis shares were another big mover last week; the stock had been on a downward trend since April of last year, but it gained momentum at the beginning of February and has returned 41.74% so far. Overall, the stock gained 16.70% last week.
Equitas small finance bank, stood as the fourth top gainer last week with a rally of almost 15%. On February 23, the stock hit a new 52-week low of ₹70.08 per share. For the December-ending quarter, the bank posted its highest quarterly net profit of ₹170 crore, a growth of 57% YoY and 46.55% QoQ.
The bank during the quarter performed well across all key performance indicators, delivering sustainable loan and deposit growth, stable margins, and improving asset quality.
Following the bank's Q3 earnings, domestic brokerage firm Axis Securities has retained its "buy" rating on the stock and raised the target price to ₹70 apiece from ₹60 earlier.
The fifth top gainer on the list was Mahindra CIE Automotive. On Friday, the stock climbed 20% to mark a new 52-week high of ₹462.4 apiece, despite reporting a net loss in the December quarter. Since May of last year, the stock has been experiencing a bullish trend and has yielded a return of 166% thus far.
Similarly, shares of Olectra Greentech, which is a manufacturer of composite polymer insulators and electrical buses, rose 19% to ₹479.95 apiece in Friday's trade. The strong push for the stock came after the company announced its hydrogen bus in a technical partnership with Reliance.
"The hydrogen bus is a fully carbon-free alternative to traditional public transportation. In the wake of the depletion of natural resources and the negative impacts of air pollution and emissions, Olectra has taken the initiative to accelerate the development of hydrogen-powered buses."
"This initiative will help out the Indian government achieve its carbon-free hydrogen ambitions. "Olectra aims to contribute to the nation’s environmentally sustainable energy security through its hydrogen buses," said Olectra Greentech in an exchange filing.
Other stocks, including, Zen Technologies, Inox Wind, Everest Kanto Cylinder, Nucleus Software Exports, Globus Spirits, and Kriti Industries, also witnessed gains in the range of 11–13.5% in the last week.
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