The benchmark indices declined more than 0.3% on Friday as the trade deficit for the month of March hit a 5-month high. The BSE benchmark, the Sensex closed slightly above the 22,600-mark.
On Friday, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended lower by 86.37 points or 0.38% to 22,628.96 points, while the broader 50-share Nifty declined 20.10 points or 0.30% to close at 6,776.30 points. India's trade gap in March widened to $10.51 billion, its highest since October 2013, data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed.
Experts continue to hold a positive view on the markets. "After a false breakout, the Nifty once again entered into an upward channel. We continue to maintain a positive view on the market as long as the Nifty holds key support at 6650. Nifty may touch 6900 in the near term. The near term support is at 6750," Standard Chartered Securities said in its morning note.
The market fall was led by declines in Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors as each scrip ended 1.75% lower. As per Siam data, Mahindra & Mahindra’s passenger vehicle sales in FY14 were down 18.14% to 2,54,344 units, while Tata Motors sales figures were down 36.77% to 1,98,812 units for FY14. RIL shares ended 1.65% lower at Rs 952.85.
Among its peers, most of the Asian markets edged lower on Friday. The Nikkei 225 fell more than 2%. The Hang Seng (-0.79%), Kospi (-0.56%), Straits Times (-0.17%), Shanghai Composite (-0.18%) and Taiwan Taiex (-0.45%) ended in the red. Jakarta Composite bucked the trend as it ended with gains of 1.07%.
Among the major European indices, the FTSE 100, the DAX and the CAC were all trading in the red at about 5.15 pm India time.