Budget 2018: Sensex, Nifty end lower in see-saw trade

Benchmark stock market indexes ended lower on Thursday, swinging between gains and losses as finance minister Arun Jaitley unveiled the budget for 2018-19.

The BSE Sensex opened just a tad higher and gained as much as 0.7% in the first hour of trade. The 30-stock index traded 0.55% higher at 36,163.93 around 10:30 am. The National Stock Exchange’s 50-stock Nifty index was up 0.5% at 11,081.65 till that time.

By 12:45 pm, both indexes had lost the early gains and were down as much as 1.3% after Jaitley proposed to impose long-term capital gains tax on equities. The indexes recouped the losses to trade higher again within the hour, but eventually closed lower.

Jaitley presented what could be the last full budget of the Narendra Modi government before the general elections scheduled by next year. He eased the fiscal deficit target and announced a range of measures related to health, education and social security programmes.