Sensex trades 56 points down; metal stocks plunge

Mumbai, March 16 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex), was trading down 56 points or 0.21 percent in the late afternoon trade session Monday as metal, capital goods and fast moving consumer durables (FMCG) stocks plunged.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was trading flat in the afternoon trade session. It was down 19.80 points or 0.23 percent at 8,627.95 points.

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 28,546.31 points, was trading at 28,444.78 points (3.00 p.m.), down 58.52 points or 0.21 percent from the previous day’s close at 28,503.30 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 28,581.82 points and a low of 28,384.09 points in the intra-day trade so far.

In Monday’s trade metal, capital goods, FMCG, oil and gas and automobile stocks came under heavy selling pressure.

However, healthy buying was observed in information technology (IT), healthcare, consumer durables, technology, entertainment and media (TECK) and bank sectors.

The S&P BSE metal index was down 168.28 points, followed by capital goods index which was lower by 127.07 points, FMCG index declined by 66.42 points, oil and gas index fell by 66.22 points and automobile index decreased by 46.66 points.

The S&P BSE IT index was up 147.57 points, healthcare index increased 54.13 points, consumer durables index was higher by 44.85 points and TECK index gained 41.60 points.

Analysts said that the Indian market’s were cautious about the US Fed meet which is schedule to be held on March 17 and 18. This meeting will provide the trajectory of the US economy, which will also reveal as to when the rate hike might take place.

The meet also assumes significance as U.S. non-farm payrolls rose 295,000 jobs last month. This data might lead to an increase in US inflation which can make the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than previously expected.

With higher interest rates the foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) are expected to be led away from the emerging markets such as India.

“Investors across the world are concerned about the rate hike as it will bring an important change to the cost of liquidity. Hence until this transformation is initiated, volatility cannot be avoided across global equities and currencies,” said Vinod Nair, head, fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas.

The Indian equities markets’ continued there down turn on the back of the data on retail inflation for February showed a marginal increase from the previous month. This belied expectations of a rate cut next month.

The Reserve Bank of India is scheduled to announce its first bi-monthly policy review for 2015 on April 7.

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