BSE Sensex little changed ahead of Fed meet

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex was little changed on Wednesday as investors were reluctant to take fresh positions ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy statement due later in the day that is expected to give direction on interest rates there.

The Fed is expected to lay the groundwork for its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade, as it continues to weigh whether the U.S. recovery can hold up against collapsing oil prices and a soaring dollar.

Analysts say a rate hike by the Fed could force overseas investors to cut positions. Foreign investors were the backbone of the Nifty’s record-setting rally last year, investing $ 16.1 billion. FIIs have invested $ 5.1 billion so far this year, exchange and regulatory data showed.

“The market is likely to trade range-bound. Strengthening of the U.S. dollar is a concern and the Fed event will decide the future course for the time being. Nifty is likely to trade between 8,500 and 9,000 in the medium term,” said Deven Choksey, managing director, KR Choksey Securities.

The benchmark BSE Sensex was down 0.05 percent to 28,721.92 points, while the broader Nifty was down 0.09 percent to 8,714.45.

Metal and mining stocks were among the gainers, with Sesa Sterlite (SESA.NS) rising 2.3 percent after India’s environment ministry lifted a ban in place since 2012 as part of a crackdown on illegal mining.

Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) added 0.8 percent after BNP Paribas upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold” and increased the price target to 980 rupees.

However, Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) fell 1.2 percent as its key unit Jaguar Land Rover reported lower-than-expected sales numbers for February.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL.NS) was also trading 1.6 percent lower on reports that a state electricity board scrapped a key power project tender.

(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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