Sensex sheds 152 points; banking stocks tank

Mumbai, March 19 (IANS) After rallying over 300 points in the day’s trade, a benchmark index of Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), closed Thursday’s trade down 152.45 points or 0.53 percent.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed the day’s trade in red. It was down 51.25 points or 0.59 percent down at 8,634.65 points.

“Markets opened higher on the back of strong US markets. The F’d’s announcement on not hiking rates in April and keeping future hikes data dependent, buoyed sentiment”,” Dipen Shah, head of PCG (Private Client Group) Research, Kotak Securities.

The US central bank on Wednesday dropped an assurance to be “patient” in raising interest rates and signalled the hike could come by mid-year.

But in a statement issued after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee, the Federal Reserve also emphasised that it might still delay the decision to raise the rates for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, until later this year.

“Increase in interest rates in US can have an impact on the Indian currency as well as stock markets as funds may flow out of India or additional funds may not come into India. We believe that, going ahead, fiscal reforms by the government will be the triggers for the markets to sustain and move higher from current levels,” Shah added.

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 28,805.22 points, closed at 28,469.67 points, down 152.45 points or 0.53 percent from the previous day’s close at 28,622.12 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 28,978.74 points and a low of 28,411.70 points in intra-day trade.

Heavy selling pressure was seen in banking, capital goods, auto and oil and gas sectors, while some good buying was observed in healthcare and consumer durables sectors.

The S&P BSE bankex plunged 386.26 points, capital goods index dropped by 174.33 points, auto index fell by 72.27 points and oil and gas index went down by 64.62 points. However, healthcare index gained by 71.70 points and consumer durables index moved up by 51.06 points.

The major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, up 3.53 percent at Rs.852.70; Asian Paints, up 2.53 percent at Rs.834.95; Lupin, up 2.53 percent at Rs.1921.10 and GAIL, up 2.19 percent at Rs.390.05.

The losers were: Housing Development & Infrastructure Ltd., down 4.78 percent at Rs.108.50; RCom, down 4.57 percent at Rs.63.70; Adani Enterprises, down 4.18 percent at Rs.618.30; and GM Infrastructure, down 4.15 percent at Rs.15.

Among the Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei went down by 0.35 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed higher by 1.45 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index, gained by 0.15 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was marginally up by 0.10 percent and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.01 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index was lower by 0.07 percent at the closing in the Indian markets.

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