March 2018
10:58 PM IST
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Stocks as US rate hike fear spooks investors
Mumbai, Feb 28 (PTI) The benchmark BSE Sensex dropped 162.35 points or 0.47 per cent and the broader Nifty settled below the 10,500 mark as investors were spooked by worries about US Fed rate hike and weak economic data.

The Sensex resumed lower at 34,156,63 and dropped further to a low 34,076.45 due to heavy selling pressure in view of foreign capital outflows and lower global cues. It closed at 34,184.04, a loss of 162.354 points, or 0.47 per cent.

The broader Nifty dipped below the key 10,500-level to touch a low of 10,461.55 and finally concluded 61.45 points, 0.58 per cent down at 10,492.85.

"Weak global market on account of Fed's hawkish view on future rate hike and extension of selling in banks continued to impact the market. FIIs are sellers in the market due to domestic headwinds and is adding pressure on INR," Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services said.

Nifty is consolidating near the recent low while 10-year yield is still floating at higher levels keeping investors cautious, Nair said.

Banking stocks led by Axis Bank, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank took a hit after the finance ministry set a 15-day deadline for banks to take pre-emptive action on operational and technical risks, following a USD 2 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank.

In addition, sustained capital outflows and the rupee continued to trade at 3-month low of 65.31 against the US dollar, down 44 paise during the day, weighed on sentiments.

Investors turned cautious ahead of the macroeconomic data, brokers said. The December quarter GDP growth numbers were set for release later in the day.

Market sentiment suffered a jolt after other Asian markets closed with widespread losses and European markets dropped in early trade, tracking a slump in the US stocks overnight after the US Fed chair revived worries about a sharp increase in interest rates.

A declining Chinese factory activity, which slowed to a 19-month low in February, also hit the market sentiment.

Also, a monthly survey showed India's manufacturing sector growth eased slightly in February as factory output and new business orders rose at a slower pace.

The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell from 52.4 in January to 52.1 in February, indicating a modest improvement in operating conditions even as remained above the 50-point-mark that separates expansion from contraction for the seventh consecutive month.

However, Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday estimated that India will grow 7.6 per cent in calendar year 2018 and 7.5 per cent in 2019, amid signs of economic recovery from impact of demonetisation and GST.

Fresh spell of selling dragged down most of the sectoral indices, led by metal, banking and FMCG, capital goods, power and infrastructure ended in the negative zone, falling up to 1.21 per cent.

PNB shares hit a 20-month low by slumping 12.11 per cent in morning trade but managed to close higher by 3.05 per cent.

Gitanjali Gems too cracked nearly 5 per cent.

PNB has said that the alleged fraud perpetrated by jewellers Modi and Mehul Choksi may be around USD 2 billion, over USD 204 million more than previously estimated.

Among the Sensex components, ICICI Bank fell 1.92 per cent, followed by Axis Bank 1.47 per cent, Yes Bank 1.47 and HDFC Bank 1.27 per cent.

Other banking stocks like Federal Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank ended lower by up to 1.67 per cent.

Hindustan Unilever, Sun Pharma, M&M, L&T, NTPC, Tata Motors, HDFC LTD, Bajaj Auto, ITC, Bharti Airtel, Coal India, Adani Ports, Maruti Suzuki, ONGC and TCS fell up to 2.02 per cent.

In contrast, IT stocks were in demand as the rupee edged lower against the dollar. Infosys rose 2.26 per cent. A weak rupee boosts revenue of IT firms.

Asian Paint, SBI, Power Grid, RIL, Hero Motocorp and Dr Reddy's too gained up to 0.52 per cent and capped the fall.

Cipla gained 1 per cent after it entered into an agreement with Roche to promote and distribute tocilizumab and Syndyma, the 2nd brand of Roche's cancer therapy bevacizumab in India.

Among the BSE sectoral indices, metal fell 1.21 per cent, banking 0.96 per cent, FMCG 0.69 per cent, capital goods 0.65 per cent, power 0.51 per cent, infrastructure 0.43 per cent, healthcare 0.20 per cent, oil & gas 0.18 per cent and PSU 0.13 per cent.

A mixed trend prevailed in broader markets with the BSE mid-cap index falling 0.23 per cent and the small-cap index gaining 0.21 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei fell 1.44 per cent, South Korea shed 1.17 per cent, Shanghai composite slump 0.99 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng too shed 1.36 per cent.

In Europe, Paris CAC 40 was down 0.35 per cent, while Frankfurt' CAC fell 0.32 per cent in early deals. London's FTSE also traded lower 0.32 per cent lower.

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