Late sell-off drags Sensex into red; banking stocks worst hit

Mumbai, PTI | Updated : 19 March 2015, 08:11 PM

The Sensex today closed 152 points down on a late sell-off in bluechips, after rising over 350 points earlier in the session as a dovish Fed stance cooled expectations of an earlier-than-expected US rate hike.

The benchmark resumed higher at 28,805.22 and shot up to 28,978.74 on initial buying in line with global markets that saw a relief rally on the overnight US Fed decision.

The Fed after a closely watched two-day meeting issued a statement that had removed a pledge to remain “patient” on raising rates, signaling a possible mid-year rate increase.

However, Fed chief Janet Yellen emphasised that while jobs were picking up the economy was more muted than 3 months ago, adding that consumer spending slipped and inflation slowed.

After the initial surge, the Sensex dropped afterwards on profit-booking to the day’s low of 28,411.70 and finally ended at 28,469.67, a loss of 152.45 points or 0.53 per cent.

Shares of Axis Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank, BHEL, RIL and ITC faced heavy selling among Sensex constituents.

Similarly, the CNX 50-share Nifty fell by 51.25 points, or 0.59 per cent, to close at 8,634.65.

“Despite positive global cues, equity benchmarks concluded the session with a cut. They failed to capitalise the initial push, which was triggered in response to the US Fed’s balanced statement on interest rate hike,” said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities.

Globally, most Asian indices ended higher taking cues from a strong rebound on Wall Street overnight as investors reacted to the perceived dovish statement from the Federal Reserve.

Emerging markets were jittery in the run-up to the Fed policy meeting outcome as any unexpected decision on rate hike can lead to flight of capital from riskier assets.

Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea were up 0.14 per cent to 1.45 per cent while in Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell by 0.35 per cent.

European markets were also trading higher as key indices in France, Germany and the UK moved up by 0.23-0.25 per cent.

Meanwhile, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 457.43 crore yesterday as per provisional data.

Last night, US markets rose after the Fed meeting outcome.

“....US markets ended positive as investors viewed the Fed’s statement as dovish regarding the outlook for interest rates and on comments that interest rates will be kept unchanged at its April meeting,” said a note from ICICIdirect.com.

As many as 21 scrips out of the 30-share Sensex pack fell today.

Major Sensex laggards included Axis Bank (2.50 per cent), SBI (1.76 per cent), Reliance Industries (1.44 per cent), Sesa (1.37 per cent), ICICI Bank (1.33 per cent), BHEL (1.22 per cent), Tata Motors (1.21 per cent), Tata Power (1.18 per cent), HDFC Bank (1.14 per cent), ITC (1.05 per cent) and L&T (1.03 per cent).

However, Gail India rose by 2.19 per cent, NTPC by 1.50 per cent, Tata Steel by 1.36 per cent and TCS by 1.32 percent.

Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, Banking fell by 1.76 per cent, followed by Realty 1.50 per cent, Capital Goods 1.00 per cent, Oil& Gas 0.68 per cent, FMCG 0.64 per cent and Power 0.52 per cent.

Mid-cap and small-cap indices also fell by 0.59 per cent and 0.58 per cent due to selling pressure from retail players.

The total market breadth continued to remain weak as 1,730 stocks ended in red, 1,104 finished in green while 127 ruled steady. The total turnover rose to Rs 3,835.31 crore from Rs 3,664.36 crores. 

First Published: Thursday, March 19, 2015 11:12 AM

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