New Delhi: The Indian equity benchmarks fell on Thursday led by weakness in information technology stocks amid weak global cues. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signalled plans to steadily tighten policy. Investors also turned cautious on rising concerns over political tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Back home, monthly Futures and Options (F&O) expiry further added to the pressure.
The 30-share BSE Sensex dropped 581 points or 1 per cent to close at 57,277, while the broader NSE Nifty settled 168 points or 0.97 per cent lower at 17,110. During the day, the 30-share BSE index hit an intraday low of 56,439; and Nifty touched a low of 16,867. Both the indexes trimmed some of their losses before settling in the red.
Mid- and small-cap shares finished lower as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 1.05 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index moved 0.73 per cent lower.
“Fed has signalled a forecast of three policy rate hikes, but the rising inflation has convinced market participants that there would most likely be four rate hikes. Fed didn’t rule out the same and the decline in the market indicates that a large section of market participants who were still considering three policy hikes in their calculations have now moved beyond it and joined the four rate hikes bandwagon. The emerging markets will feel the pressure as liquidity gets eroded,” said Mohit Ralhan, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of TIW Private Equity.
On the stock-specific front, HCL Technologies was the top Nifty loser as the stock cracked 3.93 per cent to Rs 1,079.55. Tech Mahindra, Dr Reddy’s, TCS and Wipro were also among the laggards. In contrast, Axis Bank, SBI, Cipla, Maruti and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth stood weak as 1,479 shares were advancing while 1,885 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE platform, HCL Tech, TechM, Dr Reddy’s, Wipro, TCS, Titan and Infosys attracted the most losses with their shares sliding as much as 4.17 per cent. Axis Bank, SBI, Maruti, Sun Pharma, IndusInd Bank and ITC were among the gainers.
In its latest policy update, the central bank indicated that it is likely to raise U.S. interest rates in March and reaffirmed plans to end its bond purchases before launching a significant reduction in its asset holdings. Investors expected as many as four rate hikes this year.