Sensex plummets 286 points as crude oil resumes slide

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Mumbai, Feb 2:

Indian stocks fell over 1 per cent on Tuesday, led by metals and private sector banks, as traders and investors grew concerned after crude resumed its slide.

The broader NSE index ended down 100.4 points or 1.33 per cent at 7,455.85, while the benchmark BSE index plunged 285.83 points or 1.15 per cent at 24,539.

All BSE sectoral indices ended in the red. Among them, metal index fell the most by 4.33 per cent, followed by oil & gas 2.59 per cent, infrastructure 2.5 per cent and healthcare 2.46 per cent.

Top five Sensex gainers were Bharti Airtel (+1.92%), Bajaj Auto (+1.48%), Infosys (+0.3%), Lupin (+0.28%) and Wipro(+0.01%), while the major losers were Tata Steel (-7.18%), NTPC (-4.28%), Sun Pharma (-4.12%), BHEL (-3.99%) and Cipla (-3.98%).

The Reserve Bank of India kept its policy rate on hold at 6.75 per cent, opting to wait until after the government’s annual budget statement at end-February to decide on whether to cut interest rates further.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday chose to keep the policy repo rate unchanged on inflation concerns even as it emphasised that it continues to be accommodative.

It has also left the cash reserve ratio of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent. The reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 7.75 per cent.

Expecting an uptick in growth, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said he expects 7.6 per cent GDP growth next fiscal “notwithstanding significant headwinds” and based this on normal monsoons, the large positive terms of trade gains, improving real incomes of households and lower input costs of firms.

“Markets are rangebound at the moment, policy was a non-event,” said Arun Kejriwal, founder, Kris Research. “Expect good correction in stocks before pre-budget rally starts.”

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Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth Rs 253.88 crore, as per provisional data released.

Sageraj Bariya of East India Securities said: “After a horrible January, global equity markets saw a muted start to February with most markets ending marginally down dragged by oil prices which fell on news reports that there is no co-ordinated production cut planned by producing nations. Weak economic data from China also hurt the sentiments. Indian markets were dragged down by banking stocks which fell sharply on fears of mounting asset quality problems. Investors are also worried that the union budget might increase effective corporate tax rate by doing away with a host of tax exemptions. We remain cautious in the near term as global and local headwinds would continue to hurt investor sentiment.”

Asian shares fell as crude oil prices slid on oversupply fears and after downbeat manufacturing data raised concerns about sluggish global economic growth.

European equities fell sharply on Tuesday as crude oil prices slipped again on oversupply concerns and companies such as oil major BP disappointed on the earnings front.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst index dropped 1.5 per cent by 0904 GMT, after closing 0.2 per cent weaker in the previous session. The index is down more than 7 per cent so far this year.

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