Weak rupee, inflationary pressure fears drag equity indices lower
Mumbai: Rise in crude oil prices, along with a weak rupee and outflow of foreign funds, dragged the key domestic equity indices lower over 1 per cent on Wednesday.
In addition, fears over the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) turning more hawkish in its monetary policy stance due to a rise in inflationary pressure also led to erosion in investors’ risk-taking appetite.
Index-wise, the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange closed at 10,858.25 points, lower 150.05 points or 1.36 per cent from its previous close.
The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 36,602.85 points, closed at 35,975.63 points, down 550.51 points or 1.51 per cent from its previous close at 36,526.14 points.
It touched an intra-day high of 36,602.85 points and a low of 35,911.82 points.
In the broader markets, the S&P BSE Mid-cap index declined 1.11 per cent, while the S&P BSE Small-cap index rose 0.20 per cent, from their previous close.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee closed at 73.34 (73.3450) per US dollar, 43 paise weaker from its previous close of 72.91. It crashed to a low of 73.42 earlier in the day.
“Rupee hit a record low of 73.42 against the dollar in early deals amid worries that surging oil prices will stoke inflationary pressures and widen India’s current and trade deficits,” Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager-Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund, said.
“Investors were also cautious ahead of the three-day RBI policy review meet which commenced today (Wednesday).”
Geojit Financial Services Head of Research Vinod Nair said: “Market dragged down as rupee hit new low due to increase in oil prices and concerns over balance of payment.”
Currently, Brent crude oil price is around $85 per barrel.
“Despite government’s plan to cut borrowing in H2FY19 (Second Half of 2018-19), yields continued to increase due to rate hike expectation from RBI. Sentiment for equity has turned tepid given heightened volatility in the domestic and global financial markets,” Nair said.
Investment-wise, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 1,550.04 crore and domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 1,402.47 crore.
Sector-wise, heavy selling pressure was witnessed in auto, banking and IT stocks.
“The sales figures (released on 1st of every month) of most automobile companies, especially four-wheelers, were not very good,” Astha Jain, Senior Research Analyst, Hem Securities, told IANS.
The top Sensex gainers were Yes Bank, up 5.79 per cent at Rs 212.85; Vedanta, up 3.09 per cent at Rs 240.10; Coal India, up 1.60 per cent at Rs 276.90; ONGC, up 1.45 per cent at Rs 181.60; and Bajaj Auto, up 0.16 per cent at Rs 2,734 per share.
On the other hand, major losers included Mahindra and Mahindra, down 6.66 per cent at Rs 791.15; Tata Consultancy Services, down 4.14 per cent at Rs 2,162.45; Axis Bank, down 3.91 per cent at Rs 570.70; ICICI Bank, down 3.36 per cent at Rs 303.60; and Maruti Suzuki, down 2.86 per cent at Rs 7,251.60 per share.