Mumbai: Key Indian equity indices on Monday hit their lowest levels since December 6, 2017, with the BSE Sensex slipping below the 33,000-mark and the Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) falling below the psychologically important 10,100-level.
According to market observers, India’s widening current account deficit (CAD), along with weak global cues ahead of the US Federal Reserve meet on March 20-21, dented investors’ risk-taking appetite.
The wider NSE Nifty50 declined by 100.90 points or 0.99 per cent to close on a lower note for the fourth consecutive trade session at 10,094.25 points.
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 32,923.12 points — the fifth straight session of losses — down 252.88 points or 0.76 per cent from its previous close.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 2,235 declines and 514 advances.
In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index declined by 1.58 per cent and the small-cap index by 1.98 per cent.
“Markets ended with heavy losses on Monday. It was the fourth consecutive session of losses for the Nifty. The weakness came on the back of weak global cues ahead of the US Federal Reserve policy decision later in the week,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
“Investors were also worried about the sharp widening of current account deficit (CAD) in December quarter. Metals and bank shares came under selling pressure,” he added.
Data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) post market hours on Friday revealed that India’s CAD widened to $13.5 billion during the third quarter of 2017-18 from $7.2 billion in the second quarter and $8 billion in the corresponding period in 2016-17.
On Monday, all the 19 sub-indices of the BSE closed in the red, with the S&P BSE metals index falling by 368.35 points, followed by consumer durables index by 318.81 points, banking index by 301.46 points, oil and gas index by 254.73 points and IT index by 243.58 points.
Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market continues to drag under global market volatility ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meet tomorrow, where consensus hints at a 25 basis points rate hike.
“Bond yield remains at elevated levels and concern on trade tensions is influencing investors to book profit. Back home, rupee weakened due to widening current account deficit and led investors to remain cautious,” Nair added.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 23 paise to close at 65.17 against the US dollar from its previous close at 64.94.
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors purchased scrips worth Rs 292.23 crore, while domestic institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 191.52 crore.
Major Sensex gainers on Monday were: NTPC, up 1.03 per cent at Rs 167.05; Maruti Suzuki, up 1 per cent at Rs 8,777.65; Power Grid, up 0.99 per cent at Rs 194.15; Larsen and Toubro, up 0.95 per cent at Rs 1,279.70; and Hindustan Unilever, up 0.80 per cent at Rs 1,309.45.
The Sensex losers were: Tata Steel, down 4.24 per cent at Rs 575.05; Bharti Airtel, down 4.16 per cent at Rs 400.80; Wipro, down 2.60 per cent at Rs 288.05; Yes Bank, down 2.57 per cent at Rs 304.85; and Coal India, down 2.51 per cent at Rs 271.70.