Benchmark share indices ended at their lowest level in two months after further tapering by the US Fed led to a sell-off in emerging markets on concerns that foreign fund inflows would slowdown going forward. Further, expiry of January derivative contracts also weighed on the stock market.
The 30-share Sensex ended down 149 points at 20,498 and the 50-share Nifty ended down 46 points at 6,074. The Sensex had ended at 20,535 and the Nifty at 6,092 on November 28, 2013. Market breadth was weak with 1,713 losers and 867 gainers on the BSE.The rupee continued to remain weak following the US Fed’s decision to further tapering of $ 10 billion. The first round of tapering of an equal quantum was announced last month.The Indian currency was trading at 62.76 compared with previous close of 62.42 per dollar.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry today in a statement assured investors and market participants that the fundamentals of the economy are strong and they should not have any worries over external factors viz. fed taper. The ministry said that it will take necessary steps along with the central bank to ensure stablity in the financial markets. All sectoral indices except Consumer Durables were trading lower. Bankex was the top loser among the sectoral indices on the BSE down 2.7% followed by Metal and Realty indices among others.The NSE Bank Nifty ended down 2.7% after dropping to its lowest level since October last year. Bank shares were hit the hardest on concerns that the recent repo rate hike by RBI would hurt credit growth because of high interest rates. HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC, SBI and Axis Bank down 2-3.6% each.Profit taking was seen in index heavyweights with ITC, Reliance Industries and Infosys ended down 0.1-1.3% each.Metal shares also took a hit on the back of weak economic data from China. Manufacturing output in China during January contracted to 49.5 from December’s 50.5 and new order growth weakened, a private survey showed, indicating sluggish start for the economy in 2014. Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel and Hindalco ended over 3% lower.