Sensex slips 93 points on possible US interest rate hike

Mumbai, March 20: A benchmark index of Indian equities markets Thursday closed 93 points down on reports of US tapering that led to selling in interest-sensitive capital goods, banks and automobile stocks.

The 30-scrip S&P Sensex (sensitive index) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) which opened at 21,797.61 points, closed at 21,740.09 points — down 92.77 points or 0.42 prcent from its previous close of 21,832.86 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 21,853.25 points and a low of 21,704.66 points in intra-day trade.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed 40.95 points or 0.63 percent down at 6,483.10 points.

Bearish sentiments prevailed in the markets as Federal Chairperson Janet Yellen said the central bank might end its bond-buying programme this fall, and start raising interest rates around six months later.

Selling pressure was observed in capital goods, banks, automobile, metal and realty stocks. However, information technology (IT), technology, entertainment and media (TECk) and healthcare scrips gained.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE capital goods index was down 225.15 points, followed by bank index which fell by 188.74 points, automobile index was lower 133.14 points, metal index declined by 109.67 points down and realty index last 30.61 points.

However, the S&P BSE IT index was up 146.48 points, while the TECk index gained by 59.24 points and the healthcare index moved higher 17.43 points.

The major Sensex gainers were: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 3.28 percent at Rs.2,107.90; Hindustan Unilever, up 2.01 percent at Rs.572.85; Wipro, up 1.09 percent at Rs.550.95; Infosys, up 0.96 percent at Rs.3,303; and Sun Pharma, up 0.91 percent at Rs.590.30.

The losers were: BHEL, down 2.74 percent at Rs.184.55; Gail India, down 2.67 percent at Rs.350.50; HDFC, down 2.12 percent at Rs.848.10; Larsen and Toubro (L&T), down 2.12 percent at Rs.1,220.25; and Axis Bank, down 2.11 percent at Rs.1,356.85.

IANS