Future US rate hike, sliding rupee subdue markets

Mumbai, Jan 28 (IANS) Caution over the upcoming domestic monetary policy review, coupled with continuous slide in rupee value and indications of a future rate hike in the US depressed the Indian equity markets on Thursday.

This led to a barometer index of the Indian equity markets to provisionally end the day’s trade on a flat-to-negative note during a volatile trade session.
The session saw the headline indices trade in a very narrow range, as gains made on account of positive international sentiments were erased by caution over the sliding value of rupee and the upcoming Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary policy review.
Initially, both the Indian bellwether indices opened on a flat note, ignoring positive cues from their Asian peers, firm crude oil prices and the US Fed’s decision to maintain status quo in interest rates.
However, the markets moved upwards on hopes that the RBI might opt for an interest rate cut given that the US Fed maintained its status quo on key lending rates, soothing investors’ nerves.
During its FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meet, the US Fed gave a bearish outlook on global markets and cautioned against future financial shocks.
The upward movement was eventually halted by low volumes and continous selling by foreign investors.
In addition, slide in rupee’s value unnerved investors and dipped indices. The rupee remained above the 68-level against the US dollar during intra-day trade.
The weakness in the rupee value indicates the massive outflow of foreign funds from the Indian equity and debt markets.
On Wednesday, the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers. According to data with stock exchanges, FIIs divested Rs.367 crore.
The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) closed flat — lower by just 23 points, or 0.09 percent.
Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) ended the day’s trade flat. It inched-down by 14 points, or 0.19 percent, at 7,423.80 points.
The S&P BSE Sensex, which opened at 24,481.86 points, provisionally closed at 24,469.57 points (at 3.30 p.m.) – down 22.82 points or 0.09 percent from the previous day’s close at 24,492.39 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 24,587.20 points and a low of 24,400.52 points during the intra-day trade.
The S&P BSE market breadth was flat, though it marginally favoured the bears — with 1,307 declines and 1,243 advances.
Likewise, Sensex closed the previous session on January 27 flat, up by just 6.44 points, or 0.03 percent, while the Nifty inched up by only two points or 0.02 percent.