Sensex Slumps Over 400 Points, Nifty Near 11,600 As RIL, HDFC Twins Drag
Domestic stock markets extended losses after heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, HDFC, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank came under selling pressure. The S&P BSE Sensex fell as much as 440 points to 38,700, and the NSE Nifty plunged 143 to 11,609 from its previous close. Selling in energy and banking stocks dragged the indexes lower, however some buying interest was seen in information technology shares.
At 2:51 pm, the Sensex traded 399 points lower at 38,741 while the Nifty was down 137 points at 11,616.
Top laggards on the 50-scrip benchmark index at the time were Bharat Petroleum, Yes Bank, Indian Oil, Indiabulls Housing Finance, trading with losses of between 3.20 per cent and 4.67 per cent.
Reliance Industries, HDFC and ICICI Bank were the top drags on the S&P BSE Sensex.
Analysts say some consolidation can be expected in the markets in the near term.
"After a period of significant momentum ahead of the general elections, the market may take a pause in some kind of an interim profit booking," said Joseph Thomas, head research, Emkay Wealth Management.
Shares in Jet Airways plunged as much as 23.17 per cent on the NSE, touching their lowest in a decade.
On the other hand, information technology stocks spiked, with the Nifty IT index rising as much as 0.65 per cent in intraday trade as the rupee depreciated. Weakness in the rupee boosts the profitability of exporters such as IT companies.
The rupee weakened by as much as 47 paise to 69.82 against the dollar during the session on rising crude oil prices.
Brent futures - the international benchmark for crude oil - rallied to a five-month high, after the Washington Post said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce "that as of May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is currently importing Iranian crude or condensate". Brent crude rose 1.7 per cent to $73.24 per barrel - the highest since November 7, 2018.
"There is a high probability of crude going up to between 75 and 80 dollars a barrel, which will be negative for the Indian economy and markets as it puts pressure on the rupee as well," said Rusmik Oza, senior vice-president and head of fundamental research at Kotak Securities.
Last week, HDFC Bank reported a record quarterly net profit of Rs 5,885 crore for the quarter ended March 31, meeting market expectations.
Reliance Industries reported a record net profit of Rs 10,362 crore for the fourth quarter of financial year 2018-19, higher than Street expectations.
Equities in other Asian markets were subdued as investors awaited the resumption of trading in major centres from the Good Friday holiday, and took stock of recent data suggesting global growth may be stabilising.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan little changed in early deals. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.3 per cent, South Korea's KOSPI edged up 0.1 percent and Japan's Nikkei added 0.15 per cent.
(With agency inputs)
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