Sensex ends flat; Rupee falls to a record low of 68.80

After tanking substantially in the early trade, a benchmark index of Indian equities markets Wednesday closed flat, even as the rupee fell to a record low of 68.80, spooking foreign investors.

After tanking substantially in the early trade, a benchmark index of Indian equities markets Wednesday closed flat, even as the rupee fell to a record low of 68.80, spooking foreign investors.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,851.44 points, closed at 17,996.15 points, 28.07 points or 0.16 percent up from the previous day’s close at 17,968.08 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 18,101.84 points and a low of 17,448.71 points during the early trade.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed the Wednesday’s trade 2.45 points or 0.05 percent down at 5,285 points.

“The market remained choppy on the back of weakness in world markets and sustained weakness in domestic currency,” said Shrikant Chouhan, head, technical research, Kotak Securities.

“The currency fall was mainly because of substantial rise in Brent Crude price and Gold. It will again affect our CAD and thereby the core economy.” 

High month-end demand from oil importers and private requirements of dollar pushed the partially-convertible Indian rupee to a new record low of 68.80 against the dollar, even after the central bank’s intervention. 

The slump at the inter-bank foreign exchange market here surpassed the previous low of 66.25 recorded Tuesday.

The rupee closed Wednesday at 68.80 — a depreciation of 3.8 percent from its Tuesday’s close of 66.25 against the dollar.

The sharp volatility in the market comes a day after it tanked around 600 points, amidst heavy selling by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), showing their lack of interest in a weak Indian economy. 

Concerns have been raised over the widening of the fiscal deficit as the lower house of parliament Monday passed the National Food Security Bill, whose implementation will cost nearly Rs.1.3 lakh crore ($20 billion).

Lack of confidence in the Indian economy has also undermined the rupee’s value. There are concerns over the soon to be released first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers which are expected to be below expectations.

Escalation in tensions in Syria with a possible US intervention and, thereafter, the fallout on the oil prices is also a major concern.

Heavy selling pressure was observed in consumer durables, banking, public sector undertakings (PSUs), oil and gas and capital goods sectors. 

While some positive buying was observed in information technology (IT), metal, healthcare, technology, media and entertainment (TECK) and automobile sectors.

The S&P BSE consumer durables index plunged 166.52 points, banking index plummeted 129.36 points, PSU dropped 111.58 points, oil and gas index fell by 88.84 points and capital goods index slipped 37.13 points. 

However, IT index surged 204.78 points, metal index was up 142.92 points, healthcare up 99.89 points, TECk index up 76.12 points and automobile index went up by 8.98 points.

The major Sensex gainers were: Jindal Steel, up 3.69 percent at Rs.238.55; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 3.68 percent at Rs.1,904.60, Wipro gained 3.63 percent at 471.40, Tata Power, up 3.29 percent at Rs.77 and Hindalco Inds, up 2.92 percent at Rs.102.15.

The main losers were: ONGC, down 5.98 percent at Rs.243.75; HDFC, down 4.77 percent at Rs.654.10; Gail India, down 3.45 percent at Rs.282.95; Coal India, down 2.29 percent at Rs.254.15; and Bharti Airtel, down 2.21 percent at Rs.287.75.

Among the Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei closed 1.51 percent down while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng went down by 1.60 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index was lower by 0.11 percent. 

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was trading 0.48 percent down, while Germany’s DAX Index was lower 1.12 percent. However, the French CAC 40 Index was lower by 0.27 percent. 


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