Markets pause 8-day rally; all eyes on US Fed interest rate decision

Mumbai: Benchmark indices ended lower on Wednesday, halting their eight days of rally, ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision and mixed global market trends.

Robust equity buying by foreign institutional investors failed to stop the downward movement as fall in index heavyweights Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Larsen & Toubro weakened the overall sentiment.

The 30-share BSE Sensex declined 161.41 points or 0.26 per cent to settle at 61,193.30. During the day, it tumbled 330.27 points or 0.53 per cent to 61,024.44.

“Renewed concerns over the US regional banking turmoil, uncertainty regarding the Fed’s policy outcome, and the need to increase the US treasury debt borrowing limit triggered a bearish attack on Wall Street. Despite this, the robust growth of India’s services and manufacturing sectors in April and the strong inflow of foreign funds helped minimise the losses in the domestic market,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

India’s services sector growth accelerated in April, as strong demand conditions resulted in the fastest increase in new business and output in close to 13 years, a monthly survey said on Wednesday.

From the Sensex firms, Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra, Axis Bank, Bajaj Finance, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Consultancy Services, State Bank of India, Reliance Industries, Wipro, Infosys, HCL Technologies, IndusInd Bank and Tata Steel were the major laggards.

Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints, Tata Motors, UltraTech Cement, ITC and Nestle were among the gainers.

In the broader market, the BSE midcap gauge climbed 0.35 per cent and smallcap index gained 0.20 per cent.

Among indices, telecommunication fell by 1.28 per cent, teck (0.95 per cent), IT (0.86 per cent), oil & gas (0.80 per cent), power (0.20 per cent) and bankex (0.14 per cent).

FMCG, realty, consumer discretionary and industrials were among the gainers.

“Markets lost steam after eight sessions of gains as select profit-taking in banking, metal and IT stocks ahead of the US Fed’s rate setting meeting fuelled caution amongst the investors,” said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities Ltd.

In Asian markets, Seoul and Hong Kong ended lower, while Shanghai settled in the green.

European equity markets were trading mostly with gains. The US markets had ended lower on Tuesday.

Rallying for the eighth straight day, the BSE benchmark had climbed 242.27 points or 0.40 per cent to settle at 61,354.71 on Tuesday. The Nifty went up 82.65 points or 0.46 per cent to finish at 18,147.65.

Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude declined 2.08 per cent to USD 73.75 per barrel.

Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net buyers on Wednesday as they bought equities worth Rs 1,338 crore, according to exchange data.