Profit booking, caution over US rate hike dent equity markets 

Mumbai, March 29 (IANS) Profit booking, unwinding of long positions ahead of derivatives expiry and caution over a likely US rate hike dragged the key equity markets lower on Tuesday.

Consequently, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) provisionally closed the day’s trade in the red. It declined by 90 points or 0.36 percent.

Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) ended in the negative territory. It dropped by 24.50 points or 0.32 percent, at 7,590.60 points.

The Sensex, which opened at 24,957.24 points, provisionally closed at 24,876.81 points (at 3.30 p.m.) — down 89.59 points or 0.36 percent from the previous day’s close at 24,966.40 points.

During the intra-day trade, the Sensex touched a high of 25,079.35 points and a low of 24,835.56 points.

The BSE market breadth favoured the bears — with 1,690 declines and 948 advances.

The barometer index had plunged by 371 points or 1.46 percent on Monday.

Initially, both the key indices of the Indian equity markets opened on a flat note, following their Asian peers. Even commodities like gold, oil and copper were at standstill at the beginning of the day’s trade.

Market observers cited that profit booking, and unwinding of long positions ahead of the derivatives expiry dented investors’ sentiments.

In addition, caution prevailed ahead of the US Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen’s speech at the Economic Club of New York later in the day.

The speech assumes significance as it can give cues on a likely US rate hike next month. Recent US economic growth data has increased chances of a rate hike.

A hike in the US interest rates is expected to lead away Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) from emerging markets such as India.

Besides, upcoming US economic data such as ADP employment report figures and non-farm payroll numbers deterred investors from chasing prices higher.

However, some value buying, positive opening of the European markets and healthy foreign funds inflow briefly supported prices and led key indices to pare their initial losses.

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