Sensex plummets 286 pts after RBI keeps rates unchanged

Mumbai: Reserve Bank maintaining status quo on monetary policy failed to cheer investors as the benchmark BSE Sensex plunged by 285.83 points to 24,539 today, while global cues were also bearish on fresh slide in crude oil prices.

RBI, which had cut interest rate by 125 basis points or 1.25 per cent in 2015, retained the benchmark repo rate at 6.75 per cent.

The central bank governor Raghuram Rajan also pegged the growth rate for the current fiscal at 7.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, rupee weakening by 14 paise to 67.98 during the day against the dollar also weighed on the domestic equities.

Asian and European shares took a plunge as renewed concerns over health of the global economy led to a sharp drop in oil prices.

The BSE Sensex took off on a positive note at 24,868.21 and advanced to the day’s high of 24,928.75 after RBI left the key interest rate unchanged in 6th bimonthly policy review.

Higher levels could not be sustained as participants locked in gains amid a weak opening in Europe. The index finally settled 285.83 points or 1.15 per cent down at 24,539 after hitting a low of 24,460.53.

The NSE Nifty broke below the 7,500-mark by tumbling 100.40 points or 1.33 per cent to 7,455.55. Intra-day, it shuttled between 7,576.30 and 7,428.05.

Out of the 30-share Sensex pack, 25 ended lower.

Prominent losers were Tata Steel, NTPC, BHEL, Cipla, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Coal India, RIL, ICICI Bank, Adani Ports, Tata Motors, Axis Bank, SBI, M&M, Maruti Suzuki and GAIL India.

Bucking the trend, shares of Bajaj Auto gained 1.48 per cent to Rs 2,362.55 after the company reported 1.78 per cent growth in total sales in January. Bharti Airtel and Infosys also ended in positive terrain.

Sector-wise, the BSE metal index suffered the most by plunging 4.33 per cent followed by oil&gas (2.59 pc), infra (2.50 pc), healthcare (2.46 pc), PSU (2.45 pc), power (2.42 pc), realty (1.71 pc), banking (1.68 pc) and auto (1.39 pc).

In the broader markets, the BSE mid-cap index fell by 1.74 per cent and the small-cap shed 1.25 per cent.

Other Asian markets closed mixed after oil resumed its sell-off amid signs that China’s economy is deteriorating.

China’s Shanghai Index jumped 2.26 per cent after its apex bank pumped in fresh liquidity, but Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.64 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.76 per cent. Europe was also lower in its early trade.