Sensex slumps to 3-week low on earnings worries

Market benchmark Sensex tumbled to a three-week low of 24,685.42 after shedding 215 points today as investors pursued asset-light strategy on muted expectation of fourth quarter results amid bearish overseas cues on Federal Reserve highlighting the risks facing the global economy.

Besides, the NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,600-mark. “The market is losing traction despite the FOMC minutes reaffirming a cautious stance on future US rate hikes as foreign economies and their financial markets are fragile,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit BNP Paribas.

Foreign investors turned neutral and started selling in small quantities led by muted expectations of fourth quarter results, he added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the rupee does not face any “serious challenge” of depreciation and will find its own level after initial bouts of volatility.

Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki slipped 3.44 per cent owing to Japanese Yen’s strength against the greenback, that is likely put pressure on the firm’s margins.

Power equipment maker BHEL rose by nearly 5 per cent after the company commissioned an all-time high power generation capacity of over 15,000 MW and booked new orders worth Rs 43,727 crore in 2015-16, the largest in five years.

Broader markets too saw profit-booking, dragging the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices down by up to 0.45 per cent.

The Sensex resumed higher at 24,998.79 and hovered in a range 25,013.13 to 24,647.48 before ending at 24,685.42, showing a loss of 215.21 points or 0.86 per cent, its weakest closing since March 17. The NSE 50-share Nifty fell by 67.90 points or 0.89 per cent to close at 7,546.45.

Shares of Nagarjuna Oil Refinery surged 20 per cent today as state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is looking at buying equity stake in Nagarjuna Group’s Cuddalore refinery. Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth Rs 493.56 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.

In overseas markets, Asia witnessed a mixed trend. Key indices in China and Taiwan fell by 0.27 per cent and 1.38 per cent while those in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea firmed up between 0.08 per cent and 0.29 per cent.

European stocks were trading narrowly mixed with indices, like France falling by 0.07 per cent, while Germany’s DAX and the UK’s FTSE were trading higher by 0.01 per cent to 0.11 per cent.