Sensex tanks 184 pts on earnings pain, Fed stance

Mumbai: Disappointing corporate earnings weighed on equities for the second straight session today, sending benchmark Sensex tumbling 184 points to a two-week closing low of 28,155, while hawkish comments from US Fed chair Janet Yellen heightened capital outflow fears.

Auto, realty and pharma counters took a big hit. Profit- booking by retail investors dragged small-cap and mid-cap indices lower by 1.52 per cent and 1.16 per cent, respectively.

On the global front, concerns of capital outflows from emerging economies, including India, intensified after Yellen said the Fed will probably need to raise interest rates at its upcoming meet in March.

After opening lower, the BSE Sensex bounced back briefly to hit a high of 28,382.32 on rebound in select stocks.

The gauge finally settled 183.75 points or 0.65 per cent lower at 28,155.56, its lowest closing since February 1 when it had ended at 28,141.64.

It had shed 12.31 points in the previous session.

The NSE Nifty ended 67.60 points or 0.77 per cent down at 8,724.70. Intra-day, it moved between 8,712.85 and 8,807.90.

“Markets traded with losses as worries heightened over capital outflows from emerging economies, including India, after Yellen spoke in support of an interest rate hike next month,” said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager – Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 6.45 crore yesterday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges.

Tata Motors was the worst performer on the Sensex, plummeting 10.32 per cent to Rs 436.55 after the company yesterday reported a steep 96.22 per cent decline in consolidated net profit for the December quarter.

Sun Pharma too lost 4.25 per cent to Rs 622.50 on sustained selling after the company posted a 4.72 per cent decline in consolidated net profit for the third quarter of 2016-17.

Other Asian markets ended higher, tracking another record closing at the US stock markets.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led the pack by rising 1.23 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 1 per cent. Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.15 per cent.

Europe too was higher in early trading, with London’s FTSE climbing 0.4 per cent and Paris 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt gaining.