Indian equity benchmarks plunged on Tuesday, taking cues from a steep fall in Wall Street stocks after solid US data again showed the Federal Reserve would continue raising interest rates aggressively for a longer period.
The 30-share BSE Sensex index plunged 305.58 points to 62,529.02, and the broader NSE Nifty-50 index opened deep in the red, mirroring the fall in other major Asian indices.
The Sensex pack’s biggest laggards included HCL Technologies, Tata Steel, Infosys, Dr. Reddy’s, Tata Consultancy Services, Sun Pharma, Nestle, and Bharti Airtel.
Among the winners were IndusInd Bank, Hindustan Unilever, NTPC, Bajaj Finance, and Bajaj Finserv.
“Indian equities are likely to decline in early Tuesday trades on the back of an overnight slump in US markets and subsequent weakness in Asian indices,” said Prashanth Tapse, Senior Vice President for Research at Mehta Equities.
“Last Friday’s hotter-than-expected US jobs report added to concerns that the Fed might need to be even more aggressive in its battle against inflation, despite concerns about a looming recession,” he added.
Markets will eye the Reserve Bank of India’s decision on Wednesday, with interest rates expected to rise by a more modest 35 basis points to 6.25 per cent.
Asian markets fell from three-month highs, and the dollar maintained gains as new indications of a robust US economy raised expectations that interest rates would increase for an extended period.
While investors continued to hold out optimism that China’s economy would improve with the relaxation of the nation’s zero-COVID policy, analysts noted that markets had already priced in much of the positive news.
The activity in the US services sector surprisingly rose in November, and employment jumped. That report came on the heels of a strong November payrolls report and was the most recent indicator of economic momentum that could encourage the Fed to tighten policy aggressively.
“The black swan in the room is the risk of the Fed being too late again, but this time in cutting rates,” Havard Chi, Head of Research at Hedge Fund Quarz Capital Asia, told Reuters.
“Monetary policy works with a lag, and key spot indicators such as falling housing prices, rental rates, commodities, and freight pricing, as well as rising layoffs and inventories, are already signalling a weakening US economy,” added the Research head.
The Nasdaq Composite declined nearly 2 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 1.8 per cent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.4 per cent on Monday. Futures now point to a lower on Wall Street on Tuesday.
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