Domestic equity benchmarks retreated for the second straight session on Thursday, mirroring weakness in global markets after the US Federal Reserve surprised investors by signalling faster-than-expected rate hikes.
A sharp drop in the rupee - which plunged 76 paise against the US dollar - also sapped risk appetite, traders said.
The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 178.65 points or 0.34 per cent lower at 52,323.33. The broader NSE Nifty declined 76.15 points or 0.48 per cent to 15,691.40.
Banking and finance stocks accounted for most of the losses, while the IT pack saw brisk buying, fuelled by a weak rupee.
IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding 2.91 per cent, followed by Dr Reddy’s, NTPC, Maruti, Bajaj Auto, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel and HDFC.
On the other hand, UltraTech Cement, Asian Paints, TCS, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and HCL Tech were among the major gainers, spurting up to 1.86 per cent.
“Domestic equities traded weak today on account of weak global cues led from the FOMC meeting outcome as investors focused more on the US Federal Reserve raising the country’s economic growth forecast while noting its projection to hike interest rates sooner than expected.
“The Fed raised the US growth forecast to 7 per cent this year, while officials moved their first projected rate increases from 2024 into 2023 and opened talks about when to pull back on the USD 120 billion in monthly bond purchase program,” said Vikas Jain, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities.
Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said a fast normalisation of the US economy and strong job market can lead to the Fed tapering its bond buying.
“This can lead to tightening of bonds yields which will impact the pricing of equity asset,” he added.
Sectorally, BSE power, metal, realty, industrials and utilities indices ended up to 2.38 per cent lower, while IT, teck and FMCG indices closed with gains. Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices fell up to 1.29 per cent.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Hong Kong ended on a positive note, while Seoul and Tokyo were in the red.
Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with losses in mid-session deals.