Breaking its four-day rising streak, the BSE Sensex dropped about 180 points Wednesday on profit booking and forecast of below-normal monsoon this year. Despite a strong rally in global equities, Indian market failed to sustain at lifetime highs led by losses in oil and gas, telecom, metal and healthcare stocks. After swinging nearly 450 points, the 30-share Sensex settled 179.53 points, or 0.46 per cent lower at 38,877.12. The broader NSE Nifty too pared early gains and ended 69.25 points, or 0.59 per cent, down at 11,643.95. Benchmark indices gave up all the early gains and ended in red after Skymet predicted below normal monsoon for this year, said Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management. "This news comes just a day before RBI is expected to cut rates by 25 bps and adopt a pro-growth stance. However, expectation of poor rainfall and already slow economic growth alongside subdued inflation may pressurise RBI to go for a higher rate cut, thus surprising the street positively," Sharma added.
The RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is holding a three-day meeting between April 2 - 4 for the first policy statement for 2019-20. SBI was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, shedding 2.40 per cent, followed by Yes Bank, Bharti Airtel, L&T, Sun Pharma, M&M, ICICI Bank, ONGC, RIL, Asian Paints, Vedanta and HUL, which lost up to 2.37 per cent. On the other hand, Maruti, HCL Tech, HDFC, Tata Steel, PowerGrid, Hero MotoCorp and TCS ended with gains of up to 2.78 per cent. Sectorally, the BSE oil and gas, telecom, capital goods, energy and healthcare indices fell up to 2.06 per cent. Broader indices too ended in the red, with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap slipping up to 0.87 per cent. Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets, putting in Rs 543.36 crore Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold equities to the tune of Rs 437.70 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.22 per cent, Korea's Kospi rose 1.20 per cent, Japan's Nikkei ended 0.97 per cent higher and Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.24 per cent. In Europe, Frankfurt's DAX was up 1.33 per cent, Paris CAC 40 rose 0.74 per cent, while London's FTSE slipped 0.04 per cent in early deals. The benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.53 per cent to USD 69.74 per barrel. Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated 30 paise to 68.44 against the US dollar intra-day.