Profit booking, US rate hike fear subdue equity markets

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Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) Profit booking, coupled with heightened chances of a US rate hike and a weak rupee dragged the Indian equity markets lower on Monday.

Consequently, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) provisionally closed the day’s trade deep in the red. It plunged by 334 points or 1.32 percent.

Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) receded into the negative territory. It declined by 85.05 points or 1.10 percent, at 7,631.45 points.

The Sensex, which opened at 25,417.11 points, provisionally closed at 25,003.23 points (at 3.30 p.m.) — down 334.33 points or 1.32 percent from the previous day’s close at 25,337.56 points.

During the intra-day trade, the Sensex touched a high of 25,432.94 points and a low of 24,895.49 points.

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The BSE market breadth favoured the bears — with 1,923 declines and 764 advances.

The barometer index had closed the last trade session flat on March 23.

The Indian equity markets were closed from March 24-25, on account of Holi and Good Friday.

On Monday’s trade, market analysts pointed out that profit booking dragged the equity markets lower.

In addition, investors were hesitant to chase prices due to the heightened chances of a US rate hike next month. Recent US economic growth data have increased chances of a rate hike.

A hike in the US interest rates is expected to lead away Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) from emerging markets such as India.

Besides, a weak rupee and unwinding of long positions ahead of the derivatives expiry and the financial year end dampened sentiments.

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The rupee opened at 66.85-86 to a US dollar from its previous close of 66.62-63 to a greenback.

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