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Late sell-off drags Sensex into red; banking stocks worst hit


Mumbai: The Sensex today rose over 350 points in early trade after a dovish Fed stance cooled expectations of an early US rate hike but the benchmark ended with over 152-point loss on a late sell-off in banking, capital goods and oil & gas bluechips.

Shares of Axis Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank, BHEL, RIL and ITC saw moderate to sharp losses, leading to the BSE index falling for the second straight session.

In Asia, barring Japan, country-specific indices in all major markets rose in a relief rally as the Federal Reserve , after a closely watched two-day meeting issued a statement that had removed a pledge to remain “patient” on raising rates, signaling a possible mid-year rate increase.

However, Fed chief Janet Yellen emphasised that while jobs were picking up the economy was more muted than 3 months ago, adding that consumer spending slipped and inflation slowed.

The 30-share Sensex had risen to a day’s high of 28,978.74 in early trade and remained in the green for a major part of the session amid a firming global cues.

However, a late sell-off by participants dragged down the Sensex to touch the day’s low of 28,411.70 points. It closed with a loss of 152.45 points, or 0.53 per cent, at 28,469.67. The gauge lost 114.26 points yesterday in a volatile trade.

“Despite positive global cues, equity benchmarks concluded the session with a cut. They failed to capitalise the initial push, which was triggered in response to the US Fed’s balanced statement on interest rate hike,” said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities.

The 50-share NSE Nifty ended with a loss of 51.25 points, or 0.59 per cent, to settle at 8,634.65 after touching the day’s high of 8,788.20 and a low of 8,614.65.

Sectorwise, the BSE Banking index suffered the most by losing 1.76 per cent, followed by Realty (1.50 per cent), Capital Goods (1 per cent), Oil & Gas (0.68 per cent), FMCG (0.64 per cent) and Power (0.52 per cent).

Meanwhile, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 457.43 crore yesterday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges.

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