Markets wobble on US Fed fears
Equities remained wobbly at the start of the week — weighed down by the upcoming meeting of the US Federal Reserve that may lead to a hike in the interest rate by half a percentage point to counter the inflation threat.
The benchmark Sensex crashed more than 648 points in intra-day trades but recovered a large part of its losses following encouraging domestic macro-economic data that included all-time high GST collections and a strong manufacturing PMI.
The sentiment remains soft ahead of the two-day meeting of the US Fed commencing on May 3 that may go for an aggressive hike in the federal funds rate. In March, the US central bank had hiked the interest rate by 25 basis points, but recently Fed chair Jerome Powell indicated it may be raised by 50 basis points.
Market circles said lacklustre corporate earnings coupled to continued portfolio outflows also put stocks under pressure. The BSE Sensex opened weak at 56429.45 and hit an intra-day low of 56412.62 on weak global cues.
The Sensex recouped most of its losses to end 84.88 points or 0.15 per cent lower at 56975.99. The broader Nifty 50 declined 33.45 points or 0.20 per cent on the NSE to close at 17069.10.
“The recent hawkish turn by Fed has made investors extra cautious ahead of the upcoming meeting triggering high volatility,” Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services, said.
“On the other hand, domestic numbers such as GST collection, auto sales numbers and manufacturing PMI for the month of April gave a sense of an improving economic outlook,” Nair said.
In the broader market, the BSE small-cap index declined 0.87 per cent, while the mid-cap index fell 0.47 per cent. In the forex markets, the rupee closed at 76.51 to the dollar a fall of nine paise against its previous close, after paring initial gains.