Markets End Record Run After RBI Raises Repo Rate

The domestic stock market indices closed Wednesday’s session on a negative note after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised interest rates for the second straight meeting today. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 84.96 points, or 0.23 per cent, to close at 37,521.62. The NSE’s Nifty50 index tripped 10.30 points or 0.09 per cent and settled at 11,346.20. The loss in equity indices were pulled down by financial and auto stocks. In early trade today, the 30-share BSE Sensex had rallied to a fresh lifetime high of 37,711.87 which later staged a bounce-back. The gauge had gained 1255.35 points, or 3.5 per cent, in past 8 days. The broader Nifty50 hit a lifetime high of 11,390.55 in morning trade today

Top laggards on the BSE index in closing trade today were HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, Tata Steel, Maruti and ICICI Bank, ending with losses between 1.24 per cent and 1.84 per cent. HDFC Bank, HDFC and ICICI Bank contributed to the Sensex’s losses. Main losers on NSE index were ICICI Bank, Hindalco, Maruti, Vedanta and Tata Steel, ending with losses between 1.70 per cent and 2.53 per cent.

Major gainers in the Sensex pack were Coal India, TCS, ITC, Sun Pharma, Power Grid and ONGC, rising between 0.73 per cent to 3.19 per cent. While Coal India, Infratel, IOC, Lupin and Dr Reddy’s (rising between 2.22 per cent to 3.60 per cent) led the pack of Nifty gainers.

The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.50 per cent. It is the first time since October 2013 that the rate has been increased at consecutive policy meetings.

“RBI’s monetary policy committee (MPC) decided to increase policy interest rates by 0.25% in their bi-monthly meeting today (Aug 1, 2018). The policy stance has been retained as “neutral”. The decision to hike rates has, quite clearly, been driven by the persistent increase in headline and core inflation that we have witnessed in the last couple of months. Significantly though, the policy stance has been maintained as “neutral”. Further the accompanying statement also talks about the cushioning effect of weaker commodity prices on inflation. This should provide sufficient succor to the markets that we are unlikely to witness runaway inflation and therefore persistent rate increases can be effectively ruled out”, said Dheeraj Singh, Head of Investments & Fund Manager, Fixed Income, Taurus Mutual Fund.

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According to Viral Berawala, CIO, Essel Mutual Fund, “Financial stocks are reacting negatively to the 25 bps rate hike announced by the MPC today. Also, some of the auto stocks are down post the monthly numbers of July.”

Bond markets took comfort from the less-hawkish statement with bond yields easing sharply from the day’s high, while the rupee trimmed gains today. The 10-year benchmark bond yield dropped to 7.74 per cent, after briefly rising to 7.84 per cent soon after the RBI decision. In the previous session, it ended at 7.77 per cent, reported news agency Reuters.

Shares of Housing Development Finance Corp were the biggest drag on the NSE index, closing down 1.18 per cent, while Maruti Suzuki Ltd was the top loser among the auto companies, ending 2.03 per cent lower.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net of Rs 572.21 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold equities to the tune of Rs 290.87 crore on Tuesday, provisional data showed. (With Agencies inputs)

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