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Sensex slips under rate hike fears, Middle East tensions

Posted by on February 26, 2011 0 Comment

Mumbai, Feb 26 (IANS) It was a bad week for Indian equities markets with investors choosing to offload stocks as another round of monetary tightening by the country’s central bank loomed and oil prices rose as tensions in the Middle East and Libya continued.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) ended the week at 17,700.91 points, down 2.8 percent or 510.61 points from the previous week’s close of 18,211.52 points.

The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange ended the week at 5,303.55 points, down 155.4 points or 2.84 percent from the previous week close of 5,458.95 points.

Broader markets saw more losses, with the BSE midcap index falling 4.63 percent and the BSE smallcap index slipping 4.18 percent.

According to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth $432.79 million during the week.

Food inflation moved up to 11.49 percent for the week ended Feb 12 as compared with 11.05 percent in the previous week. The barometer for measuring food prices has remained in high double-digit for most part of current fiscal.

The annual inflation based on wholesale prices stood at 8.23 percent in January. Even the annual review of the economy – the Economic Survey – released Friday cautioned against high inflation and advocated hiking interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India.

The recent spike in crude oil price has further complicated the situation for the economic policy makers in India. Crude oil price surged to $112 a barrel (159 litres) Friday on concerns that political unrest in the Middle East will create supply shortages.

On a weekly basis, there were only three gainers on the 30-scrip Sensex: Hindustan Unilever, up 1.7 percent at Rs.279.50; Reliance Industries, up 1.1 percent at Rs.965.95; and TCS, up 0.2 percent at Rs.1,111.20.

Losers on the benchmark index included Reliance Communications, down 13.2 percent at Rs.87.55; Tata Motors, down 11.6 percent at Rs.1,105.10; Jaiprakash Associates, down 11.4 percent at Rs.79.80; and M&M, down 11.4 percent at Rs.595.10.

Global markets too were not spared as the political turmoil in Libya and prospects of agitation spreading to more countries in the Arab world sent traders on a selling spree.

Economists warned that if oil prices rise above $120 a barrel and continued to hover around that level for some time, the economic recovery seen in many countries after the global meltdown could get derailed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2.47 percent lower during the week to end at 23,012.37 points, while a benchmark of Chinese markets, Shanghai Composite index, moved 0.73 percent lower to close at 2,878.57 points.

The Japanese Nikkei ended 2.91 percent lower at 10,526.76 points compared to last Friday’s close.

Among the European markets, the UK’s FTSE 100 advanced ended 1.34 percent down at 6,001.20, the French CAC 40 fell 2.09 percent at 4,070.38 points and its the German peer ended the week 3.25 percent lower.

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