Cautionary sentiments in global markets and mixed result announcements by Indian heavyweights led investors to withdraw to the sidelines during the previous hour. Heavy profit booking in engineering, power and financial stocks led the near 350 points slide in the benchmark BSE Sensex. Select stocks in FMCG, pharma and auto stocks, however, managed to retain investor interest.
The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty are trading in the red, down by 370 points and 120 points respectively. Midcap and smallcap stocks are also trading in the negative, down by 2% each. The rupee is trading at 45.99 to the dollar.
Crude oil prices have seen a negative trend today ahead of the release of a widely monitored US energy reserves report. Crude prices have been under pressure after the Chinese banking regulator yesterday commented that China would rein in credit after explosive growth last year. Thus as the world's most populous nation moves to cool its economy, the expected monetary tightening and stimuli wind up is not going well with investors. China’s moves in this direction are closely watched as the country is the largest consumer of imported commodities ranging from copper to crude oil.
After India’s chief statistician yesterday outlined inflation being the prime risk for the economy, here is some relieving news. Food inflation softened to 16.8% for the week ended January 9, 2010. According to the government data, while the prices of vegetables rose by 7.9% and that of fruits by 3.8%, milk prices soared by 13.9% YoY. Controlling higher food inflation has been on the government’s and the central bank’s agenda for a while now and the near term action on interest rates and monetary policy is expected to be guided by this concern. Having said that, the necessity of stimulus withdrawal is no less pertinent in India than in China to avoid bubble-like situations. HDFC and ICICI Bank are the key losers in the financial sector currently.