The Bombay Stock Exchange index Sensex fell by nearly 150 points in opening trade on selling by funds ahead of the RBI monetary policy amid weak trend on Asian bourses.
The 30-share index of the BSE that gained 191.05 points in the previous session, fell by 149.64 points, or 0.81 per cent to 18,209.05, with banking, auto, realty and IT stocks leading the fall.
In a similar fashion, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 57.25 points, or 1.03 per cent to 5,453.90 points in the first few minutes of the trade.
Brokers said besides a weakening trend on Asian bourses following overnight losses at the US market, off-loading of positions by speculators on fears that the RBI may announce a hike in key rates in its monetary policy review later on Thursday further dampened the sentiments.
Meanwhile, Key Asian indices Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei– were trading in red by 2.18 per cent and 2.09 per cent,respectively, in the morning trade on Thursday. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2.04 per cent down on Wednesday.
The benchmark Sensex should start lower on Thursday, tracking losses in their Asian peers and as investors await central bank policy announcement at noon (0630 GMT), which is expected to raise rates by a quarter percentage point.
Rate sensitive sectors such as banking, automobiles and real estate will be on the radar.
A Reuters poll this week forecast the Reserve Bank of India will probably raise key rates by a total of 75 basis points in calendar 2011, including increases in January and the expected rise on Thursday.
Japan’s worsening crisis will also keep investors cautious.
The MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was down 1.3 per cent by 0307 GMT, while Japan’s Nikkei was trading 2.1 per cent lower.
The Nifty India stock futures in Singapore were down 0.9 per cent, pointing to a lower open in the domestic market.
On Wednesday, the 30-share BSE index rose 1.1 per cent to 18,358.69 points.
STOCKS TO WATCH
* Financial services firm Reliance Capital Ltd after a senior official told Reuters it expects new premiums to grow at more than 15 per cent in the coming fiscal year and 20 per cent thereafter as it signs up clients in smaller towns and cities.
* Jyothy Laboratories Ltd after it said it has acquired about 14.9 per cent in Henkel India , a local unit of Germany’s Henkel AG, and will also bid for Henkel AG’s 50.9 per cent stake.Sensex down 150 pts on rate hike fears.
Sensex down 150 pts on rate hike fears – The Bombay Stock Exchange index Sensex fell by nearly 150 points in opening trade on selling by funds ahead of the RBI monetary policy amid