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Sensex, Nifty Edge Lower After RBI Holds Rates Steady; Banks Worst Hit

Metal, media and auto stocks witnessed buying interest.

The Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Friday on account of profit booking in banking shares after the Reserve Bank of India held key interest rates steady at record lows as widely expected and maintained it accommodative stance to revive the country’s economic growth. The Sensex fell as much as 157 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday low of 15,622.35. HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India were among the top drags on the Sensex.

The Sensex slipped 132 points to close at 52,100 and Nifty 50 index declined 20 points to settle at 15,670.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) held the repo rate, its key lending rate, at 4 per cent and kept the reverse repo rate, the borrowing rate, unchanged at 3.35 per cent.

Analysts said there were no major surprises to lift the markets higher even though the central bank assured ample liquidity.

“The cause of concern for investors now is inflation which seems to outweigh the benefits of cheaper credit,” said Gaurav Garg, head of Research at CapitalVia Global Research.

“Inflation and the pandemic are expected to impact the real income and purchasing power of end users, thereby impacting the first-quarter numbers. This will cause markets to consolidate here for a while or take a correction.”

Rate sensitive banking, real estate and financial services shares were among the worst hit in the session as investors resorted selling after RBI’s policy decision.

Six of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended higher led by the Nifty Bank index’s 1 per cent decline. Nifty Private Bank, realty, financial services indices also ended lower.

On the other hand, metal, media and auto stocks witnessed buying interest.

Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.75 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.4 per cent.

Among the individual shares, Bharat Forge rose as much as 7.63 per cent to hit record high of Rs 749 after it reported March quarter earnings. The Pune-based auto parts maker reported consolidated net profit of Rs 212 crore compared with loss of Rs 68.59 crore in the same quarter last year and loss of Rs 210 crore in December quarter. Its revenue from operations rose 20 per cent to Rs 2,082.84 crore from Rs 1,741.92 crore in the same period a year ago.


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