RBI's "hawkish" stance makes markets jittery, Sensex down 160 points

The banking sector index suffered the most by losing 2.40 percent as ICICI Bank, SBI, HDFC Bank and suffered losses in the range of 1-4 percent.

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday slumped by 160 points to close at 19,575.64 points on profit selling in rate-sensitive stocks led by ICICI Bank and Tata Motors, as RBI adopted a "hawkish" stance in its monetary policy 2013-14 overshadowing its 0.25 percent cut in repo rate.

Stocks remained under pressure throughout the day as the 0.25 percentage point rate cut was already factored in and hence profit-booking emerged at higher levels after three days of rally, brokers said.

"While RBI did cut policy rates by 25 basis points as expected, it has adopted an unexpectedly hawkish stance despite mounting evidence for easing inflation going ahead and still soft economic activity," Motilal Oswal Financial Services CMD Motilal Oswal said.

The banking sector index suffered the most by losing 2.40 percent as ICICI Bank, SBI, HDFC Bank and suffered losses in the range of 1-4 percent. ICICI Bank and SBI at 3.57 percent and 3.60 percent respectively were among the biggest losers.

The RBI in its annual monetary policy said upside risks to inflation in the near term are still significant and monetary policy cannot afford to lower its guard against the possibility of resurgence of inflation pressures, dashing investor hopes of further softening of rates.

Also fanning fresh concerns over growth, RBI projected 5.7 percent expansion rate for current fiscal against government estimate of 6.1-6.7 percent.

"In our view, Inflation is clearly on a downward trajectory ... The stance of the monetary policy was a bit more hawkish," Dinesh Thakkar, CMD, Angel Broking said.

"It seems unlikely that any material monetary transmission would take place on account of the repo cut," Brokerage India Infoline said.

The BSE 30-share barometer resumed lower and moved in negative terrain most of the day in a volatile trade.

Gains in Infosys, Sterlite, Hindalco, RIL , Sun Pharma and L&T, saved the market from bigger fall.

The Sensex settled at 19,575.64, a fall of 160.13 or 0.81 percent. In last three days, it gained 449.05 points or 2.32 percent.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 55.35 points, or 0.92 percent to 5,944 points after touching a low of 5,930.15 points.

The auto sector was the second worst performer by losing 1.50 percent as stocks of Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp fell in the range of 2 percent to 3.76 percent. Tata Motors with losses of 3.76 percent was the biggest loser among 30 Sensex stocks.

The realty sector index fell by 1.39 percent, and consumer durable index by 1.06 percent. In 30-BSE index components, 18 stocks declined led by GAIL India, Cipla, ITC, ONGC and TCS.

"The market was also hoping for a CRR cut which didn't come through. Weak deposit mobilisation and lower government spending continue to pressurise system liquidity in a modest credit growth environment," India Infoline said in a note.

Among other losers, Gail India fell by 2.99 percent, Bajaj Auto by 2.56 percent, Cipla by 1.86 percent, ONGC by 1.55 percent and HDFC by 1.06 percent.

However, Hindalco Ind rose by 2.30 percent, Tata Steel by 2.22 percent, Sun Pharma by 1.84 percent and Infosys by 0.91 percent.

Foreign institutional investors bought shares worth a net Rs 1,429.94 crores yesterday, as per provisional data.

Most Asian stocks ended higher for the first time in three days today as Macquarie Group reported higher earnings and investors awaited the release of US job data.

Key benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea rose by 0.08 to 1.44 percent while indices in Japan and Singapore fell by 0.76 to 0.95 percent.

European stocks were slightly higher in thier early trade ahead of US non-farm payroll data due later, amid hopes the data will show jobs growth. Key indices in UK and Germany inched up by 0.05 percent to 0.08 percent while France CAC was quoted down by 0.16 percent.

The market breadth turned negative as 1,339 stocks ended lower while 1,027 stocks finished higher while 137 ruled ruled steady. The total turnover rose to Rs 2,225.69 crs from Rs 2,108.92 crs yesterday.