Markets plunge on weak rupee, rising oil prices

Markets plunge on weak rupee, rising oil prices

Sensex down by 324 points; Nifty ends low at 11,642

Mumbai: Equity benchmarks surrendered early gains to end sharply lower on Thursday as boiling crude prices and a depreciating rupee kept investor sentiment at a low ebb amid expiry of derivatives contracts.

Auto, metal, energy and financial stocks witnessed robust selling on concerns over valuation and earnings, traders said.

On the global front, crude oil prices surged past the $75 per barrel mark, sparking concerns over growth and macroeconomic stability.

After starting on a positive note, the indices succumbed to a sudden sell-off in the last half-hour of trade amid expiry of April futures and options contracts.

The BSE Sensex slumped 323.82 points, or 0.83 per cent, to close at 38,730.86, while the broader NSE Nifty declined 84.35 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 11,641.80.

Domestic markets made new highs during the month but could not sustain there due to profit-booking at higher levels, analysts said.

"Higher oil prices can have a negative impact on the current account deficit (CAD), the rupee, inflation and does not augur well for the domestic markets.

However, the major factor that will decide the direction of the market is Q4FY19 earnings. A revival in earnings will help the markets sustain the current valuation," said Hemang Jani, Head - Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

Sectorally, the BSE telecom index saw the biggest losses, falling 2.26 per cent; followed by metal, bankex, finance, auto, energy and teck.

In the broader markets, the BSE midcap and smallcap indices lost up to 0.58 per cent.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.25 per cent to trade above the $75 per barrel mark.

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