The Indian equity benchmarks fell sharply lower on Friday on the back of weak global markets after US Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated at faster pace of rate hikes to combat inflation worsened risk sentiment for equities amid continuous geo-political tensions between Russia and western countries. The Sensex fell as much as 667 points and Nifty 50 index briefly dropped below its important psychological level of 17,200.
As of 9:32 am, the Sensex was down 516 points at 57,395 and Nifty 50 index fell 167 points to 17,225.
In a panel discussion held by the International Monetary Fund, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed must move faster than it has previously to tackle inflation, which suggests sharp interest rate increases are likely in coming months.
The S&P 500 closed 1.5 per cent lower after having been up 1.2 per cent in the early going. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1 per cent and the Nasdaq slid 2.1 per cent.
The afternoon sell-off left the S&P 500 flat for the week and knocked the Nasdaq into the red. Both indexes came into this week with two consecutive weekly declines.
The benchmark S&P 500 fell 65.79 points to 4,393.66. The Dow dropped 368.03 points to 34,792.76. The Nasdaq slid 278.41 points to 13,174.65.
Back home, relentless selling of Indian equities by foreign institutional investors also soured sentiment towards equities, analysts said. The FIIs sold shares worth Rs 714 crore on Thursday.
Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Infosys were among the top drags on the Sensex.
Selling pressure was visible across the board as all the 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Auto index’s 1.5 per cent fall. Nifty Bank, Financial Services, Pharma, Private Bank and Healthcare indices also fell over 1 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares were trading on a subdued note as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.2 per cent while Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 0.2 per cent.
HDFC Life was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2.2 per cent to Rs 558. State Bank of India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Divi’s Labs, Tata Consumer Products, SBI Life, Apollo Hospitals, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, Cipla, IndusInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank also fell between 1.5-3 per cent.
On the flipside, Adani Ports, HCL Technologies, ONGC, Tata Steel, Coal India, Power Grid and Bharti Airtel were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was marginally positive as 1,460 shares were advancing while 1,376 were declining on the BSE.