Indian stock indices traded marginally lower in the morning session, largely due to continued profit booking by investors after the recent gains and as investors await the outcome of the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy meet which is underway. Notably, this is the third straight session of fall after the indices had hit their fresh lifetime highs last week.
At the time of writing this report, Sensex traded at 62,600.88 points, down 233.72 points or 0.37 per cent, whereas Nifty traded at 18,627.45 points, down 73.60 points or 0.39 per cent.
"Market continued its profit booking trend from the record high as they exercised prudence ahead of the RBI policy announcement on December 7," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
For the record, the benchmark indices had hit their lifetime highs for the fourth straight day till Thursday. Sensex breached the 63,000 mark on Wednesday. From 60,000 to 63,000, the markets took 14 months time.
Robust foreign fund inflows into Indian equities, the appreciating Rupee, and hints by the US central bank about the moderating rate of interest hikes supported investors' sentiment.
The US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week hinted about moderating interest rate hikes in the next monetary policy meeting.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India's three-day monetary policy committee meeting is underway. Financial markets will be keenly watching the committee's rate hike stance if any, as inflation is still above the 6 per cent target band.
The central bank had already hiked the key policy rate by 190 basis points since May to 5.9 per cent to cool off domestic retail inflation that has stayed above the RBI's upper tolerance limit for over three quarters now. In October, retail inflation was 6.77 per cent as against 7.41 per cent the previous month.
Under the flexible inflation targeting framework introduced in 2016, the RBI is deemed to have failed in managing price rises if the CPI-based inflation is outside the 2-6 per cent range for three quarters in a row.
An out-of-turn meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India was held in early November to discuss and draft the report to be sent to the central government for having failed in maintaining the inflation mandate.
The meeting was called under Section 45ZN of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act 1934, which pertains to steps to be taken if the central bank fails to meet its inflation-targeting mandate.
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