Sensex sweats as BoJ holds off on stimulus, skids 160 pts

Mumbai: There was widespread market volatility as the benchmark Sensex reversed its gear and plunged 160 points after the Bank of Japan quite unexpectedly slammed brakes on expanding its monetary stimulus.

The move by BoJ, which also maintained status quo on interest rate, virtually caught investors off-guard. There was also a bit of caution in the wake of settlement of April series of derivatives contracts, which made investors skittish.

Counters of FMCG, auto, IT, power, capital goods and oil & gas sectors saw fresh selling amid lower Asian cues.

Going forward, the market may trade sideways as traders roll over positions in the futures and options (F&O) segment to May 2016 series. The April contracts will expire today. The Sensex started on a brighter note, but then stumbled to 25,904.16 at 1147 hours, down 159.96 points, or 0.61 per cent from its last close.

The NSE 50-share Nifty also slumped 54.45 points, or 0.68 per cent, to quote at 7,925.45 at 1147 hours.

BHEL lost 2.03 per cent, ITC 1.50 per cent and M&M 1.21 per cent. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net bought shares worth Rs 411 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Most Asian stocks edged lower. Key indices in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan were down by up to 2.61 per cent. Hong Kong and Singapore rose 0.23 per cent and 0.31 per cent, respectively.

US stocks closed mostly higher yesterday, but the gains were capped by weakness in the technology sector.

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