India stocks end at 7-mo low as investors turn risk averse

New Delhi: Equity benchmarks resumed their downward march on Thursday as tepid tax collection numbers fanned fears of a prolonged slowdown, prompting investors to unwind risky bets.

Hawkish commentary from the US Federal Reserve and incessant foreign fund outflows further weighed on sentiment, traders said. After gyrating 626 points, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended 470.41 points, or 1.29%, lower at 36,093.47.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty plunged 135.85 points, or 1.25%, to settle at 10,704.80. The previous closing low for Nifty was 10,604.35 on February 19, 2019.

The Centre's direct tax mop-up is said to have grown just 4.7% till September 17, compared to a target of 17.5% budgeted for the full year, which analysts said reflects deepening slump in demand and overall growth.

YES Bank was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, plunging 15.52%, after a Moody's report said Altico default may be credit negative for banks given their significant exposure to the real estate sector.

Among the banks Moody's rates, Yes Bank and IndusInd Bank have the largest direct exposure to commercial real estate and will be susceptible to asset quality difficulties if the sector continues to slow, the agency said.

IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank too fell up to 3.59%. Other losers included Tata Steel, Maruti, SBI, RIL, Tech Mahindra, ONGC, Vedanta, Bajaj Finance, Hero MotoCorp and TCS, falling up to 3.66%.

Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel and Asian Paints were the only gainers, rising up to 1.97%.

Sectorally, BSE energy, oil and gas, bankex, metal, realty, auto, healthcare, teck and IT indices cracked up to 2%. Telecom was the sole gainer, inching up 0.17%.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices ended up to 1.48% lower. Brent crude futures gained 1.98% to USD 64.81 per barrel (intra-day). The rupee depreciated 6 paise (intra-day) to trade at 71.30 per US dollar.

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