Sensex falls by 167 pts on interest rate concerns

The Bombay Stock Exchange barometer settled at 17,410.57 points, a loss of 167.66 points, or 0.95 per cent, over the previous close. The 30-share index had gained nearly 412 points in the past four sessions.
The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dipped by 57.60 points to 5,205.20 points.

Brokers said interest rate sensitive stocks from realty, auto and consumer durable segments bore the brunt of heavy offloading after a surprise rate hike by the RBI.
The central bank, on Friday last week, raised its short- term rates at which it borrows and lends funds to banks by 25 basis points, stoking fears that home, auto and commercial loans are likely to become marginally expensive.

A weakening trend in the Asian region and a lower opening in Europe also dampened the trading sentiment, brokers said. Asian stocks fell on fears that other central bank in Asian region may raise borrowing costs to contain inflation.
The market mood was also cautious ahead of the expiry of the derivatives contract on March 25, they added.

Among the 30-index stocks, 22 closed with losses.
Realty major DLF fell by 3.61 per cent to Rs 301.40, while Jaipra Associates slumped by 4.34 per cent to Rs 146.75.

Hindalco fell by 3.36 per cent, Tata Motors by 3.02 per cent, HDFC by 2.49 per cent, M&M by 2.28 per cent, Maruti Suzuki by 2.22 per cent, Tata Steel by 2.16 per cent, ICICI Bank by 2.03 per cent and RIL by 1.46 per cent.

The realty sector index suffered the most by losing 3.88 per cent to 3,211.20 points followed by metal index by 1.96 per cent to 17,551.16. Consumer durable index fell by 1.74 per cent to 4,120.26 and auto index by 1.73 per cent to 7,497.42.
Bucking the general weakening trend, Bharti Airtel stocks surged by Rs 1.43 per cent to Rs 316.30, its highest in almost eight weeks after reports that it arranged funding for 90 per cent of the bid. TCS, the largest software exporter, climbed 0.60 per cent to Rs 825.15.

Overseas investors more than doubled holdings of Indian debt this fiscal, raising total ownership to an all-time high of USD 11.2 billion on March 18, to benefit from the rising yields on the nation’s assets.

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