Indian stock benchmarks fell for a fourth session on Wednesday as investors looked to the US Federal Reserve for signs of the pace of winding down, while recent debutant Paytm fell after a lock-in period for institutional investors passed.
The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.66 to 17,210 at 12:51 am, with IT stocks leading the decline. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.63 percent to 57,752 points.
Blue chip indices are down more than 7 percent from October’s record highs, but still outperform Asian competitors this year with a rise of more than 21 percent to date.
Investors have been looking for clues as to when the Fed will stop buying assets and start raising interest rates, while a rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant also weighed on sentiment.
“There is a palpable fear of a Powell Pivot and the Fed’s pace to wind down,” said independent market analyst Ajay Bodke. Commenting on the rate hikes in the US would be critical as they could potentially lead to fund outflows from double-deficit countries like India, he added.
The Indian rupee fell as much as 0.3 percent to 76.11 against the dollar, its weakest level since June 2020.
A lack of public concern about Omicron’s rapid spread also increases the risk of the health care system being overrun again, Bodke said.
In Mumbai, the Nifty IT index fell to 1.5 percent, while Tata Consultancy Services fell a whopping 1.8 percent to a week-long low.
Heavyweight shadow lenders Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Finserv fell 2 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
One97 Communications, Paytm’s parent company, fell 13% to its lowest level since Nov. 22, after a dismal market debut on Nov. 18.
Meanwhile, SpiceJet rose a whopping 3.4 percent after the budget airline said it reached a settlement agreement with a Canadian aircraft manufacturer.