Sensex, Nifty retreat for 2nd day; banks, RIL slip

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Mumbai, May 20 (PTI) Equity benchmarks stayed on the backfoot for the second session running on Thursday, mirroring the nervousness in global markets after minutes of the US Fed's previous meeting revealed discussions around tapering its asset purchase programme.

After touching the 50,000-mark in opening trade, the 30-share BSE Sensex was dragged lower by selling in banking and energy counters. It finally finished at 49,564.86, down 337.78 points or 0.68 per cent.

On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty gave up the 15,000-level to close 124.10 points or 0.83 per cent lower at 14,906.05.

ONGC was the top loser among the Sensex constituents, tumbling 2.70 per cent, followed by Sun Pharma, PowerGrid, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel, Kotak Bank and Nestle India.

On the other hand, M&M, IndusInd Bank, Titan, L&T, Bajaj Finserv and Infosys were among the gainers, climbing up to 2.47 per cent.

'Domestic market witnessed selling due to lack of further domestic cues and weak global market. Wall Street has extended its losses as US treasury yield and dollar index jumped post the release of a watchful Fed minutes, which was below the expectations.

'Fed minutes signalled a plausible slowdown in bond buying 'at some point', a shift in policy in the future, which will have an implication on emerging markets,' said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

Binod Modi, Head - Strategy at Reliance Securities, said the visible decline in daily COVID-19 cases in India has offered comfort to investors.

'However, minutes of FOMC meeting indicates diversions among members' view about higher inflation and accommodative stance and ECB’s warning toward potential bubble in financial assets do not bode well for global equities, including India.

'This raises concerns about possible taper tantrum in early 2022, which is also expected to weigh on investors' sentiments in coming week and can be a headwind for market...,' he added.

Metal stocks witnessed heavy selling pressure after China's move to curb commodity prices in the country, he pointed out.

Sector-wise, BSE metal, oil and gas, bankex, utilities and energy indices fell up to 3.62 per cent, while realty, capital goods and consumer durables ended with gains.

Broader BSE midcap index finished in the red, while the smallcap gauge rose 0.22 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul ended on a negative note, while Nikkei was in the positive terrain.

Equities in Europe were largely trading with gains in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.15 per cent higher at USD 66.76 per barrel.

The rupee strengthened by 6 paise to end at 73.12 against the US dollar, tracking the weakness in the American currency in the overseas market.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Wednesday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 697.75 crore, as per exchange data. PTI ANS ABM ABM

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