Investors poorer by Rs 4 trillion; key reasons for today’s market fall

The carnage on Dalal Street wiped off nearly Rs 4 trillion worth of investor wealth in early deals on Thursday. Bears came roaring back on the Street, after a day’s break, on the back of the US Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance.

The BSE Sensex index tanked over 1,180 points in opening deals to hit a low of 56,674 while the Nifty50 slipped below the 17,000-mark and hit a low of 16,928.

27 of the 30 index constituents on the Sensex and 47 of the 50 index constituents on the Nifty were in the red.

Tata Steel, Titan, HCL Tech, JSW Steel, Bajaj Finance, Tech M, Wipro, Divis Labs, HDFC twins, Grasim, Shree Cement, Eicher Motors, Bajaj Finserv, Infosys, and Nestle tumbled between 2 per cent and 4 per cent.

In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices slumped 2 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.

Here’s what’s spooking the market:

US Fed’s hawkish stance

Concerns that the Fed will increasingly prioritise fighting inflation walloped global share markets. In its latest policy update on Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve indicated it is likely to raise US interest rates in March, as has been widely expected, and reaffirmed plans to end its bond purchases that month before launching a significant reduction in its asset holdings.

Given this, the policy-sensitive US 2-year yield jumped amid expectations of Fed tightening, rising to a top of 1.1780 per cent in morning trade in Asia, a level last reached in February 2020. The benchmark 10-year yield also ticked up from Wednesday’s close, rising to 1.8548 per cent from 1.846 per cent.

Oil on the boil

Soaring Brent crude prices, which are gradually moving towards the $100 per barrel-mark, also soured the mood on the Street. Supply crunch amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine pushed crude prices above $90 per barrel yesterday, a level last seen in October 2014.

However, on Thursday, global benchmark Brent crude eased 0.8 per cent but remained just below $90 per barrel at $89.17. US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.9 per cent at $86.55 per barrel.

That said, this may be a temporary relief for investors as analysts expect Brent to hit $125 per barrel.

“War will result in elevated risk-premiums and higher transit costs. On that basis, oil may hit $125 and natural gas $200 in per barrel of oil equivalent (BoE) terms. Assuming all countries halt purchases of Russian energy, the potential price impact would be huge, with oil rising to $175 a barrel and European gas to $250,” wrote Michael Every, global strategist at Rabobank International in a recent note. READ MORE

Rising Dollar

The dollar rose to a five-week high on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it is likely to raise US interest rates in March as expected and later launch a significant reduction in its asset holdings.

The dollar index, as measured against six major trading currencies, rose to a high last seen on November 22.

Weak Asian markets

Asian shares fell to their lowest in more than 14 months on Thursday with MSCI’s broad gauge of regional markets outside Japan down 1.6 per cent at its lowest level since early November 2020.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and Australian shares fell 2 per cent and Chinese blue-chips were 0.2 per cent lower.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei fell 1.9 per cent, touching its lowest point since December 2020.

Subdued Q3 earnings

Corporate earnings in the December 2021 quarter (Q3FY22) have started on a muted note for India Inc with lower-than-expected growth shown by early-bird companies. The combined net profit of 140 early-bird companies is up 10.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) during October-December 2021, growing at its slowest pace in the last five quarters.

For comparison, these companies’ earnings were up 19.7 per cent y-o-y in Q2FY22 and 21.6 per cent during the third quarter of FY21. READ ABOUT IT HERE

Technical outlook

The Nifty50 is hovering around its support level of 17,000 and 16,600. On the upside, the key resistance levels are 17,500 followed by 17,800.