Mumbai: Equity benchmark indices extended their decline for the third day running on Tuesday, with the BSE Sensex tumbling over 559 points in early trade, as foreign funds outflow and elevated crude oil prices continued to play spoilsport ahead of the RBI’s policy decision on Wednesday.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was trading 559.46 points lower at 55,115.86. The broader NSE Nifty fell by 161.05 points to 16,408.50.

From the Sensex pack, Titan, Dr Reddy’s, HUL, Asian Paints, Nestle, Sun Pharma, Maruti and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the biggest laggards.

In contrast, NTPC and Reliance Industries were the gainers.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Tokyo and Shanghai were trading in the green, while Hong Kong and Seoul were quoting lower.

Stock markets in the US had ended with gains on Monday.

“Two crucial numbers coming this week are significant – RBI’s rate hike tomorrow and inflation rate in the US expected on Friday. The market direction is likely to be influenced more by inflation in the US, which, in turn, will decide how far the Fed will go in raising rates.

“This will be the key determinant of possible ‘risk on’ or ‘risk off’ in equity markets globally,” said V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

The Sensex declined 93.91 points or 0.17 per cent to end at 55,675.32 on Monday.The Nifty fell 14.75 points or 0.09 per cent to finish at 16,569.55.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude jumped 0.69 per cent to USD 120.33 per barrel.

Foreign institutional investors offloaded shares worth a net Rs 2,397.65 crore on Monday, according to stock exchange data.

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