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Benchmark indices on Tuesday slumped in the second half of the trading session, extending their losses for the fifth straight day. The sell-off came amidst the renewed crisis emerging from the Russia-Ukraine war and rising crude oil prices. Moreover, the prospect of the US Fed tightening policy aggressively to rein in inflation also weighed on investor sentiment. Traders blame the pessimism surrounding the scorching CPI and WPI inflation numbers for March.

While the Sensex lost 703.59 points or 1.23% to settle at 56,463.15 points, the broader Nifty fell through the psychological level of 17,000 mark. In contrast, the broader Nifty50 fell 215 points or 1.25%, to end the session at 16,958.65 points. With Tuesday’s fall, the Sensex has lost almost 3,000 points over the last five sessions with Infosys and the HDFC twins contributing 67% to the fall.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPI) continued to offload shares, having been net sellers in every month since October. Between October and now, they have withdrawn a whopping  $21 billion from the Indian equity market.On Tuesday, FPIs sold $768 million worth of shares against local purchase of $520 million, provisional data on bourses showed.

The rupee lost 24 paise against the dollar on Tuesday, slipping in a late trade. The local currency slipped to 76.50, having cumulatively lost 60 paise over the last five sessions. Meanwhile, the yield on 10-year benchmark bond closed  at 7.15%, virtually flat compared with Monday’s close whereas the yield on 10-year US treasury rose 2 bps to 2.88%, a level last seen in December 2018.

On Monday, the markets had given up more than 1,000 points following disappointing Q4FY22 results from HDFC Bank and Infosys. Analysts are anxious that high raw material costs will hurt operating profit margins of companies especially consumer-facing players.They also anticipate volumes to be under pressure as companies start passing on the higher input costs to consumers.

Elevated oil prices, and a prolonged war in Ukraine, could lead to downgrades in consensus earnings estimates for FY23. The positive impact of higher commodity prices on earnings of producers is expected to be offset by the negative impact on earnings of consumption sectors.

European stocks opened in the red on Tuesday after the long Easter weekend as the overlapping crises of the war in Ukraine, pandemic and inflation cloud the global economic outlook.  Back home, barring energy and oil & gas, all sectoral indices compiled by the BSE ended in the red.

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Author: Howard Caldwell