Sensex plunges over Japan disaster, rate hike worries (Second Lead)

March 15th, 2011 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Sensex Mumbai, March 15 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets slumped nearly one and a half percent Tuesday on worries over the fallout of the devastating earthquake in Japan that has led to three explosions at nuclear reactors and a possible rate hike by the Indian central bank to curb inflationary pressures.

The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), opened deep in the red at 18,113.79 points and slumped to a low of 17,920.55 points within a few minutes of trading.

The benchmark Sensex ended the day at 18,167.64 points, down 1.47 percent or 271.84 points from the previous close of 18,439.48 points.

Taking cues from the weakness in global peers, Indian stock markets witnessed nervous selling pressure and slumped below psychologically important 18,000-points level in early trading. The Sensex touched a high of 18,326.33 points and low of 17,920.55 points in the intraday.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE) the situation was no different. The S&P; CNX Nifty ended 1.48 percent or 81.85 points down at 5,449.65 points.

With the easing of crude oil prices, Monday had seen the Indian stock markets discount the events in Japan and the Sensex, which opened in the red at 18,167.10 points, ended the day at 18,439.48 points, up 1.46 percent or 265.39 points over the previous close.

Radiation levels have spiked after another blast at a reactor in a quake-damaged nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan. Friday’s magnitude-9 earthquake led to the failure of the cooling systems of three reactors at Fukushima nuclear plant.

The market sentiments were also dampened by worries over a possible rate hike by India’s central bank, following a marginal increase in the domestic annual inflation rate, which rose to 8.31 percent in February from 8.23 percent for the month before.

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