Indian stocks fall on Fed fears

Decline comes amid speculation US Federal Reserve will further taper its stimulus and create more capital outflows in Asia

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 5:57am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 5:57am

India's benchmark stock index sank to a 12-week low, led by metal and car producers, amid speculation that reduced US Federal Reserve stimulus will spur more capital outflows from emerging markets.

The S&P BSE Sensex decreased 1.5 per cent to end at 20,209.26 points, the lowest close since November 13. Capital exited emerging markets after the Fed said on January 29 it will continue to pare monthly bond purchases, data shows.

The Sensex declined 3.1 per cent in January, the worst start to the year since 2011.

"Overseas investors are selling, taking liquidity out of the system," said R.K. Gupta, managing director of New Delhi-based Taurus Asset Management. "The market may remain under pressure due to growth concerns."

Hindalco Industries fell 5.6 per cent, sending a gauge of metalmakers to a three-month low. Bajaj Auto had its biggest loss in more than five months, pulling the S&P BSE India Auto Index to its lowest level in four months. ICICI Bank slid 2.5 per cent, driving an industry gauge to a four-month low.

"Industrial growth is weak as is reflected by falling automobile sales and poor demand for metals," Gupta said.

Bajaj Auto fell 3.7 per cent to the lowest since August 29. The company's January sales decreased 8.5 per cent, according to a filing yesterday.

Tata Motors slumped 3.8 per cent after the owner of Jaguar Land Rover said on Saturday that total sales tumbled 34 per cent last month.

Maruti Suzuki India fell 1 per cent. Deliveries at the nation's biggest carmaker declined 10 per cent.

A manufacturing gauge for India compiled by HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics rose to 51.4 in January from 50.7 the previous month, the strongest pace since March 2013. Still, the reading is below the series average of 55.1, according to HSBC.

The statistics office on January 31 cut the growth rate for the year ended March 2013 to 4.5 per cent from an estimate of 5 per cent.

ICICI Bank retreated to the lowest price since October 10 and State Bank of India fell to its lowest close since September 3.

Jet Airways (India) slid the most since December 13 after United Airlines said it will suspend a marketing agreement with the Indian carrier after US regulators cut the Asian nation's aviation-safety ranking for the first time.

The change in ranking may hurt the airline's expansion plans.

The country had failed to find enough officials to ensure the safe operation of flights, putting India on a par with Zimbabwe and Indonesia.

Fourteen of 18 Sensex members that have announced results for the three months ended December 31 have beaten or matched analyst estimates.

The CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India fell 1.4 per cent to 6,001.8 points.

Global investors sold a net US$93.1 million of Indian shares on January 31, data from the regulator shows. They invested US$20 billion last year, according to data.