Sensex sinks 760 points as Trump’s ‘crazy’ Fed jibe hits global markets

NEW DELHI: Asian markets plunged on Thursday following the worst session on Wall Street for months, as US President Donald Trump said the Federal Reserve had “gone crazy” with plans for higher interest rates.

Sensex too crashed over 750 points to end at a six-month low and NSE Nifty ended below the 10,300 mark.

The 30-share index, which commenced with a gap down opening, cracked over 1,000 points, breaching the 34,000-mark and hit a low of 33,723.53 as investor sentiment was hit by heavy sell-off in world markets.

The gauge finally ended 759.74 points, or 2.19 per cent, lower at 34,001.15. This is the lowest closing since April 11.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty settled at 10,234.65, down 225.45 points, or 2.16 per cent. It moved between 10,138.60 and 10,335.95 in day trade.

“This sell-off is part of the global sell-off triggered by the sharp cut in the mother market US,” said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

Among the Sensex pack, state-run lender SBI was the biggest loser, plunging by 5.74 per cent, followed by Tata Steel 4.60 per cent.

Stocks of IT bellwether TCS fell 3.10 per cent ahead of September quarter earnings to be released later Thursday.

Other laggards included Vedanta, M&M, Infosys, Adani Ports, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors, HDFC, IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, ICICI Bank, L&T, Kotak Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Coal India and ITC, falling up to 4.45 per cent.

Axis Bank, HDC Bank, RIL, Wipro, NTPC, Asian Paint, PowerGrid and HUL also retreated up to 1.45 per cent.

In contrast, ONGC was the top gainer in the Sensex kitty, rising 2.86 per cent, while Yes Bank gained 2.54 per cent.

The steep drop in Asia followed Wednesday’s plunge in New York, with the Dow Jones dropping nearly 830 points – the biggest fall since February – after Trump’s latest criticism of the Federal Reserve.

“I think the Fed is making a mistake,” Trump told reporters as he arrived for a campaign rally ahead of the US mid-term elections.

Trump has repeatedly touted Wall Street records as proof of the success of his economic programme. But he downplayed the first major drop in months, saying it was a “correction that we’ve been waiting for”.

But International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde hit back on Thursday, defending rate hikes that she said were justified by fundamentals.

“It is clearly a necessary development for those economies that are showing much improved growth, inflation that is picking up… unemployment that is extremely low,” she told reporters in Bali where the Fund is meeting.

The rout in US shares followed substantial losses on European bourses, due in part to tensions between Brussels and Rome over Italian budget plans that have revived fears about the eurozone.

Bourses in Paris and Frankfurt both lost more than 2 per cent, while London fell 1.3 per cent.

“It’s just a beginning,” CEB International research head Banny Lam told Bloomberg.

“The US tech bubble may take a while to burst and we are facing many external uncertainties — trade wars, risks in emerging markets currencies and oil price.”

Many of the biggest US names fell hard in Wednesday’s session, with Apple, Boeing and Facebook all slumping more than four per cent and Amazon, Nike and Microsoft shedding more than five per cent.

(With inputs from agencies)

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