Extending losses for the fourth straight day, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday closed 32 points lower as a sharp rebound in October industrial growth and rise in retail-level inflation in November, dimmed interest rate cut hopes in RBI's mid-quarter policy review next week.
The Sensex, which had lost nearly 100 points in the past three trading sessions, fell further by 31.88 points, or 0.16% to 19,355.26. The gauge had touched the day's high of 19,478.79 on initial buying activity but fell after IIP and inflation data were released, brokers said. The 30-share index was dragged down by financial stocks, including HDFC, ICICI Bank and SBI. HUL, L&T, ONGC, Bhel and Tata Motors also were among the 20 losers in Sensex.
Similarly, the 50-issue S&P CNX Nifty of the NSE also moved down by 10.80 points or 0.18% to 5,888.00.
While retail inflation rose to 9.9% in November, from 9.75% in October, the country's factory output measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) soared to 16-month high of 8.2% in October.
"The IIP number failed to excite the markets as they likely focused on the impact of this data on RBI's interest rate decision next week. We believe RBI will not reduce rates at mid-quarter policy review (Dec 18)," said Dipen Shah, head (Private Client Group Research), Kotak Securities.
The capital goods, metal and banking sectors suffered the most on Wednesday while consumer durables, auto and IT shares rose. "We do not expect it to ease rates until the fourth quarter particularly since inflation remains sticky and above RBI's comfort level," said Bhupali Gursale, economist, Angel Broking.
The benchmark Indian indices were cushioned to some extent by rise in RIL, ITC, M&M, Bajaj Auto and HDFC Bank stocks. Brokers said trading remained listless as traders reduced their holdings despite a firming trend in Asian and European stock markets.