Indian shares plunge over aggressive policy risks

·2-min read
A man speaks on his mobile phone past a newly launched Nifty Indices logo inside the National Stock Exchange building in Mumbai

By Tanvi Mehta

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares plunged more than 2% on Thursday after the Swiss National Bank's surprise interest rate hike raised concerns that aggressive monetary policy action to tame inflation would lead to a recession.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 2.1% lower at 15,360.6, in a volatile trading session, weighed by metal stocks. It had earlier touched its lowest level in over a year.

The BSE index closed 2% lower at 51,495.79.

The Swiss National Bank raised its policy interest rate for the first time in 15 years with a 50 basis point hike that soured global sentiment and sent the safe-haven franc up sharply. [MKTS/GLOB]

Its move follows that of the U.S. central bank, which approved its biggest interest rate hike since 1994 on Wednesday and projected a slowing economy and rising unemployment in the months to come.

The NSE index has plunged 5.2% this week, on pace to post its worst week in more than a year, as red hot U.S. inflation data led investors to price in a 75-basis-point rate hike.

The Nifty metal index dropped 5.2% on Thursday, with Vedanta Ltd ending 8.2% lower.

Shares of budget carriers SpiceJet and IndiGo owner InterGlobe Aviation fell 6.7% and 5.2%, respectively. SpiceJet's managing director said the hike in aviation turbine fuel price was "not sustainable" and could lead to price hikes.

The Nifty PSE index declined 3.3%, with Coal India down 5.3%.

Only three stocks on the Nifty 50 traded higher, and Nestle India was one of them, posting a 0.4% rise.

Analysts at J.P.Morgan upgraded Reliance Industries to "overweight" from "neutral", but the company's shares were ended down 1.4% after an initial 2.4% rise.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Shailesh Kuber and Amy Caren Daniel)

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