Indian equity benchmarks clocked their worst session of 2019 after crude oil rose to highest level in nearly six months on news reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce "that as of May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is currently importing Iranian crude." The S&P BSE Sensex fell over 500 points and the NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped below psychologically important level of 11,600 led by declines in heavyweights like Reliance Industries, HDFC, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.
The Sensex ended 495 points or 1.26 per cent lower at 38,645.18 and the NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 1.35 per cent or 158 points to close at 11,594.
India is Iran's biggest oil client after China, has almost halved its Iran oil purchase since November. Meanwhile, India hopes the US will allow its allies to continue to buy some Iranian oil instead of halting the purchases altogether from May, news agency Reuters reported citing a source familiar with the matter.
Seventeen of 19 sector gauges compiled by BSE ended lower led by the S&P BSE Oil & Gas Index's 3.2 per cent decline. Energy, Finance, Bankex, Auto, Metal and Realty Indexes also dropped between 1.8 and 2.7 per cent each. On the flipside, S&P BSE Information Technology Index was top gainer, up 0.6 per cent as rupee depreciated against the dollar.
Mid- and small-cap shares fell in-line with the larger peers as the S&P BSE MidCap Index fell 1.5 per cent and the S&P BSE SmallCap Index declined 1.44 per cent.
From the Nifty 50 basket of shares 40 closed lower which 10 shares ended higher.
Indiabulls Housing Finance, Yes Bank, Bharat Petroleum, IndusInd Bank, Indian Oil, Hindalco, Reliance Industries, Eicher Motors, JSW Steel, ICICI Bank and HDFC were among the losers. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and NTPC were among the notable gainers.
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