India’s Sensex Drops to Two-Month Low as Banks Fall on Fed Taper

India’s benchmark stock index fell to a two-month low after interest-rate increases by emerging-market central banks failed to stem currency declines and the U.S. Federal Reserve reduced stimulus.

State Bank of India declined, dragging a gauge of lenders to its lowest level in about four months. Hindalco Industries Ltd. slid for a second day, sending a gauge of metal makers to a 11-week low. Hero MotoCorp Ltd. had the biggest drop in four months before its earnings. The rupee lost 0.3 percent.

The S&P BSE Sensex decreased 0.7 percent to 20,498.25, its lowest close since Nov. 27. The gauge pared an intraday loss of 1.5 percent as traders closed bearish bets on expiry of monthly derivatives. The Fed cut its bond-buying for a second meeting, paring stimulus that had increased demand for riskier assets. India, which raised rates this week, got $110 million of stock inflows this month, the least in five months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Tightening of the monetary policy and the Fed tapering led to the selling pressure,” Paras Bothra, vice president for equity research with Ashika Stock Broking Ltd., said by phone. “Short positions built in the past few days after the Reserve Bank of India decision and before the Fed meeting were covered in the last half-hour of trade.”

State Bank of India slumped 3.6 percent to the lowest in five months. ICICI Bank Ltd. decreased 2.7 percent to 974.55 rupees and Axis Bank Ltd. fell to its lowest level since Nov. 22. The S&P BSE India Bankex fell for a sixth day, the longest stretch of losses since Dec. 17.

Worst Performers

Hindalco dropped 3.3 percent to a three-month low. Tata Steel lost 3.2 percent. Sesa Sterlite Ltd., India’s biggest zinc and aluminum maker, fell to a two-month low. The stocks were among the worst-performers on the Sensex today.

Hero MotoCorp declined 3.5 percent to 1,998.1 rupees, the lowest close since Nov. 22. Its third-quarter profit was 5.25 billion rupees, less than the 6 billion rupees estimate in a Bloomberg survey, the company said after the market closed.

The CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. fell 0.8 percent to 6,073.70. Rollovers in Nifty futures for February delivery were at 63 percent yesterday, compared with 58 percent average of the previous three series, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Derivative contracts in India expire on the last Thursday of the month.

Global investors bought a net $43 million of local shares on Jan. 29, ending three days of outflows, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Sensex has fallen 3.2 percent this month, poised for its steepest monthly drop since August.

The gauge climbed 9 percent in 2013, the best annual gain among the four-largest emerging markets, and trades at 12.9 times projected 12-month earnings. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at 9.1 times.

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