Union Budget announcements depress equity markets

Mumbai, Feb 29: Union Budget announcements, combined with negative Asian cues, and a dip in the rupee value depressed the Indian equity markets during the afternoon trade session on Monday. Consequently, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) plunged by over 151 points. Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded in the red. It was lower by 62 points or 0.88 percent to 6,968.15 points. The Sensex, which opened at 23,238.50 points, traded at 23,002.77 points (at 12.00 p.m.) -- down 151.53 points or 0.65 percent from the previous day's close at 23,154.30 points. During the intra-day trade so far, the Sensex touched a high of 23,293.80 points and a low of 22,956.80 points. Vaibhav Agarwal, vice president and research head at Angel Broking, elaborated that markets traded on a negative note, led by mixed Asian cues and cautiousness prevailing around the budget.  "Expectations continue to remain low with markets not having witnessed any pre-budget rally this year." Nitasha Shankar, senior vice president for research with YES Securities said: “Markets eagerly watch out for an increased spending in the infrastructure space, road map to bank recapitalisation and a rural thrust." "Along with this it will be crucial for the finance minister to strike a right balance between growth and fiscal consolidation."