The benchmark indices the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty ended Thursday's session in negative territory. The bourses opened weak and traded in the red through the day. The BSE Sensex closed at 21,740.09, down 92.77 points or 0.42 per cent lower than yesterday's close. The Nifty closed at 6,483.10, down 40.95 points or 0.63 per cent.

The top gainers on the BSE Sensex were TCS (up 3.28 per cent), HUL (2.01 per cent), Wipro (1.09 per cent), Infy (0.96 per cent) and Sun Pharma (0.91 per cent). The laggards were BHEL (down 2.74 per cent), GAIL (2.67 per cent), L&T (2.12 per cent), HDFC (2.12 per cent), Axis Bank (2.11 per cent) and Tata Steel (1.77 per cent).

The BSE sectoral indices were mixed. The banking, capital goods, realty, power and metal indices were down in the range of 1.20-2.25 per cent. The technology and IT indices trimmed some of their gains to hold above 1 per cent at close. The consumer durables index shed its morning gains to slip into the red.

Volatility was up with the India Vix trading at 17, up 0.11 per cent.

Asian shares dropped after the Federal Reserve cut its bond-buying programme by a further $10 billion, another step towards winding down the programme by the year-end. The Asian markets were also weighed down by indications that the Federal Reserve would increase rates beginning from the middle of next year. Tokyo's Nikkei, Hong Kong's Hang Seng, Singapore's Straits Times Index and the Australian ASX 200 closed in the red .

In a press statement the FOMC said: "In light of the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labour market conditions since the inception of the current asset purchase programme, the Committee decided to make a further measured reduction in the pace of its asset purchases. Beginning in April, the Committee will add to its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $25 billion per month rather than $30 billion per month, and will add to its holdings of longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $30 billion per month rather than $35 billion per month.”

(This article was published on March 20, 2014)
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