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US strikes in Syria spook investors, Sensex, Nifty plunge 0.7%

Asian markets were down after the United States launched cruise missiles against an air base in Syria, raising the risk of confrontation with Syrian backers Russia and Iran.

business Updated: Apr 07, 2017 15:54 IST
Raj Kumar Ray
Raj Kumar Ray
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
(Reuters photo)

Indian shares plunged on Friday tracking global markets, as investors were spooked by the United States’ launch of cruise missiles against an air base in Syria, raising the risk of confrontation with Syrian backers Russia and Iran.

The 30-share benchmark index Sensex fell 221 points or 0.74% to 29,706.61 while Nifty was down 0.7% at 9,198.30.

A sell off by foreign funds dragged down asset prices across emerging markets.

Russian assets led emerging stocks and currencies lower on Friday as a U.S. missile strike in Syria spooked investors wary about risks of a clash with Russia, while emerging equities fell to three-week lows but still look to end the week in the black.

MSCI’s benchmark emerging equities index was down 0.2%, mirroring a broad sell-off in riskier assets after the United States fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack was carried out earlier this week.

President Donald Trump ordered the strikes against a Syrian air base controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to a deadly chemical attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday, a U.S. official said.

Facing his biggest foreign policy crisis since taking office in January, Trump took the toughest direct U.S. action yet in Syria’s six-year-old civil war.

Russia said the missile strike broke international law and had seriously damaged U.S.-Russian relations.

Oil prices surged more than 2% with Brent crude futures rising to $56.08 per barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed by over 2% to $52.94 a barrel.

Investors had already been on edge as Trump met Chinese leader Xi Jinping for talks over flashpoints such as North Korea and China’s huge trade surplus with the United States.

Brokers said continued selling by participants, tracking a weak trend in other Asian markets as US missile strike against Syria fuelled geopolitical concern, dampened sentiments.

Shares of Reliance Industries were quoting 1.75% lower at Rs 1,413.15 after Telecom regulator TRAI yesterday ordered Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to withdraw the three-month ‘complimentary’ offer of unlimited data usage and free calls on payment of a minimum Rs 303.

Other losers were Sun Pharma, Adani Ports, Power Grid, Coal India, HDFC Ltd, ITC Ltd, Tata Motors and Lupin, falling by up to 2.3% on profit-booking.

Among other Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.10% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.67% in early trade today. Shanghai Composite Index, however, up 0.19%.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.07% higher in yesterday’s trade. (With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 10:47 IST