Mumbai–The key equity indices fell sharply on Thursday with the Brent, the global oil benchmark, crossing the $75 a barrel mark for the first time in 2019 and due to weak Chinese markets.

Sentiments also took a hit as the rupee lost nearly 40 paise against the dollar during the day.

Uncertainty due to the ongoing general elections and rising oil prices shot the ‘VIX’ up to 25.53 on Thursday.

VIX or the ‘fear gauge’ – the measure of market’s expectation of volatility – was marginally below the three-year peak of 26.31, indicating poor investment sentiments.

Among the sectoral indices, the PSU Bank Nifty fell the most. Bank stocks came under pressure on derivative expiry day as lesser long positions seemed to be rolled over, analysts noted.

Weakness during Thursday’s trade came on the back of negative global cues.

“Chinese stock market dropped to its lowest in more than three weeks, disappointed by the central bank’s attempts to lower market expectations for more policy easing and concerns over economic recovery prospects,” Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities added.

The BSE Sensex declined 323.82 points or 0.83 per cent at 38,730.86 and the broader Nifty fell by 84.35 or 0.72 per cent at 11,641.80.

Maruti Suzuki, which announced its Q4 results, fell by 1.73 per cent to RS 6,902.95 apiece on the BSE.

The shares of the country’s largest cement clinker exporter, Ultra Tech Cement, hit an all-time high after healthy Q4, advancing over 5 per cent on the National Stock Exchange.

“Market failed to maintain the opening gains due to a surge in oil prices and concern on a slowdown in Chinese central bank’s stimulus packages. Consolidation was broad-based with PSU banks and metals under-performing,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.

“The sentiment was further impacted due to a rise in India’s 10-year yield and depreciation in rupee.” (IANS)

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