The BSE Sensex today tanked below the 16k mark for the first time in 18 months, losing 297 points at 15,848.83, as investors turned cautious globally ahead of US Fed's statement amid fears of slowdown in world's major economies including America.
All the 13 sectoral indices closed in the red, with realty, metal, oil & gas and bankex leading the fall, while some of them hit new 52-week lows in intra-day trading.
Index-heavyweight, RIL, registered 52-week low and ended 4.61 per cent down. It was the major contributer, about 75 points, to the Sensex decline.
Fall in other heavyweights like ITC, SBI, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Coal India, L&T, ONGC and Tata Motors weighed down the market.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share index, Sensex, opened on a high note and touched 16,256.38, up 110 points, but fell to 15,765.53 before ending at 18-month low of 15,848.83, down by 297.50 points or 1.84 per cent. It is the lowest closing since February 5, 2010 -- 15,790.93.
Similarly, the NSE 50-issue Nifty plunged 91.80 points or 1.90 per cent to end at 1-1/2 year low of 4,747.80 -- level not seen since February 5, 2010.
Brokers said investors booked profits and decided to play safe ahead of US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's address later in the day to bankers, against the backdrop of economic slowdown concerns worldwide.
"Global market trend in respect of quantitative easing (QE) package by the US Government and resolution of debt crisis in the euro-zone will remain important factors in deriving the Indian market trend," said Parag Doctor, Associate Vice President at Motilal Oswal Securities.
Slowdown in FII inflows hit the market sentiment hard. FIIs pulled out Rs 1,494 crore yesterday, taking total withdrawals to Rs 11,200 crore this month, as per Sebi data.
CNI Research CMD Kishor P Ostwal said, "The markets tumbled in the afternoon session due to weakness in European stocks as cautious investors are now eyeing on the speech of US Federal Reserve Chairman later in the day, expecting another round of quantitative easing to tackle the current fluid economic situation globally."
Asian stocks ended narrowly mixed. Key Indices in China, Hong Kong and Singapore closed in the red, while from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan logged gains.
However, European markets were trading down in afternoon. The CAC was down by 0.55 per cent, the DAX by 1.34 per cent and the FTSE by 0.47 per cent.
Among the 30 Sensex-based scrips, 27 closed with losses, while Hero MotoCorp, M&M and Infosys registered gains.
Jaipra Asso was the top loser from the Sensex pack with a fall of 7.58 per cent, while DLF, Tata Steel, Coal India, SBI, Tata Power, Hindalco, Maruti Suzuki, ITC, Wipro, Sterlite Ind, NTPC, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Jindal Steel, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Cipla, Bajaj Auto, HDFC and Sun Pharma ended lower between 5.76 per cent and 1.11 per cent.
Sectorally, BSE-Realty plunged by 4.09 pct, Metal (3.69 pc), Oil & Gas (3.19 pc), PSU (3.19 pc), Bankex (2.50 pc), Consumer Durables (2.47 pc) and Power (2.28 pc).
The total market breadth at BSE was sharply weak as 2,221 stocks ended with falls, while only 637 gained. The total turnover was relatively low at Rs 2,375.99 crore, from Rs 2,438.24 crore yesterday.
Sensex Ends Below 16K After 18-Months, Down 297 Pts
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