Sensex falls to 3-wk low; FII favourite stocks lead losses

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex and Nifty fell to their lowest in nearly three weeks on Wednesday as stocks favoured by overseas investors such as ICICI Bank(ICBK.NS) declined, following heavy foreign sales in derivatives and cash shares in the previous session.

Foreign investors sold index futures worth 28.17 billion rupees ($ 443.13 mln) and cash shares worth 15.71 billion rupees on Tuesday, signalling unwinding of long positions amid global risk aversion.

Stocks slumped more than 3 percent in the previous session, posting their biggest daily loss since the rupee crisis in 2013 as a continued slide in oil prices hit emerging markets.

“We cannot rule out partial profits of 2014 moving out,” said Nirakar Pradhan, chief investment officer at Future Generali India Life Insurance.

The Nifty remains susceptible to profit-taking after it gained 31.4 percent last year, its best since 2009.

The BSE Sensex and the Nifty fell as much as 0.8 percent each on Wednesday, marking their lowest intraday level since Dec. 17 and on track for their third session of losses.

The euro hit a nine-year trough as collapsing oil prices and worries about the world economy drove skittish investors into the arms of safe-haven sovereign debt.

The quarterly earnings season kick-starting with Infosys’ (INFY.NS) results on Jan. 9, the Reserve Bank of India’s rate decision and the budget in February are next key triggers.

Stocks favoured by overseas investors led losses. ICICI Bank fell 3.3 percent, while Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) lost 1.5 percent.

Lupin (LUPN.NS), which is looking to increase its foreign investment limit, fell 1.5 percent.

($ 1 = 63.3600 rupees)

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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