Sensex down 261 points; auto stocks fall

Mumbai, Feb 26 (IANS) A benchmark index of the Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) closed Thursday’s trade 261 points or 0.90 percent down, as future and options expiry and railway budget subdued investor sentiments.

The day’s biggest trigger – the rail budget – failed to enthuse investor confidence, even as it proposed various plans to re-energise one of the largest railroad networks in the world, while seeking to improve passenger amenities and safety.

In his maiden budget Prabhu proposed to correct the railway’s investment deficit position. He outlined a slew of initiatives for generating financial resources like tying up with pension funds and other debt-related instruments.

Prabhu also proposed various plans to increase investment, erect new rail infrastructure, ration energy consumption and spruce up passenger amenities.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed the day’s trade in the red. It was down 83.40 points or 0.95 percent at 8,683.85 points.

“Nifty range is seen at 8500-8850; either side break out will decide further directional movement,” said Sahaj Agrawal, deputy vice president- derivatives research, Kotak Securities.

“We advise trading long above 8,500 with volatility expected to remain high. Closing below the mentioned level will invite significant selling pressure. We remain positive on IT sector and advice buying on dips.”

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 29,051.90 points, closed the day’s trade at 28,746.65 points, down 261.34 points or 0.90 percent from the previous day’s close at 29,007.99 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 29,069.13 points and a low of 28,693.82 points in the intra-day trade.

“Today, market was impacted from expiry and the railway budget. Railway budget has proposed for some near term costs to bring long term benefits. It is more likely that market will witness a new trend, but only post the Union budget,” said Vinod Nair, head-fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.

Except realty and oil and gas stocks, all other sector-based indices of the BSE eneded the day’s trade in the red.

Interest rate-sensitive stocks like automobile, capital goods and banks plunged in the day’s trade.

Other sector-based indices like healthcare, information technology (IT), metal, technology, entertainment and media (TECK), fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer durables also sustained selling pressure.

The S&P BSE automobile index decreased by 280.32 points, followed by capital goods index which plunged 227.48 points, bank index was lower by 198.72 points.

Healthcare index fell by 182.10 points, IT index was down 170.80 points, metal index was lower by 100.03 points. TECK index contracted by 77.47 points, FMCG index reduced by 62.87 points and consumer durables index reduced by 39.94 points.

However, S&P BSE realty index rose 5.83 points and oil and gas index was up 3.35 points.

The major Sensex gainers were: NTPC, up 4.90 percent at Rs.153.15, GAIL, up 1.57 percent at Rs.411.80, ONGC, up 0.63 percent at Rs.319.15, Bharti Airtel, up 0.47 percent at Rs.349.45 and HDFC, up 0.35 percent at Rs.1,345.70.

The losers were: BHEL, down 3.47 percent at Rs.264.55; Sun Pharma, down 2.85 percent at Rs.865.95; Infosys, down 2.53 percent at Rs.2,259.50; Cipla, down 2.51 percent at Rs.659.25 and Hindalco, down 2.48 percent at Rs.149.70.

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