Sensex drops 135 points to one-month low

Stock markets fell for the second straight session with the benchmark Sensex sliding 134.91 points to one-month low of 28,709.87 as investors sold realty, power and oil&gas shares amid lingering worries over an earlier-than-expected hike in US interest rates.

After on Monday’s over 604-point crash, the 30-share BSE Sensex opened Tuesday in positive terrain but soon succumbed to selling pressure. It touched day’s low of 28,584.49.

A late round of buying helped reduce some losses and the Sensex settled at 28,709.87, its weakest closing since February 11, down 134.91 points, or 0.47 per cent. Intra-day, it touched a high of 28,949.11.

The 50-issue NSE Nifty lost 44.70 points,or 0.51 per cent, to settle the session at 8,712.05. Intra-day, it dipped below the key 8700-mark to touch a low of 8,677.35.

Prominent losers that pulled down the indices include HDFC, Hindustan Unilever, Hindalco, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, Tata Power, NTPC, RIL, SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and Dr Reddy. Sesa Sterlite, Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, L&T, GAIL, Cipla and ONGC also saw moderate losses.

As many as 20 of 30 Sensex constituent stocks closed in the red while 10 ended in the green.

Shares of telecom firms such as Airtel, Idea and RCom were in the limelight after analysts said bidding intensity in the ongoing spectrum auction has subsided.

Select stocks in auto space like M&M, Bajaj Auto and Hero Moto rose after car sales in India grew by 6.85 per cent in February. Also, industry body SIAM said it expects sales to be in positive with single-digit growth this fiscal.

The mood was cautious amid a persisting downward trend in global markets that negatively impacted domestic equities.

Foreign Portfolio Investors bought shares worth net Rs 838.30 crore while Domestic institutional Investors sold shares worth Rs 35.31 crore on Monday, provisional data shows.

Sectorally, the BSE Realty index suffered the most by losing 1.83 per cent, followed by Oil & Gas (0.78 per cent), Power (0.63 per cent), Banking (0.49 per cent), Capital Goods (0.41 per cent) and FMCG (0.39 per cent) among others.

Bucking the trend, Consumer Durables index rose 1.20 per cent, Teck index 0.78 per cent, Metal index 0.58 per cent and Auto index 0.37 per cent.

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