Sensex closes 209 points down; automobile stocks plunge

Mumbai, March 20 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), closed Friday’s trade 208.59 points or 0.73 percent down as auto stocks plunged.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed the day’s trade in the red. It closed 63.75 points or 0.74 percent down at 8,570.90 points.

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 28,465.44 points, closed at 28,261.08 points, down 208.59 points or 0.73 percent from the previous day’s close at 28,469.67 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 28,484.36 points and a low of 28,209.66 points in intra-day trade.

Charting the market’s movements, analysts said sustained selling was witnessed during the day in the absence of major positive triggers.

“Markets ended the week marginally lower despite the US Fed giving out relatively dovish comments on interest rate hikes. The week also saw important bills like the Mineral and Mines Bill getting passed in parliament,” said Dipen Shah, head, private client group research, Kotak Securities.

“Markets are awaiting developments on important bills like the land acquisition bill. Moreover, markets are also awaiting the 4Q results, which are expected to be subdued,” Shah added.

According to Vinod Nair, head, fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, the market in India is continuing its consolidation phase which presently stands at about -6 percent.

“Next week expiry, March-April effect, poor fourth quarter expectation and likely break in the budget session has impacted the market. Most importantly, we need to start the post-budget reform,” Nair said.

“The immediate trend will depend on the timeline and degree of accomplishment. As we know the intention is in the right direction, we may have difficulty in the short-term,” Nair added.

All sector-based indices of the BSE closed the day’s trade in the red, except for information technology (IT) and technology, entertainment and media (TECK).

Sectors like automobile, healthcare, consumer durables, capital goods, banking, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), metal, oil and gas and realty came under heavy selling pressure.

The S&P BSE automobile index plunged 264.60 points, healthcare index dropped by 262.75 points, consumer durables index fell by 204.37 points, capital goods index was lower by 200.58 points, banking index was down 191.62 points.

Indices like FMCG went down by 167.81 points, metal index fell 86.63 points, oil and gas index was lower by 69.27 points and realty index declined by 65.25 points.

However, IT index gained 99.22 points and TECK index moved up by 30.82 points.

The major Sensex gainers on Friday were: Wipro, up 2.92 percent at Rs.651.85; Infosys , up 1.30 percent at Rs.2,258.95; Coal India, up 0.75 percent at Rs.368.10; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 0.59 percent at Rs.2,609.65; and HDFC Bank, up 0.34 percent at Rs.1,055.20.

The losers were: NTPC, down 6.25 percent at Rs.145.50; BHEL, down 3.68 percent at Rs.245.75; ICICI Bank, down 3.36 percent at Rs.319.10; Gail, down 3.31 percent at Rs.377.15; and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), down 2.70 percent at Rs.1,173.

Among the Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei went up by 0.43 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed lower by 0.38 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index, gained by 0.98 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was marginally up by 0.13 percent, France’s CAC 40 was up 0.54 percent and Germany’s DAX Index was higher by 1.00 percent at the closing in the Indian markets.

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