Sensex closes 654 points down, bank stocks plunge

Mumbai, March 26 (IANS) Negative global cues and future and options (F&O) expiry led a benchmark index of Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex), to close Thursday’s trade down 654 points or 2.33 percent.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed the day’s trade in the red. It was down 188.65 points or 2.21 percent at 8,342.15 points.

The S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex, which opened at 27,937.62 points, closed the day’s trade at 27,457.58 points, down 654.25 points or 2.33 percent from the previous day’s close at 28,111.83 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 27,997.14 points and a low of 27,384.87 points in the intra-day trade.

Thursday was the seventh consecutive session of losses for the markets. The BSE Sensex had closed Wednesday’s trade down 50 points. On Tuesday, it slipped by 30 points. On March 23, the market closed down 69 points.

In the previous week, the Sensex closed Friday’s trade 208.59 points down. On March 19, it declined by 152.45 points and on March 18 it closed the day’s trade down 114 points.

Charting Thursday’s trade, an analyst said that the market opened with a downside gap due to geo-political tensions in the Middle East and later witnessed heavy sell-off partly because of March F&O (future and options) expiry.

“Global concerns had a cascading impact to the expiry day on which India was already consolidating,” said Vinod Nair, head – Fundamental Research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.

According to Nair, as per historical trend, April is likely to have a volatile start given the negative performance in March.

“At this good year, the current return during Jan-Feb 2015 is whooping 6.7 percent, investors have therefore taken this opportunity to book profit,” Nair added.

Dipen Shah, head of private client group research, Kotak Securities, said there are no immediate triggers for the markets on the domestic front and, hence, markets may continue to be dictated by global factors.

“Quarterly results are also expected to be subdued. Further action on the fiscal or monetary front, if any, can give some upside to the market,” Shah said.

All sector-based indices of the BSE closed the day’s trade in the red except for the capital goods index.

The S&P BSE bank index plunged 528.01 points, healthcare index plummetted by 330.89 points, information technology (IT) index was lower by 303.47 points, automobile index declined by 285.49 points, metal index decreased by 213.80 points, and TECK index dropped by 129.09 points.

The S&P BSE FMCG index also closed the trade in the red. It was down 111.15 points, oil and gas index was lower by 103.82 points and consumer durables index fell by 88.20 points.

However, the S&P BSE capital goods index was up 12.90 points.

The major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Bharti Airtel, up 0.98 percent at Rs.398.70; GAIL, up 0.45 percent at Rs.381.80; Hero MotoCorp, up 0.29 percent at Rs.2,603; and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), up 0.18 percent at Rs.1,636.

The losers were: HDFC, down 5.32 percent at Rs.1,283.20; Wipro, down 4.01 percent at Rs.633.90; Sesa Sterlite, down 3.90 percent at Rs.188.55; Infosys, down 3.30 percent at Rs.2,144.45; and State Bank of India (SBI), down 3.18 percent at Rs.256.90.

Among the Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei went down by 1.39 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed lower by 0.13 percent. However, China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained by 0.59 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was down by 1.03 percent, France’s CAC 40 was lower by 1.15 percent and Germany’s DAX Index lost 1.46 percent at the closing in the Indian markets.

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