Blood bath continues; Sensex tumbles by 875.41 pts

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Mumbai, Jan 22: The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), on Tuesday, continued its downward trend and plunged by 875 points before closing at 16,729 points.

Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) recovered from an early steep fall and finally settled 309.50 points or 5.94 per cent down at 4899.30 from its previous close of 5208.80. Soon after resuming the day on a negative note, Sensex sharply slid in the red, shedding more than 2000 points within a minute to hit the lower circut on panic selling across the sector, triggered by slowdown in global markets.

Trading was suspended for an hour at the BSE after the Sensex crossed the circuit limit of 10 per cent. At the time of suspension, the Sensex was quoted at 15,576.30 points in early trade, plunging 11.53 per cent on worries over US Economy heading towards recession, brokers said.

The session resumed again at 1055 hrs and recovered 915.44 points after Finance Minister P Chidambaram made an apeal to investors to stay calm, stating that the fundamentals of Indian economy are strong and less influenced by the global turbulence. But, it seemed that the sentiments were less effective and Sensex witnessed bouts of several ups and downs before settling into a sharp negative zone, brokers opined.

Sensex hit a day's low at 15,332.42 prom its previous close at 17,605.35, marked a record intraday sharp-slide of 2263.93 pts in the aftenoon trade. Similar trends were seen on Nifty index, which tumbled at 4,569.50, a slide of 12.1 per cent during the day trade.

Brokers opined that markets will face considerable hardship to recover the losses in the near future sessions as the global markets are witnessing strong pressure on fears over US Economy heading towards recession.

Margin calls, both by brokers to investors and by exchanges to brokers, added to the selling pressure after a two-day carnage in share prices. Brokers would not let clients make new purchases until margins were topped up on existing trades, and the exchanges also called margins due from brokers, analysts said.

The total turnover on BSE was quite low today, probably as many brokers were unable to trade in the morning as their terminals were shut due to non-payment of margins to the exchange.

BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 6846 crore as compared to Rs 9336 crore in the previous session.

The benchmark Sensex has slid by 4476.83 points or 21.11 pc from its record high of 21,206.77 on January 10, 2008. The broader-based S&P CNX Nifty index was down 1457.80 points or 22.93 pc from its all-time high of 6,357.10 on January 8.

Small-cap and mid-cap indices on BSE have even witnessed more sharp declines as the Mid-Cap index has skid 3043.56 points or 29.70 pc from a record high of 10245.81 on January 8. The BSE Small-Cap index has lost 4210.85 points or 29.57 pc from a record high of 14239.24 on January 8.

All the sectoral indices on BSE registered steep losses today. Oil and Gas index closed down 10.05pc and BSE Realty was down 9.15 pc, followed by bankex, auto, consumer goods, IT and metal indices posting a loss over 4 to 5.5 per cent. Consumer Durables index was down 7.99pc and Power Index declined 6.22pc and underperformed the Sensex.

Oil&Natural Gas Corporation plunged 12.48 pc to Rs 975 on 7.48 lakh shares. It was the top loser from Sensex pack. The stock recovered sharply from day's low of Rs 850. Reliance Industries was down 7.62pc to Rs 2350.35, after day's low of Rs 2120. 18.89 lakh shares were traded on the counter. ICICI Bank was down 3.68pc to Rs 1130, off session's low of Rs 1005.55 and HDFC Bank slumped 3.13pc to Rs 1470.

Among other losers, ITC ended the day 10.50 pc down, Ambuja Cements declined 10.22pc and Hindalco Industries lost 11.42pc.

However, public sector lender Indian Bank soared by 8.07pc and topped the gainers' list. Kotak Mahindra Bank was up 4.17pc, Finolex Cables was up 3.13pc, Nirma was up 2.82pc and Pfizer moved up 2.77pc, slightly negating the bloody session.

UNI

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