Sensex drops 500 points in opening trade

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Mumbai, Mar 31: The sensitive index of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) slipped nearly 500 points below 16,000 level in the opening trade following weak performances in the Asian markets. The benchmark indices retreated in opening trade on negative cues from global markets. Asian markets were in red on negative note in the US market.

Sensex dropped 493.72 points to a low at 15,877.57 on profit booking interest in the selected pivotals in the early trade. After opening with a negative gap of 144.63 points at 16,226.66 from its previous close of 16,371.29, it skid further into deep red. The broader based S&P CNX Nifty index of National Stock Exchange was down over 100 points at 4,841.95 in the early trade.

However, the market breadth was positive. In BSE, 1,066 shares advanced as compared to 727 that declined and 30 shares remained unchanged. IT pivotals declined on selling pressure. Infosys Technologies slumped 5.10 per cent to Rs 1449 on 32147 shares. It was the top loser from the Sensex pack.

Other index heavyweights like Reliance Industries lost 2.66 per cent to Rs 2288.70 on 1.23 lakh shares, ICICI Bank was down by 3.86 per cent to Rs 803, HDFC Bank dropped by 3.14 per cent to Rs 1357.10 and DLF came down 2.40 per cent to Rs 679.

The sharp rise in inflation has been a cause of great concern. It has now gone above the Reserve Bank of India's caution limit of five per cent. Inflation based on wholesale price index had surged to 14-month high at 6.68 per cent from the previous week's 5.92 per cent.

As per provisional data, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased shares worth Rs 401.95 crore on last Friday. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers of shares worth Rs 729.50 crore on that day.

FIIs were net sellers of Rs 132.21 crore in the futures&options segment on last Friday. They were net sellers of index futures to the tune of Rs 366.53 crore and bought index options worth Rs 406.38 crore. They were net sellers of stock futures to the tune of Rs 184.53 crore and bought stock options worth Rs 12.47 crore.

UNI

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