Sensex dips over 178 points in opening trade

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Mumbai, May 20 (UNI) Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index today lost over 178 points mirroring the weak sentiments in Asian markets during the opening trade on worries of soaring crude oil prices.

The Benchmark Sensex started the session in red at 17,366.05, 68.90 point below the previous close of 17,434.95 and further lost 178.66 points at day's low of 17256.29 touched in early trade.

The broader-based S&P CNX Nifty index of National Stock Exchange was down 33.7 points at 5,124.

Weak Asian markets and crude oil prices to record above USD 127 per barrel had raised concerns about its impact on consumer spending and corporate profits, brokers said.

Metal stocks rose. Sterlite Industries was up 5.52 per cent to Rs 945, Steel Authority of India was up 2.53 per cent to Rs 190.60, Tata Steel gained 1.48 per cent to Rs 905.25, gained in the early trade. However, Hindalco Industries declined marginally to Rs 203.50.

Reliance Industries declined 0.84 per cent to Rs 2,613. It has reportedly formed an one billion US Dollar joint venture with New York-based Vornado Realty Trust to set up a real estate fund. Larsen&Toubro declined 0.81 per cent to Rs 2,972, Suzlon Energy was down 0.54 per cent to Rs 306.30 System Div. 1,132 and Bharat Heavy Electricals was down 1.41 per cent to Rs 1,770.

State Bank of India declined 1.53 per cent to Rs 1,678. It has reportedly decided to put hold on farm loans for purchase of tractors and other farm equipment, on account of mounting non-performing assets in the farm equipment loan segment.

As per provisional data, foreign funds purchased shares worth a net Rs 475.87 crore on May 16, 2008. Domestic funds bought shares worth a net Rs 392.1 crore on that day.

UNI PP GR SM1145

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