Sensex falls as Infosys misses estimates, down 351 pts

Mumbai, Jan 13 (PTI)Wiping off yesterday''s gains, the BSEbenchmark Sensex today plunged to 4-month low, losing over 351points to about 19,183, on profit booking after software majorInfosys posted lower-than-expected quarterly results.

Besides, investors remained wary of possible interestrate hike in view of high inflation, although rate of rise infood prices softened a little.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex, which hadgained 337 points in the previous session, fell back by 351.28points to 19,182.82 in a volatile trade. The 30-share indexshuttled between 19,522.38 and 19,136.27.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange indexNifty lost 111.35 points to 5,751.90. It touched the day''s lowof 5,736.70 point level.

Trading sentiment remained bearish on fears of hike ininterest rates to curb rising inflation, and the weak trendwas fanned by the IT bellwether Infosys Technologies''quarterly earnings which were below market expectations.

While banking stocks led the fall on fears that interestrate hike might reduce the lending and earnings, the IT sectorwas the second biggest loser as the second-heaviest on theindex, Infosys, lost the most in 20 months by dropping Rs162.65 to Rs 3,212.30.

Easing of food inflation to 16.91 per cent, for theweek ended January one, from 18.32 per cent in the previousweek, and firming Asian equity markets failed to enthuse themarket sentiment.

The measure has slid 5.4 per cent this year on inflationand interest rate concerns.

All sectoral indices closed with heavy losses. Among the30-BSE index components, 25 stocks declined and four advanced,while Bajaj Auto closed unchanged.

The banking sector suffered the most by losing 3.53 percent to 12,170.03, followed by the IT index by 4.31 per centto 6,444.77. Tech index also lost 2.76 per cent to 3,830.87.

ICICI Bank, the second-largest lender lost Rs 41.50to Rs 1,027.40, HDFC Bank by Rs 63.90 to Rs 2,142.15 and StateBank of India by Rs 104.10 to Rs 2,560.65.

The realty sector index capped the steep fall by rising0.54 per cent to 2,596.31 as Hindustan Construction, a builderof bridges and townships, rose after signing an agreement withthe Gujarat to invest Rs 120 billion to develop a renewableenergy park.

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