Sensex down 295 pts on profit booking after 5 days of gain

Mumbai, Feb 18 (PTI)The BSE benchmark Sensex today tankedover 295 points to close at 18,211.52, breaking five days ofwinning run, with realty and auto stocks leading the fall asinvestors booked profits amid mixed global markets.

Marketmen said the sentiment was also affected by thewidening probe in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, pullingdown ADAG firm RCom by nearly 7 per cent.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex, which ralliednearly 1,045 points during the five-session bull-run, fellsharply by 295.30 points, or 1.60 per cent to close at18,211.52 after touching a low of 18,159.82 largely on fag-endsell-off.

The gauge gained nearly 186 points at one stage to hit ahigh of 18,690.97 points on the back of sustained surge inrealty, banking and oil and gas sector stocks supported byeasing inflation.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty alsolost 87.50 points, 1.58 per cent to 5,458.95, after touchingthe day''s low of 5,441.95.

Marketmen said emergence of profit-taking by funds aswell as retail investors after witnessing significant gains inmainly dampened the trading sentiment.

Retail investors, who had been extending support to themarket in the past few sessions, turned cautious and reducedtheir portfolio ahead of the monthly expiry next week and thegeneral Budget for the financial year 2011-12.

In 30-BSE index components, 25 stocks ended with losseswhile 5 closed higher.

Stocks of RCom tumbled 6.80 per cent to Rs 93.15 onmassive selling, triggered by ongoing CBI probe into the 2Gspectrum allocation scam.

The realty sector index suffered the most by falling4.04 per cent to 2,052.11 followed by auto sector index by2.39 per cent to 8,717.71.

The oil and gas index plunged 2.09 per cent to 9,329.99and capital goods sector index by 1.97 per cent to 13,132.51.

The banking index fell by 1.73 per cent to 12,419.72 aslargest lenders State Bank of India and ICICI Bank sufferedfresh losses.

With the selling spread over a broad front, the small-capindex closed 2.35 per cent lower at 8,128.91 points, whilemid-cap index shed 1.98 per cent to 6,661.65.

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