Sensex down 295 pts, snaps 5-session gaining streak

Mumbai, Feb 18 (PTI)The BSE benchmark Sensex fell sharplytoday by over 295 points to 18,211.52, as weekend profitbooking across the spectrum pulled down the stock markets amidweak cues from overseas peers and the widening probe in the 2Gspectrum allocation scam.

Both the key indices, Sensex and Nifty, fell by 1.6 percent after decent gains in the past five sessions.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer openedhigher and touched a three-week high of 18,690.97, up by over184 points.

However, it fell back on profit-booking amid weak cuesfrom European markets to settle the day at 18,211.52,displaying a net fall of 295.30 points or 1.60 per cent.

The Sensex had jumped by 1,043.78 points or 5.98 per centin the past five sessions.

Similarly, the 50-issue Nifty of the National StockExchange also dipped by 87.50 points or 1.58 per cent tosettle at 5,458.95.

Selling was so strong that all 13 sectoral indices closedin the negative terrain, down between 4.04 per cent and 0.69per cent with the realty, auto and refinery segments as thepace-setters of the decline.

Marketmen said the overall sentiment was dampened by CBIraids in the offices and residences of top management of DMKfirst-family run Kalaignar TV in connection with the 2Gspectrum scam.

Stocks of RCom tumbled 6.80 per cent to Rs 93.15 onmassive selling, in view of the scam.

Marked fall in ICICI Bank, L&T, RIL, Tata Motor, ONGC,ITC, TCS, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, M&M, HDFC, Infosys Techand SBI mainly weighed on the Sensex.

"After gains in five straight sessions markets endedlower by more than a percent coupled with rise in volumes.

Major laggards were the infrastructure stocks as the concernsover recent scams resurfaced," said Motilal Oswal SecuritiesManager & Analyst � Derivatives Bhavin Desai. .

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