Sensex opens 155 points lower on profit-booking

Mumbai, Feb 22 (PTI) The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmarkSensex fell by over 155 points in opening trade today asinvestors locked in gains registered in yesterday''s sessionamid a weak trend on other Asian bourses.

However, an early rally in stocks of Reliance Industries,the most valuable scrip in the 30-share Sensex pack, cushionedthe fall.

The 30-share barometer, which rallied by 226.79 points inyesterday''s volatile session, declined by 155.01 points, or0.84 per cent, to 18,283.30 points in the first few minutes oftrade today as auto, realty and banking stocks succumbed toselling pressure.

In a similar fashion, the wide-based National StockExchange Nifty index slid by 52 points, or 0.94 per cent, to5,466.60 points.

Brokers said profit-booking by market participantsfollowing a 1.25 per cent rise in the Sensex in yesterday''strade influenced the trading sentiment.

A weakening trend on other Asian bourses on continuedconcerns over political tensions in the Middle East alsovitiated the market sentiment, they said.

However, stocks of the most-weighted firm on the Sensex,Reliance Industries, bucked the general trend and rose by 4.68per cent to Rs 1,001.25 after the company announced the saleof a 30 per cent stake in 23 blocks, including the giant KG-D6gas fields, to UK''s BP Plc for USD 7.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng index was down by 1.52per cent and Japan''s Nikkei lost 1.03 per cent in early tradetoday. US markets were closed yesterday.

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