Sensex sheds 612.56 points, closes at 17,526

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Mumbai, Feb 7: The Sensex today plunged by 612.56 points on the Bombay Stock Exchange, closing at 17,526.93 on heavy offloading by Foreign Institutional Investors (FII's) and domestic investors and bearish phase in global markets.

The major pivotal counters plunged for the second consecutive day today, weighed down by weak sentiments in global markets. A strong GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal and a surge in domestic liquidity, failed to provide any respite for the markets. The 30-share BSE Sensex slumped by 612.56 points or 3.38 per cent (pc) at 17,526.93. Sensex shed 647.21 points at the day's low of 17,492.28, hit in late trade, and touched a high of 18,198.68 in the initial trade. At day's high, it rose 59.19 points.

The broader CNX S&P Nifty index of NSE also crashed steeply by 189.3 points or 3.59 pc at 5,133.25 from it last close of 5322.55 points.

The current setback on the bourses has materialized despite a boost in liquidity in the secondary markets as investors have started getting refund of excess application money in the heavily subscribed Rs 11000-crore Reliance Power IPO. It, however, remains to be seen how much money from Reliance Power IPO refunds actually comes to the secondary market in the light of immense volatility witnessed on the bourses last month.

Sensex fell below the psychological 18,000 level. Selling was conspicuous in IT, oil&gas, metal, FMCG and realty stocks. All the sectoral indices on BSE were in red. Index heavyweights Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and Larsen&Toubro declined. Reliance Communications fell sharply in late trade.

The market breadth was negative in contrast to a strong breadth in early trade. 29 out of 30 stocks from the Sensex pack were in red.

Cues from European markets, which opened after Indian markets, were negative. Most of the Asian markets were closed today.

India's economy is expected to expand at 8.7 per cent in fiscal 2007/08, slower than 9.6 per cent growth in 2006/07, which was its strongest pace in 18 years, Government's central statistics office (CSO) today said. CSO has pegged manufacturing output growth at an annual 9.4 pc this fiscal compared to 12 per cent growth in the previous year.

European Central Bank (ECB) holds a policy meeting later today, The ECB is widely expected to hold interest rates at 4 pc, and investor focus is likely to be on whether the ECB would keep its vigilance on inflation risks even as signs show that economic growth in the region may be slowing.

BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 6541 crore compared to yesterday's Rs 6308 crore.

Nifty February 2008 futures were at 5,087.35, at a discount of 45.9 points as compared to spot closing of 5,133.25.

The NSE's futures&options (F&O) segment turnover was Rs 40,921.83 crore, which was lower than Rs 42,234.95 crore yesterday.

The BSE Mid-Cap index was down 2.38 pc at 7,781.12, while the BSE Small-Cap was down 2.02 pc at 10,202.63. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.

BSE Metal index was down 4.08 pc to 15,528.84), followed by BSE Oil&Gas index by 4.41 pc to 10,668.66, BSE PSU index by 3.58 pc to 8,350.80, BSE Realty index by 3.69 pc to 10,030.33, BSE Auto index by 2.37% to 4,783.80, BSE Bankex by 2.86 pc to 10,384.77, BSE Capital Goods index by 2.72 pc to 16,120.62, BSE FMCG index by 2.92 pc to 2,125.37, BSE IT index by 2.85 pc to 3,705.30 and BSE Power index by 2.52 pc to 3,782.74, outperforming the Sensex.

Oil&gas stocks plunged. India's largest private sector firm by market capitalization and oil refiner Reliance Industries declined 4.98 pc at Rs 2,425. Cairn India eased 4.9 pc to Rs 199.05, ONGC came down 3.74 pc to Rs 988.50 and Gail (India) by 2.57 pc to Rs 425.10.

Metal stocks also drifted lower on profit booking. Sterlite Industries was down 3.75 pc to Rs 758.50, National Aluminium Company by 3.32 pc to Rs 377.10, Hindalco Industries by 5.63 pc to Rs 163.30, Steel Authority of India, down 4.91 pc to Rs 210.30 and Tata Steel was down 3.51 pc to Rs 771.40.

Software services exporters declined for third day in a row due to a gloomy economic outlook in the United States. Satyam Computer Services was down 4.36 pc to Rs 390.85, Wipro by 3.56 pc to Rs 409.85, Tata Consultancy Services by 1.95 pc to Rs 882.95 and Infosys was down 1.97 pc to Rs 1,480.90.

India's largest private sector bank by assets, ICICI Bank was down 4.13 pc to Rs 1,105.25.

Larsen&Toubro was down3.97 pc to Rs 3,630.45.

India's second largest telecom services provider by revenue Reliance Communications declined 5.51 to Rs 644.05.

However, a few scrips looked up on scattered bull support by local operators. ACC rose 1.03 pc to Rs 772.70 and was the lone gainer from the Sensex pack.


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