BSE: Sensex plunges by 71 points

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{image-sensex down_27032008.jpg}Mumbai, Mar 27: Concerns over a weakening US economy and weak global sentiments pushed the 30-scrip sensitive index of BSE down by 71.27 points to close at 16,015 points from its last close of 16086.83 points. Brokers said that as selling pressure gathered steam, equities, barring a select few from the realty, metal and FMCG sectors, plunged sharply and sent the benchmark BSE index Sensex crashing down by over 200 points to a low of 15869.09 around noon. The imminent expiry of March 2008 derivatives contracts caused volatility. Firm European markets aided recovery from lower levels.

In Europe, key indices in UK, France and Germany rose by 0.86 per cent to 1.38 per cent. IT and banking shares fell sharply, whereas FMCG and realty stocks bucked the weak trend. Gains in mid-cap and small-cap stocks led to a positive market breadth. Most of the Asian indices slipped today on worries that there will be more bank write-downs in the US after a prominent analyst lowered first-quarter profit forecasts for four major US banks namely Citigroup, Bank of America Corporation, J P Morgan Chase&Co, and Wachovia Corp. Key indices in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan were down by 0.20 per cent to 5.42 per cent. However, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.21 per cent.

The market here managed a recovery of sorts in afternoon trade, thanks to some strong buying at lower levels in a few frontline stocks. But, the Sensex, despite touching a high of 16111.44, ended the session with a sharp loss of 71.27 points or 0.44 per cent at 16015.56. The National Stock Exchange's 50-stock CNX Nifty ended with a slender gain of 1.40 points at 4830.25 points from its last close.

Thanks to some strong buying in the smallcap space, the market breadth was positive when trade ended today. Out of a total of 2775 stocks traded on BSE, 1493 stocks closed with gains. But, 1223 stocks posted losses and 59 stocks ended unchanged.

Realty, FMCG, power and pharma stocks were in demand. Select metal stocks romped home on a winning note. Information technology stocks went down sharply on sustained selling pressure. Bank, auto and oil stocks were also seen struggling for support today. After a fairly strong display, midcap stocks faced resistance in afternoon trade and gave up their gains. Smallcaps had a good outing. Mirroring the firm trend in the smallcap space, the BSE Smallcap advanced by 1.18 per cent today.

India's largest commercial vehicle maker by sales, Tata Motors, slipped 3.56 per cent to Rs 655.20 on concerns that its borrowing costs may go up due to acquisition funding for Jaguar and Land Rover, which in the short term would impact the net profit of the company.

The American Depository Receipt (ADR) of Tata Motors fell 7 per cent yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange after the deal was announced.

IT major Satyam Computer Services was down by 4.35 per cent, followed by Infosys Technologies by 3.65 per cent and Tata Consultancy Services by 2.95 per cent. PSU bank heavyweight State Bank of India also eased by 3.65 per cent, pharma major Ranbaxy Laboratories dropped by 2.75 per cent and engineering heavyweight Larsen&Toubro also slipped by 2.7 per cent on selling pressure.

Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank lost around a per cent as they settled at Rs 2275 and Rs 834.55 respectively. Maruti Suzuki, Reliance Energy, Tata Steel and HDFC Bank also ended weak. NTPC closed flat.

Suzlon Energy, Unitech and Sun Pharmaceuticals were among the major gainers from the Nifty index. HCL Technologies, Tata Communications and Zee Entertainment finished with sharp losses.

Mahindra&Mahindra gained nearly a per cent. ONGC, Ambuja Cements and Grasim Industries closed with modest gains. Wipro found some support during the closing minutes and finished with a gain of a little over a quarter per cent. ACC and HDFC settled with minor gains.

Top Sensex gainers were Hindalco Industries which was up by 6.61 per cent at Rs 172.50 followed by Hindustan Unilever by 4.10 per cent at Rs 244, Cipla by 2.89 per cent at Rs 211.60, Bharti Airtel by 2.68 per cent at Rs 824.65 and ITC by 2.54 per cent at Rs 200.05.


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