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Sensex plunges over 855 points; as global cues weigh heavy

Mumbai, January 6: A benchmark index of the Indian equities markets plunged to one of its biggest single–day losses as negative intertiol cues such as weakness in global crude oil prices and on–going Greek crisis subdued investor sentiments. The 30–scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) ended Tuesday’s trade down 855 points or more than three percent. Tuesday’s fall was one of the biggest so far — only lesser than the slump suffered July 6, 2009, when the Sensex dumped 869.65 points on US Fed tapering concerns

The Tuesday’s downfall came as emerging markets world over tumbled on fears of continued weakness in crude oil prices which were down to their lowest levels since the last five and a half years. Speculations over Greece’s political turmoil and its aftermath over the country’s future within Eurozone too dampened sentiments.

“There are concerns about the weakness in the global economy (crude prices have been falling sharply) as well as the after–effects of a potential exit of Greece from EU,” said Dipen Shah, head of private client group research, Kotak Securities.

“In the near term, mixed set of quarterly numbers and global volatility are likely to restrict significant gains in markets.” However, Angel Broking’s Lalit Thakkar said that falling crude prices is a positive development for India as it would have a favorable impact on the country’s current account deficit and would curb fuel price inflation in the domestic economy.

“We believe that today’s correction in the market provides a good buying opportunity in the light of momentum of policy reforms and a fall in inflation and on anticipation of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” Thakkar said. “Further, Indian companies are expected to post healthy earnings growth on account of the aforementioned factors, which would be favorable for the domestic equity markets, going forward.”

On the domestic front, investors were concerned over the five–day strike that hit operations of state–owned monopoly Coal India Limited (CIL). The operations were hit as workers launched a five–day tionwide strike against the government’s plans to allow private players in the sector.

All the 12 sector–based indices of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) closed the day’s trade in red. Heavy selling pressure was observed in banking, automobile, capital goods, healthcare, metal, oil and gas, information technology (IT) and consumer durables sectors. The 30–scrip Sensex of the S&P BSE, which opened at 27,694.23 points, closed trade at 26,987.46 points, down 854.86 points or 3.07 percent from the previous day’s close at 27,842.32 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 27,698.93 points and a low of 26,937.06 points during intra–day trade. Sector–wise, S&P bank index plunged by 659.27 points, capital goods index fell by 514.36 points, automobile index dropped by 505.04 points, oil and gas index was lower by 413.61 points and healthcare index dropped by 391.60 points.

Other sector–based indices which came under heavy selling pressure were S&P metal index which went down by 381.33 points, consumer durables index slid by 304.67 points and IT index dipped by 268.39 points. The wider 50–scrip Nifty of the tiol Stock Exchange (NSE), too, closed three percent or 251.05 points down at 8,127.35 points.

Majority of the 30–scrip comprising Sensex fell. The major losers were: ONGC, down 5.89 percent at Rs.332.45; Sesa Sterlite, down 5.09 percent at Rs.208.65; Tata Steel, down 4.88 percent at Rs.396.30, HDFC, down 4.69 percent at Rs.1,102.45; Reliance Industries, down 4.67 percent at Rs.836.10; BHEL, down 4.45 at Rs.261. Only Hindustan Unilever gained during the day’s trade up 1.89 percent at Rs.775.15. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita

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