Fag end selling pulls sensex down by over 283 pts

Mumbai: After moving in a narrow range till late afternoon, selling at the fag-end mainly in realty, metal and banking stocks due to weak European opening pulled the benchmark sensex down from its seven-month high logged early today and settled lower by over 283 points at 18,145.25, breaking two days of rising trend.

Profit-booking by operators as well as retail investors, after recent decent bull run, ahead of the expiry of February contract tomorrow also weighed on the market sentiment, a broker said. Realty, consumer durable, metal banking, power, PSU and capital goods counters were bore the brunt of heavy selling.

Country`s largest state-owned bank State Bank of India (SBI) suffered the most and was the top lower from the sensex pack with a drop of 7.91 per cent on reports that the bank has committed to provide loan of around Rs 1,200 crore to debt laden Kingfisher airlines. It alone has extracted more than 60 points from the sensex.

Fall in other index-based counters like ICICI Bank, HDFC, RIL, Bharti Airtel, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, Sterlite Ind, L&T, DLF, BHEL and Hindalco also together washed out almost 200 points from the sensex. The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share indicator initially touched a 7-month high of 18,523.78 and moved in a very restricted range till afternoon.

But selling afterwards pulled it down to settle at 18,145.25, showing a fall of 283.36 points or 1.54 per cent. In last two days, it had risen by 274.62 points or 1.51 pct. The NSE 50-issue Nifty also tumbled by 101.80 points or 1.82 per cent to 5,505.35.