Sensex declined by 138 points

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday declined by 138 points as investor sentiment was hit by IT bellwether Infosys cutting its revenue guidance for the full year, even though industrial output numbers are promising. The 30-share Sensex opened lower but bounced back for a brief time after the news of recovery in industrial production and lower food inflation filtered in. But the recovery was short-lived and the Sensex settled at 16,037.51, showing a net loss of 138.35 points or 0.86 per cent from its last close.

"IT stocks played the spoilsport in the market today. For Infosys, most of the benefit arising from gains in dollar was already factored …. When the company announced a muted guidance, the stock tanked by more than 8 per cent. The impact was seen in other IT majors as well," Milan Bavishi, Research Head, Inventure Growth and Securities said.

Infosys on Thursday posted a higher-than-expected 33.25 per cent growth in net profit to Rs 2,372 crore for the third quarter of the fiscal, but a downward revision of its full-year revenue outlook due to the euro zone debt crisis overshadowed the earnings. The company forecast dollar revenue growth of 16.4 per cent for the fiscal, down from 17.1 per cent to 19.1 per cent projected in October.

Infosys shares were drubbed as it came under severe selling pressure. The stock at 8.40 per cent was the biggest Sensex loser of the day. The impact was also seen in other IT stocks TCS and Wipro which lost a hectic 3.89 per cent and 2.60 per cent respectively. As a result, the BSE-IT index plunged by 5.96 per cent and was also biggest loser from the sectoral indices.

"Even a better-than-expected IIP data as well as good inflation numbers failed to cheer the market," Shanu Goel Research Analyst-Bonanza Portfolio said. The factory output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), bounced back to a five-month high of 5.9 per cent in November 2011, led by a recovery in manufacturing. It had turned negative negative in the previous month. IIP rising to five-month high level may reverse the negative sentiments in the economy, experts said.

Markets also largely ignored Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s comments indicating that the government will take proactive steps to sustain the growth momentum. "If this trend in the numbers continues, perhaps we can expect to have a better performance (during December-March). But for that, we need to take some proactive actions about which I cannot comment on right now," Mukherjee said in New Delhi.

Petrochem giant Reliance Industries was also down by 1.44 per cent after two days of smart gains. A rise in SBI, HDFC Bank, HDFC, ITC, Tata Steel, Coal India and Tata Motor cusioned the fall to some extent. The total market breadth was positive as second line stocks continued to attract good buying support from retail investors.

The 50-share Nifty of NSE also moved down by 29.70 points or 0.61 per cent to finish at 4,831.25. Meanwhile, barring South Korea, most of the other Asian peers reversed early gains and closed with small losses after China`s inflation data for December raised some doubts about the pace at which Beijing will likely ease its monetary policy. Key indices in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China ended with small losses.

European markets, however, were trading firm in their afternoon deals as investors awaited debt auctions in Spain and Italy as well as a monetary-policy decision from the European Central Bank. The CAC, the DAX and the FTSE were trading up between 0.3 pct and 1.3 pct. Ten out of 30 Sensex components concluded in the red while 20 ended in the green. L&T at 1.25, BHEL at 0.89 per cent and ONGC at 0.56 per cent. SBI at 2.03 per cent, Hindalco at 1.81 per cent, Tata Power at 1.72 per cent, Coal India at 1.66 per cent, Tata Steel 1.46 per cent, Bajaj Auto at 1.39 per cent were among the Sensex gainers.