Sensex down 142 points: metal, banking shares hit

Mumbai: Ignoring positive cues on inflation and exports front, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday dropped 142 points with investors booking profit, particularly in banking and metal stocks, amid global crude prices showing rising trend again.

After opening on a lower note, the 30-share Sensex remained down throughout the day and closed down by 141.97 points, or 0.77 per cent, at 18,327.98 points.

The NSE`s Nifty also fell by 36.60 points to 5,494.40.

Metal stocks were the worst performer as metal prices fell in London Metal Exchange (LME) yesterday on concerns over high crude oil prices which may derail global economy.

Tata Steel fell by 2.59 per cent, while Hindalco lost 1.72 per cent. JSW Steel dipped by 2.93 per cent.

Banking counters too declined on expectations of more monetary tightening by Reserve Bank of India.

India`s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank lost 1.87 per cent. Country`s largest public sector bank State Bank of India shed 1.63 per cent.

Sluggish global cues also weighed on the market sentiment. Asian indices closed lower between 0.56 per cent and 1.47 per cent due to lower Chinese trade data as well as rising global crude oil prices.

European markets too were trading lower in their afternoon deals after Moody`s cut its rating on Spanish sovereign debt. The CAC was down by 0.56 per cent, the DAX by 0.78 per cent and the FTSE by 0.70 per cent.

The unrest in North Africa and the Middle East has pushed global crude prices to their highest levels since 2008 as markets factored in a disruption in supplies from Libya and potentially other major producers.

Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) continued their buying spree and they purchased shares worth Rs 131.17 crore on March 9 as per provisional data.

All sectoral indices, barring BSE-Realty, finished with losses. The BSE-Metal index dropped by 1.30 per cent and the Bankex by 1.16 per cent.

Overall, 21 out of 30 index-based scrips lost ground while others closed with gains. Major losers from Sensex pack were Tata power (2.91 per cent), TCS (1.52 per cent), Bajaj Auto (1.26 per cent), NTPC (1.24 per cent), HUL (1.00 per cent), Jaipra Asso (1.00 per cent), L&T (0.99 per cent) and RIL (0.95 per cent).

Meanwhile, food inflation fell to single digit at 9.52 per cent for the week ended February 26 from 10.39 per cent in the previous week.

India`s exports crossed the USD 200 billion mark in the first 11 months of 2010-11, driven by a 50 per cent jump in outward shipments in February on the back of rising demand from the US and other markets.

The total market breadth turned negative as 1,549 shares ended with losses and 1,273 shares finished with gains at BSE.

The total market turnover declined to Rs 2,995.69 crore from Rs 3,435.47 crore yesterday.