Sensex falls 140 points for 4th week

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark sensex continued its downslide for the fourth week in a row, dropping by another 140 points to finish at 16,152.75 due to persistent selling pressure in view of various negative external as well as internal factors. Global debacle on euro-zone worries amid weakening rupee to a fresh historic low cast a pall over the benchmark sensex which tumbled below 16K-mark after four months.

The main reason for the world stock markets disaster was Greece which failed to form a government would force new elections in the country amid concerns that elections will ultimately lead to the country leaving the euro zone, sending global stocks to a tail-spin. Asian shares fell steeply on euro-zone debt worries after more signs emerged of growing instability among Spanish banks and political turmoil in Greece, with the latest sluggish economic data from the United States adding to the list of risks for investors.

Internal factors like rise in inflation (WPI), retail inflation and fiscal deficit amid falling Indian rupee to a new historic low further aggravated the situation. High inflation dashed hopes of rate cut by the central bank. Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), moved up to 7.23 per cent in April from 6.89 per cent in March on account of spurt in prices of vegetables, meat, milk and pulses, although onion and fruits showed a declining trend. Retail inflation also spurted to double digit mark to 10.36 per cent in April from 9.38 per cent in March.

Fresh capital outflows too added to the woes, a broker said, adding that more outflows are expected in near term looking at the bearish tone of the market. Sustained fall in the rupee to a new historic low to 54.91 during intra-day trading also hurt the market sentiment as importers continued to bear the brunt as depreciating rupee raises import costs, thereby impacting their bottomline.

The BSE 30-share barometer resumed higher at 16,318.36 but declined afterwards to a 19-week low of 15,809.71, before bouncing back on excellent SBI Q4 results announced Friday to settle at 16,152.75, still showing a loss of 140.23 points or 0.86 per cent from its last weekend`s level. Similarly, the NSE broad-based Nifty also touched a low of 4,788.95, before recovering to settle at 4,891.45, still showing a loss of 37.45 points of 0.76 per cent. Selling was seen in auto, consumer durable, power, refinery, PSU, capital goods and banking sectors.

However, FMCG counters were in demand after weather department early this week forecast that the southwest monsoon will arrive in time. Fall in heavyweights like Tata Motors, BHEL, Maruti Suzuki, Hindalco, Coal India, HDFC Bank, ONGC, HDFC, NTPC, Tata Steel and few others mainly weighed on the Sensex. Contrary to the market sentiment, country`s second software exporter Infosys ended with 3.18 per cent gains after a member of company`s board yesterday said early signs of business picking up in the world`s largest economy US.

Construction and engineering giant from capital goods, L&T also spurted by two per cent after strong Q4 results and also robust future outlook. Country`s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) ended higher by 4.85 pct as bank reported a forecast beating net profit of Rs 4,050 cr for the fourth quarter (Jan-Mch) of FY12 as against Rs 21 cr a year ago, aided by higher interest income and lower provisioning for non-performing loans.

The current situation indicated that operators and retail investors are still wary about the present uncertain scenario and preffered to stay away from the market or book profits even at current lower levels, trying to shift away from riskier assets like stocks. Major losers from the sensex pack were Tata Motors (12.54 pct), BHEL (8.93 pct), Maruti (5.58 pct), Hindalco Ind (4.85 pct), Coal India (3.59 pct), Bharti Airtel (3.19 pct), Tata Steel (2.89 pct), ONGC (2.32 pct), Wipro (2.50 pct), NTPC (2.09 pct), TCS (1.63 pct) and Tata Power 1.51 pct.

Among the major indices, the BSE-Auto fell by 5.60 pct followed by the BSE-Consumer Durable 2.83 pct, the BSE-IPO 2.52 pct, the BSE-Power 2.30 pct, the BSE-Oil&Gas 1.09 pct, the BSE-PSU 1.04 pct and the BSE-Capital Goods 1.03 pct and the Bankex 1.00 pct. However, the BSE-FMCG rose by 1.72 pct followed by the BSE-Healthcare by 0.66 pct and the BSE-IT 0.55 pct. The total turnover at BSE and NSE dropped to Rs 9,325.12 cr and Rs 49,556.42 cr respectively from the last weekend`s level of Rs 10,116.53 cr and Rs 52,549.60 cr.