Sensex falls 159 points

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex fell 159 points today to 16,008.34 as investors sold blue-chips such as RIL, Infosys and ICICI amid stiff opposition to the policy reform move of opening multi-brand retail to FDI, and weak cues from European markets because of persisting euro zone debt crisis. Adding to pressures, foreign funds have been continuing with the selling spree. FIIs offloaded shares worth Rs 302.59 crore yesterday, as per the provisional data. They have pulled out Rs 6,151.80 crore (over USD 1.18 billion) in the nine straight sessions since November 15 as per Sebi.

RIL was down 2.30 per cent and contributed 40 per cent to the Sensex fall. Other heavyweights Bharti Airtel, Infosys, ICICI Bank, HDFC, HDFC Bank and Tata Motors too faced the selling pressure. However, rise in ITC, M&M, HUL, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and Cipla restricted the fall. The BSE 30-share index remained in the negative terrain for the most of the day and fell below the 16K mark amid weak cues from the European markets.

It, however, managed to retain the 16k level by closing at 16,008.34 — down 158.79 points or 0.98 per cent. It had risen 471.70 points or 3.01 per cent yesterday. The NSE broader 50-issue Nifty also fell 46.20 points or 0.95 per cent to 4,805.10. Associate VP at Motilal Oswal Securities Parag Doctor said, "Indian markets declined after debate in Parliament was suspended for a third successive day on concern over FDI in multi brand retail. Traders booked profit after a sharp rally yesterday on account of instability in macro and micro factors."

Meanwhile, Senior Research Analyst at Bonanza Portfolio Shanu Goel said, "Jittery sentiments ahead of the release of GDP figures tomorrow resulted in Sensex slipping down from the high." Stocks of realty, banking, refinery, consumer durables and metals bore the brunt of selling, while some of the FMCG, pharma and auto sectors attracted good buying support.

In the broader market, shares of retail companies like Pantaloon Retail, Trent, Vishal, Koutons Retail, Shopper`s Stop and Provogue fell by as much as 12 per cent. Asian equities ended in the green. Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan gained up to 2.30 per cent. European stocks were shaky in the opening ahead of a meeting to resolve the long lingering euro zone debt crisis.

Meanwhile, 20 of the 30 Sensex scrips closed with losses. Bharti was the top loser with a fall of 3.80 per cent, followed by Jindal Steel (3.34 pc), DLF (3.18 pc), Sterlite Ind (2.43 pc), Tata Power (2.23 pc), Tata Motors (2.02 pc), ICICI Bank (1.85 pc), HDFC (1.50 pc), HDFC Bank (1.45 pc), ONGC (1.43 pc), Infosys (1.41 pc), Maruti (1.23 pc), Hindalco (1.17 pc) and SBI (1.15 pc).

However, Bajaj Auto rose 2.06 pc, M&M (1.60 pc), HUL (1.25 pc), HeroMoto (1.24 pc) and Cipla (1.14 pct). Sectorally, BSE-Realty tumbled 2.32 per cent, Bankex (1.91 pc), Oil&Gas (1.84 pc) and Consumer Durables (1.39 pc). The total market breadth on the BSE turned negative with 1,515 counters losing ground, as against 1,219 finishing with gains. The total turnover declined slightly to Rs 1,895.70 crore from Rs 1,909.26 crore Monday.