Sensex falls 243 points at 17,675

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex snapped 4-day winning streak and fell 243 points at 17,675.85 as RBI refrained from cutting key lending rates and investors turned cautious ahead of the Union Budget on Friday. Markets were also impacted by uncertain political situation arising out of Trinamool Congress Chairperson Mamata Banerjee, a key government ally, seeking the removal of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi after he proposed hike in fares in Rail Budget on Wednesday.

Banking, consumer durables, realty and capital goods sectors faced selling pressure after the Reserve Bank left interest rates unchanged. RBI kept the repo rate, at which it lends to banks, unchanged at 8.5 per cent after a mid-quarter review of the monetary policy. The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer lost 243.45 points, or 1.36 per cent to close at 17,675.85 after touching a low of 17,622.13 points. In last four sessions, it had gained over 773 points. Overall, 21 of the 30 stocks closed with losses.

The NSE 50-issue Nifty dipped below the 5,400 level, down 83.40 points or 1.53 per cent at 5,380.50. Meanwhile, Economic Survey 2011-12 tabled in Parliament said the economy is estimated to grow 6.9 per cent in 2011-12. However, its projecting higher economic growth of 7.6 per cent for the next fiscal did not lift the investor mood.

"Markets were expecting a rate cut from the central bank and hence were disappointed by the announcement of status quo. Banking stocks were the worst hit as they tanked in unison on the policy announcement," said Bonanza Portfolio. Besides, it added that the Survey`s projecting the industrial-sector growth during FY`12 to be between 4-5 per cent further hit the sentiment.