Sensex sheds 219 points

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex fell sharply by over 219 points in opening trade today on fresh selling by foreign funds and retail investors, taking cues from weak Asian markets.

The 30-share barometer, which gained nearly 240 points in the previous two sessions, fell by 219.10 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 18,106.99 in the first few minutes of trade today.

Stocks of metals, banking, IT, auto and realty companies were under pressure, dragging down the Sensex.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty index slid by 69.35 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 5,417.

Market experts said the trading sentiment turned bearish amid a subdued trend on other Asian bourses and profit-booking by speculators after two sessions of gains.

In the Asian region, Hong Kong`s Hang Seng index shed 1.73 per cent and Japan`s Nikkei was trading 1.34 per cent down this morning. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.74 per cent lower in the previous session on Friday.