Sensex closes 142 points lower, Middle East tensions weigh (Roundup)

February 22nd, 2011 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Sensex Mumbai, Feb 22 (IANS) A benchmark index of the Indian equities markets Tuesday closed 142 points lower as weakness persisted on a volatile trading day as political tensions in the Middle East spiked crude prices, weighing down bourses across the globe.The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,390.72 points, closed at 18,296.16 points, down 142.15 points or 0.77 percent from its previous close at 18,438.31 points.

The Sensex’s losses would have been much worse had it not been for index heavyweight Reliance Industries rallying 2.98 percent post its announcement Monday that global energy major BP was to pick up a 30 percent stake in 23 oil and gas fields operated by the Indian oil major.

The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange closed 0.9 percent lower at 5,469.2 points.

Broader markets were also in the red, with the BSE midcap index down 0.85 percent and the BSE small cap index trading 0.73 percent lower.

Capital goods, auto and banking stocks closed in the red. Only two of the 13 sectoral indices - energy and consumer durables scrips - ended in gains.

The market breadth was negative, with 1,125 stocks advancing compared to 1,713 scrips on the decline. A total of 101 stocks remained unchanged.

Among the gainers on the 30-scrip Sensex were: RIL, up 2.98 percent at Rs.985.05; Reliance Communications, up 1.49 percent at Rs.95.10; Sterlite Industries, up 1.42 percent at Rs.167.95; and Reliance Infra, up 0.1 percent at Rs.621.90.

Losers on the benchmark index included Hero Honda, down 3.36 percent at Rs.1,391.05; L&T, down 2.65 percent at Rs.1,609.05; HDFC Bank, down 2.59 percent at Rs.2,143.60; and Jindal Steel, down 2.48 percent at Rs.672.55.

According to data available with market regulator SEBI, foreign institutional investors bought scrips worth $54.12 million Monday.

Asian markets too were ruling lower, weighed down by the tensions in the Middle East.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was ruling 1.92 percent down at 23,033.55 points, while the Japanese Nikkei fell 1.77 percent to close at 10,665.46 points.

Chinese markets too joined the global slump, with a benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite index, slipping 2.09 percent to rule at 2,871.05 points.

A bloody crackdown by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces has left nearly 200 protesters dead as the military reportedly launched an airstrike on the capital Tripoli Monday.

Anti-government protests have spread across Libya, and according to some news reports, the agitators have taken control of some key regions in Libya which house substantial oil reserves. The news sent benchmark Brent crude oil soaring to above $105 a barrel.

Bahrain too saw protests with people asking for a regime change.

The tensions in the Middle East and the consequent rise in crude prices hit the European bourses as well.

Around mid-day, the French CAC 40 was trading 1.56 percent down at 4,033.41 points, while Britain’s FTSE was ruling 1.12 percent lower at 5,947.42 points.

The German DAX was ruling 0.49 percent down at 7,286.08 points.

–Indo-Asian NEws Service
jj/vt

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