Sensex loses 332 points to close below 18,000 (Roundup)

May 23rd, 2011 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Sensex Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets Monday closed 332 points lower, ending below the 18,000-level and also lowest in two months as traders off-loaded stocks amid negative global cues and the spectre of rising inflation.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,269.06 points, closed at 17,993.33 points, down 332.76 points or 1.82 percent from its previous close at 18,326.09 points.

It had fallen to an intra-day low of 17,971 points.

Two major foreign banking majors, Goldman Sachs and Barclays predicted in separate reports that inflation will remain on the higher side in India and that the Reserve Bank of India is likely to hike interest rates by 75 basis points in the next periodical monetary policy review.

Over the weekend Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too said that inflation could continue to be high due to rising global commodity prices.

The 50-scrip S&P; CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange shut shop at 5,386.55 points, down 1.82 percent.

Broader markets too closed in the negative with the BSE midcap index closing 1.41 percent down and the BSE smallcap index 1.57 percent down.

Capital goods, power, banking, realty and metal stocks were among major losers.

The market breadth was negative with 801 stocks advancing, 1,973 on the decline and 124 unchanged.

The sole gainer on the 30-scrip Sensex was ITC, which moved up 2.29 percent at Rs.190.05.

Among the major losers were: BHEL, down 6.69 percent at Rs.1,935.60; ICICI Bank, down 3.61 percent at Rs.1,006.55, Reliance Infra, down 3.57 percent at Rs.548.15 and Tata Motors, down 3.36 percent at Rs.1,129.50.

Asian markets too closed in losses perturbed by news of latest data showing that Chinese manufacturing sector was slowing down.

The Nikkei of the Japanese stock exchange closed 1.52 percent lower at 9,460.63 points, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended 2.11 percent down at 22,711.02 points.

The Shanghai Composite index of the Chinese markets also closed in the negative at 2,774.57 points, 2.93 percent down.

European markets, too, were ruling in the negative with investors worried after rating agencies downgraded the sovereign debt of Greece and Italy. Also, election losses of the ruling Socialist Party in Italy led to political uncertainty and doubts over the country’s ability to carry out austerity measures.

Britain’s FTSE was down 1.51 percent at 5,858.48 points.

Around midday, the French CAC 40 fell 1.69 percent at 3,923.6 points, while the German DAX was ruling 1.68 percent down at 7,144.55 points.

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