Sensex falls 81 points; banking, realty stocks slump
Mumbai, March 12 : A benchmark index for Indian equities markets fell 81 points Tuesday, closing in the red for the second straight day due to selling pressure in interest rate-sensitive banking, realty and consumer durables stocks as increase in retail inflation dampened hopes of rate cuts.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the positive at 19,675.81 points, ended the day at 19,564.92, down 0.41 percent or 81.29 points from its previous day close at 19,646.21 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 19,697.84 points and low of 19,505.75 points in the intra-day.
The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange fell 0.48 percent or 28.25 points at 5,914.10 points.
Interest rates sensitive banking, realty and consumer durables stocks fell sharply after the government data showed an increase in consumer price based inflation.
Retail inflation measured in terms of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 10.91 percent in February as compared to 10.79 percent in the previous month due to a sharp increase in the prices of vegetables, edible oil and protein-based products, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Also, industrial output showed better than expected 2.4 percent increase in January.
Continued inflationary pressure and revival in factory output gives rise to the speculation that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) might not ease monetary policy during the review March 19.
The BSE consumer durables index fell 1.99 percent. The power index slumped 1.36 percent, the realty index fell 1.24 percent and the banking index closed 0.92 percent lower.
FMCG and auto indices closed in the positive terrain.
Tata Power slumped 3.12 percent at Rs.97.90. Bharti Airtel, down 2.13 percent at Rs.315.20; BHEL, down 2.12 percent at Rs.201.05; HDFC Bank, down 1.79 percent at Rs.643.75; Sterlite Inds, down 1.55 percent at Rs.98.50; and Bajaj Auto, down 1.55 percent at Rs.1955.15 were among the major Sensex losers.
Only nine of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the positive. Hindustan Unilever, 1.16 percent higher at Rs.444.10; Tata Motors, up 0.96 percent at Rs.304.30; Jindal Steel, up 0.62 percent at Rs.364.95; ITC, up 0.59 percent at Rs.298.85; and RIL, up 0.45 percent at Rs.847.50 were among the major Sensex gainers.