Sensex posts biggest fall this month; slumps 202 points
Mumbai, March 13 : A benchmark index for Indian equities markets fell 202 points Wednesday, the biggest slump this month, due to selling pressure in interest rate sensitive auto, banking and consumer durables stocks.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the negative at 19,511.97 points, closed at 19,362.55 points, down 1.03 percent or 202.37 points from its previous day close at 19,564.92 points.
This is the third consecutive day of decline in the benchmark index. The Sensex lost 81.29 points Tuesday. This is also the biggest fall in the benchmark Sensex this month.
The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX NIFTY of the National Stock Exchange also dropped sharply for the third straight day. The NIFTY slumped 1.06 percent or 62.90 points at 5,851.20 points.
Interest rate sensitive banking and consumer durables stocks were under selling pressure for the second day after the government data showed an increase in consumer price based inflation dampening hope for interest rate cuts when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) review monetary policy next week.
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) Tuesday.
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.
Wholesale price index based inflation data is slated to be released Thursday.
The BSE banking index slumped 2.18 percent. Consumer durables index fell 1.57 percent, auto index dropped 1.53 percent and PSU index slumped 1.41 percent.
The major Sensex losers were: Hindalco Inds, down 3.67 percent at Rs.95.85; ICICI Bank, down 3.25 percent at Rs.1,085.85; Bajaj Auto, down 3.16 percent at Rs.1,893.40; Maruti Suzuki, down 3.07 percent at Rs.1,373.40; and Jindal Steel, down 2.84 percent at Rs.354.60.
Only six of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the positive. Sun Pharma, up 1.25 percent at Rs.837.75; ITC, up 0.89 percent at Rs.301.50; Bharti Airtel, up 0.76 percent at Rs.317.60 and Hindustan Unilever, up 0.59 percent at Rs.446.70 were among the prominent Sensex gainers.