Profit-booking drags markets down

Profit-booking drags markets down
Highlights

Stock markets on Monday registered their biggest fall in the recent weeks as investors preferred to book profits ahead of derivatives settlement and the closing of 2015-16 fiscal year on Thursday.

Sensex sheds 371 points, its biggest fall in five-weeks

Mumbai: Stock markets on Monday registered their biggest fall in the recent weeks as investors preferred to book profits ahead of derivatives settlement and the closing of 2015-16 fiscal year on Thursday. A mixed closing at other Asian markets and absence of cues from the European bourses, which were closed on Monday for a public holiday, too weighed on trading sentiments.

After a four-day break, the markets opened on a strong footing and Sensex touched the day's high of 25,432.94 on sustained foreign fund inflows, but sell-off accelerated towards the afternoon trade. The benchmark index fell below the psychological 25,000-level to touch the day’s low of 24,895.49 due to widespread profit-booking before ending lower by 371.16 points, or 1.46 per cent, to 24,966.40.

Stock exchanges were closed on Thursday and Friday for ‘Holi’ and ‘Good Friday’, respectively. The index had risen 660.19 points in the past four sessions. Meanwhile, the NSE Nifty tumbled 101.40 points, or 1.31 per cent, to 7,615.10 after shuttling between 7,749.40 and 7,587.70. Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 27 lost while NTPC, Bajaj Auto and GAIL finished higher.

Stock of Tata Steel bore the brunt by tumbling 5.23 per cent to Rs 300.05, followed by SBI by 4.24 per cent to Rs 188.45 and Sun Pharma by 4.20 per cent to Rs 811.05. Other laggards included ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, Axis Bank, L&T, BHEL, Maruti Suzuki, Bharti Airtel, Lupin, HDFC Ltd, Cipla, Coal India, Hindustan Unilever, Adani Ports and M&M, falling as much as 3.86 per cent.

Sectorwise, the BSE realty index fell 4.35 per cent, followed by metal 3.92 per cent, consumer durables 3.48 per cent, capital goods 2.08 per cent and healthcare 1.95 per cent, banking 1.92 per cent and auto 1.45 per cent. The small-cap and mid-cap indices were no exceptions, which retreated 1.65 per cent and 1.36 per cent, respectively.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) continued their buying spree as they bought shares worth Rs 976.91 crore on last Wednesday, as per provisional data of stock exchanges. Globally, Shanghai Composite index ended 0.73 per cent down, while Japan's Nikkei rose 0.77 per cent in Asian trade.

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