Sensex posts biggest fall in seven months; banks hit

The BSE benchmark Sensex today suffered the biggest single day fall in nearly nine months by falling over 317 points to year's lowest level on all-round selling amid weak global cues.

The Sensex tumbled 317.39 points, or 1.62 per cent, to 19,325.36, recording its biggest single day loss since May last year. The index had gained 174.60 in last three sessions.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell below 5,900 level by losing 90.80 points, or 1.53 per cent to 5,852.25, after touching the day's low of 5,844.40.

Brokers said heavy capital outflow before the budget on fears of imposition of taxes to narrow budget deficit and a weak global trend on renewed concerns that US Federal Reserve's policy-tightening moves to reduce liquidity influenced the market sentiment.

"The markets turned distinctively weak today and closed at the lowest levels in 2013. We believe this was largely due to the weakness in global markets," said Dipen Shah, Head of PCG (Private Client Group) Research, Kotak Securities.

The minutes of the last Fed meeting have raised concerns that, the Fed may withdraw the monetary stimulus if there is some improvement in the economic data. This has raised concerns about fund flows across asset classes, including emerging markets, he added.

The US Dow Jones index closed 0.8 per cent down last night while losses at Nasdaq were sharper at 1.55 per cent as foreign investors seen profit booking and taking out money from equities and commodities.

The current fall in domestic markets was led by stocks of metal, banks and realty sectors with 29 stocks of the 30-BSE index kitty ending with losses. GAIL India was the lone gainer by adding 0.09 per cent to Rs 338.10.

The Sensex heavy Reliance Industries dropped 1.78 per cent to Rs 859.20, after a 3.1 per cent surge yesterday. The second-heavy Infosys lost 0.48 per cent to Rs 2,806.75.

Among others, ICICI Bank, Hindalco, Jindal Steel, Larsen and Toubro, Bharti Airtel, BHEL, HDFC Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, State Bank of India and Sterlite Industries fell sharply.

Markets @ 02.30 PM (Reuters)

The BSE Sensex is down nearly 1.5 percent and the 50-share Nifty slips 1.43 percent, heading towards their biggest single day fall since October 8, 2012.

Domestic shares extend fall, tracking weak regional stocks on market talk of a hedge fund liquidating big global positions in commodities and worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve could wind down its bond-buying programme.

ICICI Bank shares fall 3.3 percent and State Bank of India falls 2 percent after RBI data showed that loan growth continues to remain a concern.

Reliance Industries shares fall nearly 2 percent, retreating after a 3.1 percent surge on Wednesday.

ABB shares fall 3 percent after the company reported a 74 percent fall in Oct-Dec net profit at 167.7 million rupees.

Markets @ 09.00 AM (Reuters)

The Sensex falls 0.86 percent and the Nifty slips 0.82 percent. Domestic shares fall in line with weak global shares that fell on market talk that a hedge fund had been liquidating large positions in commodities, as well as worries the Federal Reserve could slow its bond buying program.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan tumbles 1.8 percent, Hong Kong shares slides 1.6 percent while Tokyo's Nikkei stock average falls 1.26 percent.

Bank shares lead the falls a day after RBI data showed that loan growth continues to remain a concern. ICICI Bank shares fall 1.6 percent while State Bank of India falls 0.8 percent.

Banks' advances grew 8.7 percent so far this fiscal year, compared with 11.2 percent a year earlier, while deposit growth was 7.8 percent compared with 11.4 percent in the same period a year earlier.

Shriram Transport Finance Co Ltd shares sink 7 percent after U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital planned to sell part of its stake in the company to raise about $300 million, according to a term sheet seen by Reuters.

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