Markets ended nearly 2% lower, amid weak global cues, dragged by index heavyweight Reliance Inds along with financials, capital goods and FMCG shares.
The 30-share Sensex ended at 19,325 down 317 points or 1.62% and the 50-share Nifty ended at 5,852 down by 91 points or 1.53%. The Sensex and the Nifty reached an intra-day low of 19,318 levels and 5,845 mark, respectively.
On the global front, the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s Jan. 29-30 meeting showed policy makers were divided about the strategy behind Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s program of buying bonds, amid hints of premature withdrawal of stimulus.
Most risk assets slid to 2013 lows on Thursday with sentiment rattled by overnight market talk of a hedge fund liquidating big positions in commodities, as well as worries the US Federal Reserve could prematurely wind down its bond buying programme.
European markets are seen following Asia lower, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX would open down as much as 0.7%. US stock futures were down 0.1% to suggest a weak Wall Street start.
Back home, markets were jittery as the crucial Budget session of Parliament began today with the United Progressive Alliance government set to face a stiff challenge because of the controversies surrounding the chopper deal.
On the sectoral front, BSE Metal index and Bankex slumped by 3% followed by counters like Realty, Capital Goods, Oil & Gas, PSU and Auto, all falling down by nearly 2% each. Sectors like FMCG, IT, Power and Healthcare declined by 1% each. Apart from Consumer Durable, all the major BSE sectoral indices ended in red zone.
Metal shares like Jindal Steel, Tata Steel, Sterlite and Hindalco melted between 2-4%
According to Mudit Goyal, technical analyst, SMC Global, “Metal stocks can remains under selling pressure in near term. Avoid making long at current levels. Short Hindalco for 100-95 levels, Sesa Goa for 155-150 and Jindal Steel & Power for 330-320 levels.
Financial shares like ICICI Bank, SBI, HDFC Bank and HDFC slipped between 1-4%. Banks and financial institutions remained closed on the second day of two-day nationwide bandh called by major trade unions to protest against the anti-labour policies of the government.
Capital Goods majors like L&T and BHEL fell over 2% each.
Index heavyweight Reliance Inds lost over 2% on account of profit booking. ONGC declined by 3%.
From the Auto space, Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and M&M slipped between 1-3%.
Other notable losers included CIL, Infosys, HUL, ITC and DRL.
The broader indices were in line with the benchmark indices– BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices were down by almost 2%.
The market breadth in BSE ended unhealthy with 1,910 declining and 918 shares advancing.
Videocon Inds spurted 5% on news that ONGC is in talks to buy the company’s 10% stake in a giant gas field off Mozambique.
Alok Industries slipped nearly 2% as the company decided to part ways with London-based Savile Row Co.
SKS Microfinance slumped over 4% at Rs 140.40 as insurance regulator IRDA imposed Rs 50 lakh penalty on the company which collected extra funds, apart from the premium, as a corporate insurance agent without proper disclosure to policy-holders.
Shriram Transport ended down 8% at Rs 699. US private equity firm TPG Capital has raised $305 million by selling about half of its stake in commercial vehicle financier Shriram Transport Finance Co