Mumbai, Feb 23 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets Wednesday closed 117 points lower as selling intensified in the last hour of trade.
Banking stocks led the losers pack after indications from a top panel of the Reserve Bank of India that rates might be hiked by 25 basis points in the next periodical review of monetary policy.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,233.77 points, closed at 18,178.33 points, down 117.83 points or 0.64 percent from its previous close at 18,296.16 points.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange shut shop 0.58 percent lower at 5,437.35 points.
Broader markets too ended in a slump with the BSE midcap index closing 0.67 percent down and the BSE small cap index ending 0.31 percent lower.
The market breadth was negative, with 1,209 stocks advancing compared to 1,637 scrips on the decline. A total of 122 stocks remained unchanged.
Banking stocks fell after India’s central bank published minutes of its technical advisory committee meeting which favoured an increase in repo and reverse repo rates by 25 basis points.
IT and realty stocks too were among major losers, while energy scrips ended in gains.
Among the gainers on the 30-scrip Sensex were: Reliance Infra, up 12.24 percent at Rs.698.05; Hero Honda, up 5.45 percent at Rs.1,466.85; Reliance Communications, up 1.47 percent at Rs.96.50 and RIL, up 1.15 percent at Rs.996.35.
Losers on the benchmark index included SBI, down 3.84 percent at Rs.2,622.30; DLF, down 3.29 percent at Rs.220.20; Tata Power, down 2.78 percent at Rs.1,202.95 and Jaiprakash Associates, down 2.04 percent at Rs.83.90.
According to data available with market regulator SEBI, foreign institutional investors bought scrips worth $20.45 million Wednesday.
Asian markets, tracking the overnight weakness at Wall street and weighed down by the soaring prices of crude due to turmoil in the Middle East, closed lower.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 0.36 percent down at 22,906.9 points, while the Japanese Nikkei fell 0.8 percent to close at 10,579.1 points.
Chinese markets too was in a slump, with a benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite index, moving up a meagre 0.25 percent at 2,862.63 points.
A bloody revolt against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has reduced crude output in the country — Africa’s third largest oil producer — by about one-third.
The result has been oil prices shooting up to a two and a half years’ high in some markets like the US, which is among the largest energy consumers.
The tensions in the Middle East continued to plague traders at European bourses, who decided to stay on the sidelines.
Around mid-day, the French CAC 40 was trading 0.1 percent down at 4,046.05 points, while Britain’s FTSE was ruling 0.69 percent lower at 5,955.51 points.
The German DAX was ruling 0.44 percent down at 7,286.2 points.