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Sensex ends below 29K, down 117 pts; banks, cap goods drag

16:07

The News International Team

It was another lacklustre session for the market on Wednesday as the Sensex ended below the 29000-mark, weighed down by banks, capital goods and select auto stocks.

The 30-share BSE Sensex declined 117.03 points to 28883.11 and the 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 32.85 points to 8723.70, continuing weakness for the fourth consecutive session while the broader markets closed flat.

Investors started booking profits due to disappointing earnings from banks but every dip should be a buy, say experts.

There have been too many earnings disappointments for the December quarter, leading some investors to question if the India story has been hyped, says Manishi Raychaudhuri, MD and Asian Equity Strategist at BNP Securities.

He adds that the Indian economy had already bottomed out four quarters ago and that growth prospects look much better compared to other economies.

Axis Bank was the biggest loser on Sensex again, down 4.4 percent. Its rival State Bank of India was down 2.4 percent and ICICI Bank fell 0.5 percent while HDFC Bank wiped out all its gains in late trade to close flat with negative bias.

Public sector lender Canara Bank gained 3 percent on reporting 60 percent growth in profit due to higher other income and lower provisions.

BHEL shed 4 percent followed by L&T, TCS, Reliance Industries, HUL and Maruti Suzuki with 1-2 percent. Tata Motors lost 1.7 percent after disappointing Jaguar sales in US in January (also ahead of earnings tomorrow) while Bharti Airtel declined over a percent ahead of Q3 earnings that will be announced later in the day today.

However, ONGC was among the top gainers on the Nifty, up 2.55 percent. CNBC-TV18 learnt that the government is moving to iron out the subsidy sharing formula and fast track the ONGC divestment. Sources say, the oil ministry asked the government not to impose any subsidy burden on upstream companies if crude prices stayed at or less than USD 60 per barrel.

Cairn India gained 3.5 percent in addition to 4 percent rally in previous session post 19 percent jump in crude oil prices in last 4 sessions.

Metals & mining stocks like Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Coal India and Hindalco Industries saw huge buying interest today, up 2-3 percent.

Tata Power spiked 3 percent after reporting profit at Rs 198 crore (led by forex gain of Rs 421 crore) during October-December quarter against loss of Rs 74.91 crore in the year-ago period.

Among others, Sun Pharma and Infosys were up 1-2 percent.

In the broader space, pharmaceutical firm Wockhardt surged 9 percent on showing a 14 percent increase in profit at Rs 347 crore led by strong operational income and other income. Revenue rose 11.8 percent (up 34.3 percent Q-o-Q) to Rs 1,382 crore, which indicated that numbers started stabilising despite USFDA issues in US.

Kirloskar Oil surged 15 percent on signing agreement with Rolls-Royce to build emergency gensets for nuclear plants in India. DB Realty gained 6 percent as real estate company commenced construction of Orchid Heights sale towers. Force Motors spiked 20 percent as BMW will partner with company for sourcing of components.

About 1344 shares advanced while 1563 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, global markets were a mixed bag today. Asian markets like Nikkei gained 2 percent while Shanghai fell 1 percent. European markets like Germany’s DAX, Britain’s FTSE, and France’s CAC declined around 0.5 percent (at the time of closing of Indian equities).

In commodities, crude oil prices dropped on profit booking. Brent crude March futures lost 2 percent to USD 56.73 a barrel and WTI crude was down 2.87 percent to USD 51.53 a barrel (at 16 hours IST).

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