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Market gets cold feet on growth worries, Sensex sinks 285 pts


Mumbai : Pulling back from a two-week high, the benchmark Sensex today broke its 4-day winning spell by falling over 284 points after the government lowered its economic growth forecast for 2015-16 to 7-7.5 per cent.

The commodity rout, including that of oil, only added to the anxiety level, which saw most Asian markets turning weak. With shares linked to commodities again taking a hammering and a lower opening in Europe, sentiment moved south.

The government today lowered its economic growth forecast for 2015-16 to 7-7.5 per cent from the earlier 8.1-8.5 per cent, but said budget deficit target will be met as higher tax revenues offset a shortfall in PSU stake sale.

The gauge after opening lower stayed in the negative terrain during the session and finally ended 284.56 points, or 1.10 per cent, down at 25,519.22 following profit-booking in recent gainers. Intra-day, it moved between 25,481.51 and 25,789.51.

The index had risen about 760 points in the past four sessions.

For the week, both indices – BSE and NSE – gained 1.89 per and 1.99 cent, their biggest since October 9.

The 50-share NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,800-mark by sliding 82.40 points, or 1.05 per cent at 7,761.95 after shuttling between 7,753.35 and 7,836.15.

In the previous three sessions, the markets rose largely in tandem with a firming trend overseas after the US Fed, as expected, hiked rates by 0.25 per cent, a hint that the economy is strengthening.

Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 28 ended with losses and 2 finished higher.

Investors after remaining buyers in the past four sessions were seen booking profits in heavy-weight stocks, brokers said.

Stocks of software exporters bore the brunt during the session after the US Congress imposed a special outsourcing fee of up to USD 4,500 on H-1B and L-1 visas, which are popular among Indian IT companies, to fund a 9/11 healthcare Act and biometric tracking system.

In the IT segment, Infosys, TCS and Wipro ended lower by up to 1.90 per cent, dragging down the sectoral indices by 1.31 per cent.

Others that weighed on the indices include Vedanta Ltd, Lupin, SBI, Hindalco, RIL, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto and Dr Reddy’s.

On the sectoral front, the BSE Metal fell 0.89 per cent, banking 0.88 per cent, healthcare 0.70 per cent and auto 0.69 per cent.

However, it was a mixed scene in broader markets, with the mid-cap index climbing 0.08 per cent and the small-cap one shedding 0.24 per cent.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net bought shares worth Rs 638.01 crore yesterday, according to provisional data.

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