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Market loses way after rail budget, Sensex retreats 113 pts


Mumbai : The rail budget failed to calm the nerves of jittery investors amid a continuing sell-off for the third day as the benchmark Sensex today lost nearly 113 points to close below the psychological 23,000-mark.

Winding up of bets on the last session of the expiry in February derivatives contracts, along with weakness in global markets, added to the nervousness.

Shares of companies linked to the railway sector performed below par as the budget was seen as lacklustre. Kalindee Rail Nirman was down as much as 9.26 per cent, and so were Texmaco Rail (8.78 per cent), Titagarh Wagons (8.40 per cent), Simplex Castings (8.16 per cent), Stone India (5.74 per cent) and BEML (4.06 per cent).

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today proposed increasing capital outlay for the Railways, the world’s fourth-largest rail network, by 21 per cent to Rs 1.21 lakh crore. He kept freight rate and passenger fare unchanged though.

Overseas cues turned negative with a sharp fall in the Chinese market amid persistent foreign capital outflows, which depressed mood further.

A falling rupee only heightened the level of pessimism after it fell to 68.72 against the dollar.

The next major trigger is the Union Budget to be tabled on Monday while the Economic Survey is due tomorrow.

The 30-share barometer started higher, but stumbled soon after the presentation of the railway budget. It closed at 22,976, down 112.93 points, or 0.49 per cent. The gauge had shed almost 700 points in the previous two sessions.

The NSE Nifty was no better as it went below the crucial 7,000-level by falling 48.10 points, or 0.69 per cent, to close at 6,970.60.

“Indian indices shut the day lower dragged down by a disappointing rail budget and February futures and options expiry. Weak global markets and the Indian rupee hitting a fresh 30-month low weighed on the sentiment,” said Gaurav Jain, Director, Hem Securities.

Others that lost included SBI, Tata Motors, GAIL, L&T, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Maruti.

Of the 30 constituents in the Sensex, 21 ended lower and 9 higher.

ONGC, Sun Pharma, HDFC, Coal India and Cipla were among the gainers.

Power, realty, capital goods, banking, auto, IT, technology, oil and gas and consumer durables fell up to 2.19 per cent.

Mid-cap and small-cap indices, in line with the trend, retreated by 1.14 per cent and 0.91 per cent, respectively.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) continued to sell shares worth net Rs 730.99 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Asian equities threw up a mixed picture at the close while European indices climbed in the opening trade.

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