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Sensex back in red, down 38 pts; pharma, bank stocks struggle


Mumbai  :  The benchmark BSE Sensex slipped into the red today after a day’s breather, as it dropped over 37 points to 26,552.92 — its seventh fall in last eight sessions — as traders booked profits despite a firming trend in Asia.

Sentiment was hit by muted earnings by some blue-chips so far and sustained capital outflows by foreign funds, brokers said.

Caution prevailed as participants decided to keep their portfolios low ahead of the outcome of the ongoing Bihar assembly elections. The results will start coming in on November 8.

Meanwhile, India’s services sector activity touched an 8-month high in October, driven by a significant rise in new business orders even as growth in manufacturing output eased, a Nikkei survey said.

Late selling was seen in pharma, IT, banking, power and capital goods that wiped off early gains and pulled down the key indices.

Taking cues from Asian markets that tracked overnight gains in the US, the BSE 30-share index after rallying almost 210 points in early trade ended down 37.67 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 26,552.92.

The index had risen 31.44 points in yesterday’s choppy session on value-buying in recently-battered stocks.

The 50-issue NSE Nifty after crossing the crucial 8,100-mark in early trade succumbed to profit-booking and fell to 8,040.20 at the close, a loss of 20.50 points, or 0.25 per cent.

ICICI Bank took the biggest knock as it slumped 2.06 per cent. GAIL fell 1.92 per cent after the company yesterday reported a 66.19 per cent drop in quarterly profit.

Other prominent losers included Sun Pharma, RIL, Lupin, NTPC, Cipla and Infosys.

In the gainers pack, Tata Motors stood out, as it surged 6.02 per cent amid reports that sales of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in the US rose in October.

M&M, Bajaj Auto, Coal India and Hero MotoCorp ended in the positive terrain, limiting the fall.

Nestle jumped 0.21 per cent after the company said samples of newly manufactured instant noddles Maggi have been cleared by the government-approved labs and will start retail sales of the popular snack this month.

Sector-wise, the BSE healthcare index fell the most by losing 0.79 per cent, followed by IT, banking, power and capital goods.

Among the 30-Sensex stocks, 19 ended lower. The mid-cap index, however, continued its upward journey and ended 0.19 per cent higher while small-cap shed 0.33 per cent.

Foreign investors sold shares worth Rs 449.84 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.

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