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Sensex breaks 3-day winning spell, edges down 23 pts


Mumbai  :  Markets today failed to carry forward the three-day winning momentum as the benchmark Sensex slipped almost 23 points to end at 24,469.57 due to across-the-board sell-off and monthly derivatives expiry.

There were bouts of volatility in between, which saw engineering, banking, auto and IT stocks come under pressure.

After starting lower, the Sensex closed at 24,469.57, down 22.82 points, or 0.09 per cent.

The index gained 530.18 points in the last three sessions. The broader Nifty ended lower by 13.10 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 7,424.65.

Selling in view of the January series futures and options expiry, depressed corporate numbers so far and mixed global leads all ganged up against markets, brokers said.

At the conclusion of its policy meet, the US Fed kept the door open for more interest rate hikes this year despite the lingering global economic uncertainty, which added to the anxiety level.

L&T plunged 2.72 per cent, Axis Bank 2.06 per cent, BHEL 1.97 per cent, Adani Ports 1.86 per cent and HDFC Ltd 1.67 per cent.

Stocks of Bharti Airtel and ICICI Bank too lost 2.32 per cent and 1.69 per cent, respectively, ahead of their quarterly numbers later in the day.

Other big losers were Hero MotoCorp, Tata Steel, Wipro, Tata Motors, Cipla, Infosys, Maruti Suzuki and HDFC Bank.

Helped by covering-up of short positions, a few stocks such as Hindustan Unilever, M&M, ITC Ltd, RIL and Sun Pharma bucked the trend and ended higher by up to 3.02 per cent, which cushioned the fall.

“The Fed kept interest rates unchanged and acknowledged that the US economy was slowing down… expiry of derivative contracts weighed on the sentiment of the Street,” said Gaurav Jain, Director, Hem Securities.

In Asia, the benchmark Shanghai Composite sank 2.92 per cent, the third straight loss, despite Chinese central bank’s huge cash injection into the financial system.

Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.71 per cent, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.75 per cent.

Foreign portfolio investors remained net sellers as they sold shares worth Rs 366.93 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Sector-wise, capital goods suffered the most by losing 1.72 per cent, followed by banking (0.91 per cent), consumer durables (0.82 per cent) and auto (0.42 per cent).

Selling pressure also dragged down the BSE mid-cap index by 0.36 per cent and small-cap index by 0.04 per cent.

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