Equity benchmark Sensex fell over 155 points on Monday to close at 38,667.33 due to a massive sell-off in banking stocks as investors turned cautious on the financial services space. Likewise, the NSE gauge Nifty shed 38 points to close below the psychologically key 11,500-mark.
Starting the session marginally higher, the 30-scrip Sensex soon came under robust selling pressure and fell as many as 472 points in intra-day trade. It swung between a high of 38,873.12 and a low of 38,401.09, before finally closing at 38,667.33, showing a decline of 155.24 points or 0.40 per cent.
The NSE’s 50-share Nifty closed at 11,474.45, falling 37.95 points or 0.33 per cent. On the Sensex chart, Yes Bank was the biggest loser with over 15 per cent drop. Other major losers were IndusInd Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, HDFC and Axis Bank, losing up to 6.84 per cent.
In contrast, Bharti Airtel was the top gainer, spurting 5.29 per cent. IT stocks HCL Tech, TCS and Infosys also finished in the green. In the broader market, the BSE Smallcap index was the worst hit with a drop of 1.17 per cent, followed by the midcap gauge, which fell 1.12 per cent. BSE Largecap too underperformed the benchmark, sliding 0.42 per cent.
Sectorally, bankex suffered the most by dropping 2.62 per cent, followed by finance 2.44 per cent and realty 1.63 per cent. On the other hand, telecom was among the top sectoral gainers, rising 4.60 per cent. IT index rose 2.62 per cent. Of the 19 sectoral gauges compiled by the BSE, 13 closed in the red and six ended higher.
The Indian rupee on Friday had closed at 70.56 against the US dollar. Forex traders said increasing demand for the US dollar vis-a-vis other currencies overseas and rising crude oil prices weighed on the domestic unit. At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened on a strong note at 70.37 then lost momentum and fell to 70.63 against the US dollar, showing a decline of 7 paise over its previous closing.
Opening on a flat note, the Sensex was gripped by volatility as the trade progressed and dived 310.80 points or 0.80 points to trade at 38,511.77 in early deals. While, the Nifty was down 84.05 points or 0.74 points to 11,427.55.
Recent government measures to prop up the slowing economy could not cheer the markets and investors are keenly awaiting the RBI monetary policy for further cues, analysts said. Besides, earnings announcements for the quarter ended September are scheduled to begin next week, which will also decide the market course going ahead, they added.
Analysts also attributed the sluggishness in Indian equities to subdued global cues. Asian stocks ended mixed as investors continued to watch developments on the US-China trade front. Reports said the White House was considering curbs on US investments in China.
The Indian rupee was trading 17 paise lower (intra-day) at 70.75 against the US dollar.