Mumbai/New Delhi :
The benchmark BSE Sensex today dropped by 244 points, its biggest single-day fall in past one month, to close below the key 34,000-mark on the first trading day of 2018 after a late sell-off in auto, banking and IT stocks.
The 50-share Nifty cracked below the 10,500-mark to hit a low of 10,423.10 before settling 95.15 points, or 0.90 per cent down at 10,435.55.
Investors started booking profit at record highs in absence of cues from global markets that remained closed for the New Year holiday. There was accelerated selling, particularly in the last hour of trading dragging the key Sensex from record highs brokers said.
Bouts of buying were, however, seen in power, capital goods, realty, healthcare and consumer durables sector stocks that capped the losses to some extent.
The benchmark index touched a low of 33,766.15 beforesettling down 244.08 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 33,812.75. This is the biggest single-day fall since December 1 when It had lost 316.41.
The gauge had gained 208.80 points to end at an all-time high of 34,056.83 in the last session of 2017 on Friday. Gold prices today ruled flat at Rs 30,400 per ten gram on the first trading day of the year 2018 on scattered deals.
However, silver rose by Rs 120 to Rs 40,100 per kg on increased offtake by industrial units and coin makers. Traders said limited deals from local jewellers mainly kept gold prices unaltered.
The near absence of cues from global markets, which remained closed today on account of New Year Holiday, also influenced the sentiment here.
In the national capital, gold of 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity held steady at Rs 30,400 and Rs 30,250 per ten gram respectively. The precious metal had climbed Rs 175 in Saturday’s trade.
Sovereign followed suit and traded at last level of Rs 24,700 per piece of eight gram in limited deals. On the other hand, silver ready gained Rs 120 to Rs 40,100 per kg, while weekly-based delivery slipped by Rs 50 to Rs 39,170 per kg.
Silver coins however continued to be traded at previous level of Rs 73,000 for buying and Rs 74,000 for selling of 100 pieces.