Sensex fall 1% ahead of expiry; software stocks slide

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SensexThe BSE Sensex and Nifty fell over 1 per cent on Thursday, led by profit-taking in software stocks such as Infosys Ltd, while caution also prevailed ahead of the expiry of derivative contracts due later in the day and federal budget on Saturday.

BSE IT index fell 1.3 per cent, after gaining 11.6 per cent year-to-date compared with a 4.7 per cent rise in the benchmark Sensex.

Several traders cite worries that the railway budget on Thursday leans towards populist measures such as not increasing heavily subsidised passenger fares, raising concerns about government`s fiscal deficit.

Falls also tracked lower Asian shares, which edged away from five-month highs on Thursday, while the dollar steadied after slipping on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen`s indication that the U.S. central bank is in no hurry to hike interest rates.

“Railway budget led disappointment would not live for long as Modi`s federal budget would be a big positive,” said G. Chokkalingam, founder of Equinomics, a Mumbai-based research and fund advisory firm.

Investors are expecting the government to unveil innovative ways to propel investments in the country, he added.

The BSE Sensex fell 1.03 per cent, while the broader Nifty lost 1 per cent.

Infosys fell 1.9 per cent while Tata Consultancy Services lost 1.6 per cent.

Among other blue-chips, HDFC Bank fell 1.2 per cent while ITC was down 1.3 per cent.

Railway-related stocks also fell due to lack of details on big investment plans in the railway budget, traders said.

Wagon makers slumped. Titagarh Wagons fell 7.1 per cent, while Texmaco Rail & Engineering lost 7.5 per cent.