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Global cues, profit-booking drag Sensex down by 243 points

Logging the first drop in three days, the benchmark Sensex on Wednesday slumped 243 points led by losses in ITC, ICICI Bank and Tata Motors shares in line with weak global cues amid worries the conflict in Ukraine could worsen.

Besides profit-booking in metal, banking, realty and oil & gas shares, the rupee slumping to near five-month lows of 61.41 (intra-day) against dollar also soured sentiment.

In oil trade, the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery rose 10 cents to USD 97.48 while Brent crude gained 25 cents to USD 104.86 in trades.

The BSE Sensex index, which rose over 427 points in previous two sessions, started the day on a negative note and continued to decline as selling in blue-chips weighed. It settled 242.74 points down, or 0.94 percent, at 25,665.27.

Intra-day, the index touched a high of 25,901.68 and a low of 25,621.85.

Overall, 23 constituents of 30-share Sensex fell while seven like RIL, BHEL, Hero Moto and Hindustan Unilever rose.

The 50-share NSE index Nifty dipped below the 7,700-mark by falling 74.50 points, or 0.96 per cent, to end at 7,672.05 after moving between 7,740.95 and 7,658.95 during the day.

Asian stocks dropped following a sharp fall on Wall Street over fears of a market correction and concerns the conflict in Ukraine could escalate. European indices were down 1-1.4 per cent.

Banking counters, including SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, retreated largely on profit-booking at prevailing levels and worries that a sell-off in government bonds would hit portfolio value of their debt holdings.

The falling trend was cushioned to some extent as IT stocks such as Infosys surged 2.01 per cent and Wipro gained 0.31 per cent as a weaker rupee improves their earnings.

Sectorally, the BSE metal sector index suffered the most by losing 1.90 per cent, followed by Banking (down 1.82 per cent), Realty (1.25 per cent) and FMCG (1.24 per cent). Bucking the overall trend, IT index rose 0.67 per cent.

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