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Sensex fails to latch on to gains, ends 38 points down

Mumbai: Market was back on shaky ground as the benchmark BSE Sensex washed out early gains and closed lower by 38 points due to some fag-end selling as caution prevailed ahead of the Bihar election outcome on Sunday.

Late sell-off was seen in pharma, IT, banking, power and capital goods, which pulled down the key indices.

Sentiment decidedly remained downbeat, hit by muted earnings by some blue-chips and sustained capital outflows, brokers said.

India’s services sector activity rose to an 8-month high in October, powered by a significant jump in new business orders even as growth in manufacturing output eased, a Nikkei survey said, which contained any further damage.

Taking cues from Asian markets that tracked overnight gains in the US, the BSE 30-share index after rallying almost 210 points in early trade ended down 37.67 points, or 0.14%, at 26,552.92.

The index had risen 31.44 points in Tuesday’s choppy session on value-buying in recently-battered stocks.

The 50-issue NSE Nifty found itself at the receiving end of profit-booking and fell to 8,040.20 at the close, a loss of 20.50 points, or 0.25%.

“Indices opened on a strong note in line with their strong global peers. However, last half hour of selling pressure dragged indices sharply lower as investors seemed worried about the crucial Bihar election result,” said Gaurav Jain, Director, Hem Securities.

ICICI Bank took the heaviest beating as it slumped 2.06%. GAIL fell 1.92% after the company yesterday reported a 66.19% drop in quarterly profit. Sun Pharma, RIL, Lupin, NTPC, Cipla and Infosys too ended in the red.

Among the 30-Sensex stocks, 19 ended lower. On a sectoral basis, the BSE healthcare index plunged the most by losing 0.79%, followed by IT, banking, power and capital goods.

Broader markets offered a mixed picture. The mid-cap index, continued its upward journey and ended 0.19% higher while small-cap shed 0.33%.

Foreign investors sold shares worth Rs 449.84 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Overseas, Europe was trading higher after the European Central Bank (ECB) signalled that it’s ready for more accommodative action.