Sensex closes 162 points lower at 38,701 as traders book profits

Mumbai: Equity benchmark indices closed in the negative zone on Monday as heavyweight scrips like Reliance Industries, State Bank of India and ITC came under selling pressure.

While corporates prepared to announce annual results this week, the BSE S&P Sensex closed 162 points down at 38,701. The NSE Nifty 50 slipped 61 points to 11,605.

The markets started on a moderate note following cues from upbeat global markets but continued to slide as the day progressed.

Except IT, all sectoral indices closed in the red. Investors are likely to adopt a cautious approach with general elections due to be held in seven phases beginning on April 11.

Among the prominent losers were Indiabulls Housing Finance and Indian Oil which lost over 4 per cent besides Bajaj Finance, Vedanta and Yes Bank which closed 2 to 3 per cent lower.

Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Mahindra & Mahindra and Power Grid showed marginal gains.

Meanwhile, Asian shares inched up to seven-month highs following hints of more fiscal stimulus in China.

In a document published on the central government’s website late on Sunday, Beijing said it will step up a policy of targeted cuts to banks’ required reserve ratios to encourage financing for small and medium-sized businesses.