Sensex slumps 262 points to end at 21-month low

Mumbai :Falling for a third straight session, the benchmark BSE Sensex today slipped by 262 points to close at a 21-month low of 23,758.90 as banks and realty sectors witnessed heavy selling pressure amid weak global cues.

Country’s biggest lender SBI fell by 4.82 per cent to Rs 158.95 ahead of its financial results, while banks-based index on BSE slipped by more than 2 per cent.

The BSE Sensex after opening lower at 23,938.32 continued to slide on selling in blue-chips, forcing the index to touch a low of 23,636.72 before settling at 23,758.90, showing a loss of 262.08 points or 1.09 per cent.

This was index’s weakest closing since May 12, 2014.

The 50-share NSE Nifty tumbled 82.50 points or 1.13 per cent to close at 7,215.70 after touching a low of 7,177.75.

As many as 23 Sensex stocks closed with losses, including Tata Motors, Adani Ports, HDFC, Cipla, BHEL, Dr Reddy’s, Lupin, ONGC, Axis Bank, Hero MotoCorp and ITC.

However, Coal India, L&T, Maruti, RIL, M&M, Infosys and Tata steel ended in green.

Among BSE sectoral indices, realty suffered the most at 3.46 per cent followed by banking (2.04 pc), PSU (1.90 pc), healthcare (1.55 pc), FMCG (1.37 pc), auto (1.18 pc) oils&gas (0.75 per cent) and power (0.67 pc).

The broader markets also performed weak with the BSE small-cap index falling 1.42 per cent and mid-cap down 0.95 per cent.

Weak quarterly earnings of key corporates, global economic growth prospects and continued selling pressure by foreign portfolio investors, dampened the sentiment.

In overseas markets, most Asian markets plunged, tracking overnight sell-off in the US after oil prices tanked again on fears of a deepening economic slowdown.

Japan’s Nikkei crashed 2.31 per cent while Chinese and Hong Kong markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.