Sensex closes 0.25 percent down; healthcare stocks plunge

Mumbai, June 6 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities market closed Thursday's trade down 0.25 percent over uncertainties regarding the continuation of US stimulus package and negative Asian cues.

There was heavy selling pressure in healthcare, oil and gas, metal, consumer durables and public sector undertaking (PSU) stocks. Bank, capital goods and realty scrips, however, gained.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,503.68 points, closed at 19,519.49 points, down 48.73 points or 0.25 percent from its previous day's close at 19,568.22 points.

Sensex touched a high of 19,635.37 points and a low of 19,395.32 points in intra-day trade.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) ended 0.04 percent or 2.45 points down at 5,921.40 points.

The healthcare index plunged 107.10 points, followed by the oil and gas index, down 61.80 points, the metal index, down by 34.80 points, consumer durables index, down 28.34 points, and the public sector undertaking (PSU) index, down 15.19 points.

The S&P bank index was up 116.79 points, while the capital goods index gained 26.14 points and the realty index surged 8.07 points.

The prominent Sensex gainers were: ICICI Bank, up 1.70 percent at Rs.1,153.60; Wipro, up 1.38 percent at Rs.330.10; Maruti Suzuki, up 1.19 percent at Rs.1,587.20; State Bank of India (SBI), up 0.86 percent at Rs.2,049.15; and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), up 0.61 percent at Rs.1,428.20.

Among the main losers were Bharti Airtel, down 2.17 percent at Rs.295.45; Sun Pharma, down 1.87 percent at Rs.1,018.90; NTPC, down 1.85 percent at Rs.151.20; Infosys, down 1.41 percent at Rs.2,427.50; and Tata Steel, down 1.30 percent at Rs.295.25.

Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was 0.85 percent lower, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng went 1.05 percent down. China's Shanghai Composite Index closed the day's trade 1.27 percent lower.

At closing bell here, major European markets were trading higher. Britain's FTSE 100 was trading 0.09 percent up, while the German DAX was 0.24 percent higher. The French CAC 40 was also trading 0.43 percent higher.

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