Sensex closes half percent down; bank, auto stocks hit

Mumbai, Feb 1 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets Friday closed more than half a percent down as bank, automobile and metal stocks fell.

The 30-scrip Sensex, which opened at 19,907.21 points, was ruling at 19,781.19 points, down 113.79 points or 0.57 percent from its previous close at 19,894.98 points.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 19,966.69 points and a low of 19,736.45 points. The midcap index was down 3.38 points, while the smallcap index ended 17.59 points lower.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed 35.85 points or 0.59 percent lower at 5,998.90 points.

There was heavy selling in the interest rate-sensitive automobile and banking stocks.

However, consumer durables, healthcare and oil and gas stocks rallied.

Major indices like the bank index closed lower by 115.10 points, followed by automobile index, down 108.08 points, and the metal index, down 82.31 points.

The consumer durables index was up 134.33 points. And so were the healthcare index, up 62.37 points, and the oil and gas index, up 15.77 points.

Major Sensex gainers were Maruti Suzuki, up 1.65 percent at Rs.1,608.70; Cipla, up 1.58 percent at Rs.413.65; DrReddys Lab, up 1.48 percent at Rs.1,946.70; and Tata Power, up 1.43 percent at Rs.102.65.

Major losers included 18 of the 30 Sensex scrips, including Tata Motors, down 4.36 percent at Rs.285.00; Bharti Airtel, down 2.62 percent at Rs.330.50; ONGC, down 2.21 percent at Rs.332.45; Hindalco Inds, down 1.99 percent at Rs.113.45; and Sterlite Inds, down 1.71 percent at Rs.111.95.

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