Sensex closes lower; auto, metal stocks fall

Mumbai, Jan 24 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets went half a percent down in Thursday's trade as automobile, metal, public sector undertakings (PSUs) stocks closed lower.

After running up to a two-year high in the first week of the New Year, markets have been moving sideways, especially keeping in view the central bank's monetary policy review Jan 29.

The Sensex, which opened at 20,017.20 points, closed at 19,923.78 points -- down 102.83 points or 0.51 percent from its previous close at 20,026.61 points.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 20,072.28 points and a low of 19,884.20 points.

The midcap index was down 176.63 points, while the smallcap index ended 176.94 points lower.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was down 34.95 points or 0.58 percent at 6,019.35 points.

The automobile index was down 279.10 points, while the metal index fell 196.13 points and PSU index closed 116.95 points lower.

The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) index gained 58.69 points, followed by capital goods, up 37.83 points, and information technology (IT) index which closed higher by 23.35 points.

The major Sensex gainers were Hindustan Unilever, up 1.86 percent at Rs.468.75; ITC, up 1.64 percent at Rs.297.40; Larsen and Toubro (L&T), up 1.56 percent at Rs.1,585.50; Tata Consultancy Service (TCS), up 1.06 percent at Rs.1,325.75; and ONGC, up 1.01 percent at Rs.336.30.

The main losers were Tata Motors, down 5.91 percent at Rs.293.55; Gail India, down 4.66 percent at Rs.348.85; Cipla, down 3.67 percent at Rs.391.25; Hindalco Inds, down 3.39 percent at Rs.113.90; and Sterlite Inds, down 2.53 percent at Rs.109.80.

Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei index was down 2.08 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.10 percent lower. However, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.25 percent.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.32 percent, while the German DAX was trading 0.03 percent lower. The French CAC 40 was up 0.23 percent.

Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.28 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was lower by 0.15 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index was lower by 0.79 percent.

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