Sensex closes in red; rupee tumbles

Mumbai, Aug 20 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets continued to fall for the third consecutive session Tuesday, losing 61 points as the rupee tumbled to another record low.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,142.83 points, closed at 18,246.04 points, down 61.48 points or 0.34 percent from the previous day's close at 18,307.52 points.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed trade 13.30 points or 0.25 percent down at 5,401.45 points. This is one of the lowest closing levels of Nifty in almost a year.

In Tuesday's trade, the Sensex touched a high of 18,306.46 points and a low of 17,970.98 during the day.

On Monday, when the rupee posted its biggest single-day loss in nearly two years, sliding 2.3 percent. This led to a massive sell-off in the equities markets with the Sensex falling by 290.66 points or 1.56 percent.

The bearish sentiment in the market was led by the rupee hitting yet another record low in early Tuesday, falling below 64 against a dollar.

The partially-convertible rupee touched a new low of 64.11 in pre-noon trade at the inter-bank currency market here, surpassing the previous record low of 63.30 Monday.

Later it recovered a bit and was trading at 63.25 against a dollar at 5.00 p.m. Indian standard time, after an apparent intervention by the Reserve Bank oF India (RBI).

Last Friday and Monday's trade losses eroded market capitalisation by around Rs.3.10 lakh crore.

Selling pressure was observed in automobile, consumer durables, healthcare, information technology (IT), technology, media and entertainment (TECk) and capital goods stocks.

However, metal, bank, realty, public sector undertakings (PSU) oil and gas sectors showed good buying trend.

The S&P BSE automobile index plunged by 232.02 points, consumer durables index tanked by 204.42 points, healthcare index plummeted by 139.17 points, IT index slid by 104.73 points, TECk index dropped by 47.93 points and capital goods index dipped by 36.86 points.

However, S&P BSE metal index grew by 342.50 points followed by bank index which closed 78.16 points up, realty index was higher by 31.33 points, PSU index was up 26.40 points and oil and gas index closed Tuesday's trade up 20.38 points.

Major Sensex gainers were: Sterlite Inds, up 9.91 percent at Rs.83.20; Tata Steel, up 4.09 percent at Rs.256.95, Coal India, up 2.08 percent at Rs.262.50, ICICI Bank, up 1.77 percent at Rs.829.55 and State Bank of India (SBI), up 1.51 percent at Rs.1,553.50.

Major Sensex losers were: Tata Motors, down 4.66 percent at Rs.287.55; Sun Pharma, down 2.42 percent at Rs.507.45; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 2.39 percent at Rs.1,735.35; Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), down 2.38 percent at Rs.791.30; and ONGC, down 1.95 percent at Rs.256.65.

Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei closed 2.63 percent down, while China's Shanghai Composite Index was lower by 2.20 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.62 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was trading 0.46 percent down, while Germany's DAX Index fell 0.90 percent. The French CAC 40 Index was lower by 1.36 percent.

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