Mumbai :  The benchmark Sensex plunged 255 points to a four-month closing low of 20,193.35 on poor earnings of Cipla and Coal India, weak global cues and continued worries over the domestic economy.

Banking, capital goods, refinery, metal and pharma sectoral indices suffered the most among the eleven that dropped in the BSE while realty index bucked the trend.

Overall, 26 out of 30 Sensex-based scrips fell. Drop in HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, ITC, L&T, RIL, Cipla, ONGC, HUL and SBI together added over 200 points fall to the bluechip index, which had gained over 114 points in past two days.

The BSE gauge opened higher but quickly fell back on weak Asian cues. It remained in the negative terrain throughout to settle lower by 1.25 per cent or 255.14 points – its biggest fall since February 3.

Thursday’s closing level of 20,193.35 is the lowest since October 8, 2013 (19,983.61).       “Weak quarterly results of certain large caps, poor global cues and uncertainty over a clear direction to the markets may have led to sharp weakness,” said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities.

Worries over the domestic economy also led to selling after data on Wednesday showed industrial output contracted 0.6 per cent in December. Retail inflation easing to 2-year low of 8.79 per cent in January, did not help frayed nerves.

Global stocks fell, led by a drop in Tokyo, ahead of US data releases.

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