Sensex tanks 353 points on negative global cues

Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) A benchmark index of the Indian equities markets was trading 1.76 percent down around 2.30 p.m. trade Thursday, on the back of news emanating from the US that the stimulus programme could come to an end soon and weakness in other Asian bourses.

Sentiments were downbeat after US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke suggested Wednesday that the bond purchase by the US central bank may be reduced if the US economy improves further.

This spooked the Asian markets like Japan’s Nikkei, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite Index. The Nikkei reported a massive 7.32 percent loss, followed by Hang Seng which went 2.54 percent down, and Shanghai Composite Index that closed 1.16 percent lower.

The Bernanke statement also affected European markets. Britain’s FTSE 100 was trading 1.86 percent down, while the German DAX was trading 2.59 percent lower. The French CAC 40 was ruling 2.41 percent down.

Trading in all the major sectors was poor, as investors and traders are worried that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) who have been buying heavily in the Indian market may pull back funds.

The sectors which lost the most intra-day Thursday were bank, oil and gas, public sector undertakings (PSU), metal and realty stocks.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the negative at 19,971.37 points, was trading at 19,708.64 points, down 353.60 points or 1.76 percent from its previous day close at 20,062.24 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 20,027.56 points and a low of 19,685.59 points in intra-day trade.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has also shown downward movement and was trading at 2.10 percent or 127.85 points down at 5,966.65 points.

The BSE Banke index was down 413.44 points, oil and gas index slid to 170.51 points, while the PSU index dipped 166.75 points, metal index plunged 164.89 points and realty index plunged 104.80 points.

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