Sensex drops to 9-week low; Nifty down for 4th day as JSPL falls

In choppy trading, the benchmark Sensex today ended with a loss of 69.06 points at nine-week low levels on weak European cues while the Nifty index fell 20 points led by a tumble in JSPL shares.

Selling in IT, consumer durables, banking, oil&gas, capital goods weighed on the domestic markets ahead of Thursday’s expiry of monthly derivative contracts.

Shares of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) ended over 6 per cent down after crashing as much as 15% in morning trade today after the government rejected bids made by the company during the auction of coal blocks held recently.

After rising to day’s high of 28,385.14 in morning trade on emergence of value-buying by investors, the Sensex succumbed to profit-booking to touch a low of 28,163.90. It settled at 28,192.02, down 69.06 points, or 0.24%.

Today’s closing is Sensex’s weakest close since January 16. In four straight days, the Sensex has lost 544 points.

The NSE Nifty, which breached the 8,600-level to touch the day’s high of 8,608.35 in early trade, fell back on broad-based selling. It then touched a low of 8,540.55 before closing down with a loss of 20 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 8,550.90. In four days, the Nifty has shed 172.90 points.

Equity brokers said portfolio churning ahead of financial year ending on March 31 also dampened trading sentiments.

Major losers that dragged down the key indices included BHEL, RIL, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Wipro, SBI, Maruti Suzuki, HDFC Bank, Sun Pharma and Tata Power.

Sectorally, the BSE IT index suffered the most by falling 1.03%, followed by Consumer Durables index (0.89%), Teck index (0.87%), Banking Index (0.85%), Oil & Gas index (0.63%) and Capital Goods index (0.44%) among others.

The BSE Small Cap index ended 1.29 per cent lower while Mid-cap index shed 0.81%.

Provisional data showed Foreign Portfolio Investors bought shares worth net Rs 354.59 crore on Friday.

Globally, other Asian markets ended higher and European markets were down in their opening trade on weakness in the view of an upcoming meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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