Mumbai: Falling for third straight day, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday tumbled by 202.37 points to one-week low of 19,362.55 on heavy selling in banks, auto and consumer durable shares due to fading rate cut hopes and fresh growth concerns, amid a weakening global trend. Besides rate-sensitive counters, shares from metal, IT, PSU and refinery sectors also were at the receiving end as 12 out of 13 sectoral indices ended lower.
The 30-share Sensex resumed weak and remained in negative throughout the day before closing at one-week low of 19,362.55 - a fall of 202.37 points or 1.03 per cent. The 202.37-point loss is the worst fall of March. In the three-day losing run, the index has plunged by 320.68 points or 1.63 per cent.
In Sensex, 22 stocks declined and six gained, while Sterlite Industries and Tata Power closed unchanged. Sectorally, the banking index suffered the most by losing 2.18 per cent to 13,515.54 as stocks of HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI and HDFC fell as interest rate hopes faded further.
The NSE 50-issue CNX Nifty also dipped by 62.90 points or 1.06 per cent to end below 5,900-mark at 1-week low of 5,851.20. Market participants were cautious ahead of WPI data release on Thursday, traders said.
Hopes of a rate cut by RBI on March 19 were dimmed after better-than-expected IIP data and rising retail inflation were released yesterday. "Tomorrow inflation numbers are to be announced and market volatility is likely to continue. Global factors will have near term impact too on the indices," said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
Growth concerns also dampened investor sentiment. Morgan Stanley lowered GDP growth forecast for 2013-14 to 6 per cent, from 6.2 per cent estimated earlier, citing challenging domestic and external environment among others.
Reports said HSBC has also cut its forecast by same margin. Brokers said a weak trend in the Asian region and lower opening in Europe before announcement of Eurozone area production further influenced sentiment.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said government has taken a number of steps to return to the robust growth path in the next two to three years. Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, the Prime Minister admitted that there has been a slowdown in the economy which has been reflected in the GDP figures.
At the stock market, banking counters were the worst hit with the Bankex slumping by 2.18 per cent and was the top loser from the sectoral indices. All 14 stocks from the index closed lower reporting losses in 1-3.25 per cent range.
Globally, barring South Korea and Taiwan which closed with small gains, other Asian markets finished lower between 0.44 per cent and 1.46 per cent while European stocks were quoting lower in their morning deals on weak Asian cues. France's CAC was down by 0.22 per cent, Germany's DAX by 0.12 per cent and the UK's FTSE by 0.64 per cent.
Turning back to the domestic market, major losers from the Sensex pack were Hindalco Ind (3.67 pc), ICICI Bank (3.25 pc), Bajaj Auto (3.16 pc), Maruti Suzuki (3.07 pc), Jindal Steel (2.84 pc), ONGC (2.52 pc), BHEL (1.99 pc), Infosys (1.89 pc), HDFC (1.77 pc), Gail India (1.68 pc), HDFC Bank (1.20 pc), Tata Motors (1.15 pc), Cipla (1.07 pc), Tata Steel (1.07 pc) and SBI (1 pc). However, Sun Pharma firmed up by 1.25 per cent and ITC by 0.89 per cent.
Among the sectoral indices, S&P BSE-CD fell by 1.57 per cent, followed by S&P BSE-Auto (1.53 pc), S&P BSE-PSU (1.41 pc), S&P BSE-IT (1.18 pc), S&P BSE-Metal (1.15 pc), S&P BSE-Teck (1.08 pc) and S&P BSE-Oil&Gas (1.08 pc). The total market breadth continued to show negative trend as 1,893 stocks finished with losses while 992 ended with gains.
Just 128 counters closed unchanged. The total turnover dropped to Rs 1,688.31 crore from Rs 2,068.00 crore on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 733.25 crore on Tuesday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.