Market slumps as Congress fares poorly (Roundup)
Mumbai, March 6 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian markets closed 189 points lower Tuesday as the Congress party which leads the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre fared poorly in assembly elections.
The election debacle for the Congress sparked off fears of a weaker government that would not be able to push through key reforms and legislations.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,336.64 points, closed at 17,173.29, down 189.58 points or 1.09 percent from its previous close at 17,362.87 points.
The Sensex had risen to an intra-day high of 17,691.96 points and fell to a low of 17,128.28 points.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange ended at 5,222.4 points, down 57.95 points or 1.1 percent.
The Congress came a poor fourth in the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly election. It also failed to oust the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine in Punjab, while it was beaten comprehensively in Goa by the BJP.
The Congress party was neck-in-neck with the BJP in Uttarakhand. Manipur was the only state that it has managed to retain.
"The market is sensing that there can be difficulty in policy making going forward and also there can be slow down in reform process. In that fear, market had come under pressure since afternoon. However, we feel that this fall can offer good opportunity for investors to start investing," said D. K. Aggarwal, chairman and managing director of SMC Investments and Advisors.
Broader markets also closed in the red with the BSE 500 index slipping 1.06 percent. The BSE midcap index was down 1.11 percent, while the BSE smallcap index closed 1.29 percent lower.
Metal, power, capital goods and energy stocks were among the major losers while FMCG scrips gained.
The market breadth was positive with 1,048 stocks advancing, 1,773 declining and 113 remaining unchanged.
Gainers on the Sensex included DLF, up 2.73 percent at Rs.197.45; ITC, up 1.45 percent at Rs.210; Infosys, up 1.41 percent at Rs.2,849.05 and Maruti Suzuki, up 1.01 percent at Rs.1,328.80.
Major losers included Hindalco, down 5.75 percent at Rs.131.85; Sterlite, down 5.44 percent at Rs.113.85; RIL, down 2.68 percent at Rs.776.50 and ICICI Bank, down 1.98 percent at Rs.853.20.
Overseas funds, the main catalyst for the dramatic rise in Indian equities in 2012, bought stocks worth $39.52 million Tuesday, according to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have put in more than $7.3 billion since the start of the year, having bought equities worth $2.03 billion in January and over $5 billion in February.
The four trading days so far this month (March) have seen $350.56 million coming in from FIIs.
Asian markets fell as China cut its economic growth rate to 7.5 percent for 2012.
The Japanese Nikkei closed 0.63 percent lower at 9,637.63 points, while Hong Kong's index ended 2.16 percent down at 20,806.25 points.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite index edged 1.41 percent down at 2,410.45 points.
European markets were trading in the red as well.
Britain's FTSE 100 was trading 0.99 percent lower at 5,816.58 points, while the German DAX was trading 1.4 percent down at 6,770.61 points.
The French CAC 40 was similarly ruling 1.41 percent lower at 3,436.65 points.