Indian equities markets continued to reel under selling pressure after making robust gains in the first two months. A benchmark index on Thursday closed 168 points down with traders off-loading realty, capital goods and banking stocks.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,714.62 points, closed at 17,583.97 points, 168.71 points or 0.95 per cent down from its previous close at 17,752.68 points.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also ended lower at 5,339.75 points, down 45.45 points or 0.84 per cent from its previous close.
Broader markets were also in the red, with the BSE 500 index closing 0.7 per cent lower. The BSE midcap closed 0.53 per cent down, while the BSE small cap indices ended 0.38 per cent lower.
The gainers on the Sensex were DLF, up 4.64 per cent at Rs.1,314.55; Hindalco, up 1.35 per cent at Rs.150.65; HDFC, up 0.98 per cent at Rs.669.65 and Tata Power, up 0.91 per cent at Rs.115.90. Major losers included DLF, down 5.17 per cent at Rs.214.65; M&M, down 3.67 per cent at Rs.681.65; BHEL, down 2.97 per cent at Rs.299.05 and NTPC, down 2.54 per cent at Rs.176.25.
The market breadth was negative, with 1,264 stocks advancing, 1,580 on the decline and 111 unchanged.
Overseas funds, the primary catalyst for the dramatic rise in Indian equities in 2012, bought stocks worth $132.91 million Thursday, according to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have put in more than $7 billion since the start of the year, having bought equities worth $2.03 billion in January and over $5 billion in February. Asian markets closed in the red with investors worried after US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke told a congressional hearing that flat incomes and still-high unemployment would likely limit growth this year to 2.25 per cent in the world’s largest economy.