Mumbai: The benchmark Sensex fell 146 points Wednesday, its biggest drop in more than a week, led by realty, FMCG and auto stocks as investors booked profits ahead of state election results.
ITC, ICICI Bank and HDFC shares together contributed 85 points to losses in the index, which received some support from IT stocks Infosys and Wipro.
Hindalco Industries, ONGC and Tata Motors were among the 19 Sensex shares that fell. Eight of the 13 BSE sectoral indices declined.
The S&P BSE Sensex opened on a lower note from yesterday's close and fell further in the second half. It closed at 20,708.71, a drop of 146.21 points or 0.70 percent. The decline was the most since November 26, when the index fell 180 points.
"Profit-booking ahead of election results and also...Speculation that US may decide to taper its bond buying program sooner than expected in coming months led to selling pressure," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President at Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
The results of assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will be out on Sunday.
Brokers said domestic stocks fell also after a benchmark US crude oil price rose to over a five-week high after reports said there was a drop in inventories. WTI crude traded at USD 97.3 level when the local stock markets closed.
The 50-share CNX Nifty on the National Stock Exchange dropped 40.9 points, or 0.66 percent, to finish at 6,160.95. The SX40 index on the MCX Stock Exchange closed down 64.87 points at 12,307.07.
Asian stocks were mainly lower as investors awaited US jobs data later this week, one of the factors that the Federal Reserve may consider when deciding about tapering its stimulus programme.
Key indices in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea were down while they rose in China and Taiwan.
European markets were higher as investors awaited reports on US jobs. Key indices in France, Germany and UK moved up.
In the local market, the major Sensex losers were Hindalco Industries, which fell 2.5 percent, followed by ICICI Bank 1.93 percent, ITC 1.86 percent, ONGC 1.66 percent and Tata Motors 1.58 percent.
The big index gainers included Tata Power, which rose 2.44 percent, followed by Wipro 1.95 percent and Tata Steel 1.25 percent.
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, Realty dropped 2.67 percent, followed by FMCG 1.36 percent, Auto 1.05 percent, Capital Goods 0.99 percent and Oil & Gas 0.78 percent. Power moved up 0.31 percent and Metal 0.26 percent.
The market breadth turned negative as 1,339 stocks ended with losses, 1,138 finished with gains and 182 ruled steady.
Total turnover fell to Rs 1,973.77 crore from Rs 2,095.27 crore yesterday.
Foreign institutional investors bought a net Rs 516.59 crore of shares yesterday, according to provisional figures issued by the stock exchanges.
First Published: Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 17:54