Mumbai: Breaking a two-day uptrend, the Sensex Wednesday fell by over 38 points, dragged down by Bharti Airtel that slumped nearly 4 percent, amid low participation of funds due to strike by public sector banks.
The BSE benchmark index, which had gained 229 points in the last two trading sessions, fell by 38.40 points, or 0.21 percent to close at 17,846.86.
In the 30-share Sensex, 18 stocks declined led by Bharti Airtel which dropped 3.85 percent on reports that foreign brokerage Credit Suisse has downgraded it. NTPC, Sterlite, Gail and RIL also fell around one percent each.
Dr Reddy's that gained 1.05 percent led Sensex gainers, followed by CIL, Infosys, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and Cipla helped cushion Sensex from a sharper fall.
The trading sentiment also remained lacklustre as global markets were cautious ahead of Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers visiting Greece today, brokers said.
"Volatility was high as markets pared gains in the latter session and went into negative terrain. European indices were also cautious ahead of the meeting scheduled today between the Greek PM and the Eurogroup Head," said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.
Employees of public sector banks have gone on two-day nationwide strike today opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of non-core activities, affecting stock market fund flows, said analysts.
The market breadth at the BSE turned negative as 1,459 stocks finished with losses while 1,341 ended with gains.
On similar lines, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 8.15 points to end at 5,412.85.
Asian stocks closed on a weak note after recent rally after Japan reported a wider-than-expected trade deficit.
Overnight fall in Wall Street also affected global markets. Key indices from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan closed down in 0.14-1.06 percent range.
European stocks too displayed a feeble trend in their afternoon deals on profit-booking after the recent surge. The CAC was down by 0.46 percent, the DAX by 0.72 percent and the FTSE by 0.98 percent.
Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 18 scrips ended lower while others finished higher. Other major losers were NTPERCENT (1.32 percent), Sterlite Ind. (1.32 percent), Gail India (1.04 percent), Reliance (0.90 percent), HDFC (0.87 percent), Tata Power (0.80 percent), L&T (0.68 percent) and TCS (0.49 percent).
Gainers were led by Dr Reddy's (1.05 percent), followed by Coal India (0.94 percent), Bajaj Auto (0.86 percent) and Hero Motoco (0.85 percent).
Among sectoral indices, the BSE-Realty dropped by 0.97 percent, followd by the BSE-Power (0.82 percent), the BSE-Teck (0.42 percent), the BSE-Capital Goods (0.41 percent) and the BSE- Consumer Durable (0.30 percent).
Total turnover firmed up to Rs 2,041.72 crore from Rs 1,953.63 crore on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth net Rs 141.37 crore from the secondary equity markets as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.
First Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 17:29