Mumbai: The Sensex on Thursday fell by 71 points, snapping a two-day upward march, as investors booked profits in the fag end of the trading session in FMCG, bank and metal sectors amid a weak trend in European markets.
The BSE benchmark index, which had gained 171 points or nearly 1 percent in last two trading sessions, opened higher but was choppy for the most part of the session. However, in the last half an hour, selling pressure was pronounced and the Sensex finally closed 70.99 points down at 17,657.21.
The 30-share index was dragged by ITC that dropped 3.6 percent on reports that Australia's tough new anti-tobacco marketing laws, which among others ban logos on cigarette packs, may be see similar action in India as well.
Private lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank fell around 1.2 percent each on concerns that food inflation, a key metric watched by RBI, hasn't softened even as July WPI data eased.
Metal stocks like Hindalco, Sterlite and Tata Steel fell in 2-3 percent range on concerns of lower Chinese demand. Overall, 20 stocks in Sensex dropped while 10 ended higher.
The Sensex's losses would have been higher if it was not gains in Hero MotoCorp and M&M that notched up smart gains of around 2 percent each. RIL rose 2.04 percent on reports that Goldman Sachs has said that the energy major can potentially become a USD 100 billion stock by fiscal 2017.
Brokers said the market sentiment turned bearish as investors are worried whether key economic reforms to revive GDP growth will occur soon. The market breadth turned negative as 1,521 shares ended with losses while 1,306 finished lower.
Some foreign investors were seen booking profits from the recent two days of gains, besides a weakening global tend on concerns of deepening Eurozone debt crisis, they added.
Meanwhile, the 50-share NSE index Nifty lost 17.40 points, or 0.32 percent to close at 5,362.95.
While Asian stocks ended mostly higher, European indices declined in their afternoon deals.
Asian stocks ended mostly higher after strong US economic data released yesterday. Key benchmark indices in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were up by between 0.03 percent to 1.88 percent while indices in China and Hongkong down by between 0.32 percent to 0.45 percent.
However, key European indices in France, Germany and UK declined by up to 0.16 percent in afternoon deals.
"In the coming sessions, Nifty is likely to consolidate in range 5400-5300 and buying in dips could be seen. Global markets will also be affecting the overall sentiment," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.
Besides ITC, other major losers from Sensex were Hindalco (2.75 percent), Sterlite Ind (2.44 percent), Gail India (2.17 percent), Tata Steel (1.93 percent), Wipro (1.59 percent), ICICI Bank (1.30 percent), HDFC Bank (1.22 percent), NTPERCENT (1.05 percent), Maruti Suzuki (0.94 percent) and SBI (0.87 percent).
However, Hero Moto rose by 2.69 percent, followed by M&M (2.13 percent), Cipla (2.01 percent), L&T (1.57 percent) and HDFC (1.04 percent).
Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-FMCG dropped by 2.06 percent, followed by BSE-Metal (1.44 percent), the BSE-CD (1.02 percent) and the BSE-Bankex (0.76 percent) while the BSE-CG firmed up by 0.82 percent and the BSE-Oil&Gas inched up by 0.65 percent.
The total turnover moved up slightly to Rs 2,288.29 crore from the previous turnover of Rs 2,154.42 crore.
Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) pumped in Rs 258.21 crore on August 14 as per provisional data with stock exchanges.
First Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 16:49