Mumbai: Equities remained under tight grip of bears as the BSE Sensex logged its sixth fall in seven days by slipping 143 points to 24,682.03 -- its lowest closing in more than 19 months -- ahead of key macroeconomic data and quarterly numbers of IT major TCS.
With today's plunge, the benchmark index has wiped off all the gains made since the swearing-in ceremony of the new government on May 26, 2014. The 30-share Sensex after rising over 57 points in early trade, quickly slipped into the negative terrain as investors preferred to trim positions at every rise and hit a low of 24,597.11 before settling 143.01 points or 0.58 percent lower at 24,682.03, its weakest closing since May 30, 2014.
Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 21 lost while nine gained. The NSE Nifty index after cracking 7,500-mark, touched the session's low of 7,487.80. However, fag-end buying helped the gauge to recover part of the lost ground to settle 53.55 points or 0.71 percent down at 7,510.30. Sentiment was distinctly weak on a series of negative factors such as concerns over China's growth, crude falling below 31 USD to 12-year lows and caution ahead of IIP data for December and CPI inflation, to be released in the day. Third quarterly earnings of TCS due later in the day too negatively impacted sentiment, they added. Banking, realty, metal, infrastructure, oil&gas, PSU and IT sectors were hit hardest.
Major BSE losers were Axis Bank, down 2.67 percent to Rs 406.10 while Tata Steel slumped 2.24 percent to Rs 246.35. Other losers were SBI, ONGC, Airtel, TCS, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, GAIL, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Auto, HDFC, Infosys, Dr Reddy's, RIL and Maruti Suzuki. However, NTPC rose by 2.47 percent followed by Wipro 2.08 percent, M&M 1.59 percent, Adani Ports 0.94, HUL 0.87 per cent and Sun Pharma 0.69 percent.
Among the BSE sectoral indices, banking suffered the most by falling 1.76 percent followed by realty 1.51 percent, infra 0.95 percent, metal 0.92 percent, oil&gas 0.85 per cent, IT 0.60 percent and auto 0.45 percent. The broader markets too felt the heat with the BSE small-cap and mid-cap indices falling 1.03 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively.
All major indices in Asia, except Shanghai, ended lower on renewed worries about the health of China, the world's number two economy, while those in Europe were green in early trade following a four-day losing streak.