Mumbai: Falling for the second straight day, the Sensex today fell by over 229 points to end at 18,708.98, its lowest in 10 days, on selling in RIL, SBI and L&T amid weakness in European stocks ahead of a key meeting to discuss the region's debt crisis.
Markets appeared not impressed with Finance Minister P Chidambaram's promise to take steps to deal with inflation, fast track disinvestment and announce a roadmap for fiscal consolidation.
"We are committed to announce a fiscal consolidation path. What will be the Fiscal Deficit and Revenue Deficit over the next five years, beginning this year, we will make a statement on that," Chidambaram told reporters at New Delhi.
After opening weaker on insipid Asian cues, Sensex stayed in negative zone throughout and touched low of 18,684.40.
It finally closed 229.48 points or 1.21 per cent lower at at 18,708.98. This is the lowest closing since 18,579.50 on September 27. Also, today's 229-point fall is the biggest daily loss for Sensex in nearly two and half months since July 23 when it had slumped by 281.09 points.
The 50-share NSE Nifty index ended 70.95 points down or 1.23 per cent at 5,676.
"Selling pressure in heavyweights led to fall of over 1 per cent today. Lower opening of European indices as well as weaker US Futures also hit sentiment," said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Reseach Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.
RIL was the worst hit among Sensex stocks as it lost 4.51 per cent. Hindalco, Bhel, L&T, SBI, Tata Motors and Wipro fell between 2.2-3.5 per cent. Pharma stock, however, bucked the trend. 12 out of 13 sectoral indices ended lower.
In BSE, 1,515 stocks fell while nearly 1,383 scrips rose. M-cap fell by Rs 62,000 crore to Rs 65.71 lakh crore.
Globally, European stocks are trading over 1 per cent down on reports that World Bank has cut its East Asian growth forecast. Sentiments were also weak ahead of Eurozone finance ministers meeting shortly to discuss the region's debt crisis.
Meanwhile, rupee slumped over 1 per cent to 52.51 against the US dollar in afternoon trade.