Sensex closes flat; capital goods, bank stocks plummet

Mumbai, March 25 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets closed Monday’s trade flat while capital goods, bank and automobile stocks plummeted.

The markets initially made gains after Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday said that the government will ease restrictions on foreign institutional investors’ (FIIs) participation in the country’s bond market.
The decision of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to raise diesel prices by one percent from Saturday helped the oil and gas stocks gain.
However, the gains were pared in the intra-day trade over political uncertainties.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the positive at 18,894.13 points, closed at 18,681.42 points, down 54.18 points or 0.29 percent from its previous day close at 18,735.60 points.
The Sensex slumped to a low of 18,654.61 points in the intra-day and touched a high of 18,950.22 points.
The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed 0.31 percent or 17.50 points down at 5,633.85 points in Monday’s session.
The capital goods index was down 131.58 points, bank index down 85.02 points and the automobile index closed down by 79.07 points. However, the BSE oil and gas index gained 40.92 points, followed by consumer durables index up by 29.06 points and the realty index was higher by 14.16 points.
Major Sensex losers were: Hero MotoCorp, down 2.42 percent at Rs.1,626.05; Tata Steel, down 2.28 percent at Rs.314.75; Larsen and Toubro (L&T), down 2.19 percent at Rs.1,367.70; Bharti Airtel, down 1.95 percent at Rs.288.45; and Gail India, down 1.94 percent at Rs.313.95.
Only nine of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the positive. ONGC, up 2.96 percent at Rs.304.60; NTPC, up 2.04 percent at Rs.142.40; HDFC, up 1.16 percent at Rs.805.20; Dr Reddys Lab, up 0.77 percent at Rs.1,765.45; and Hindustan Unilever, up 0.72 percent at Rs.462.50 were among the major Sensex gainers.