Mumbai: A benchmark index for Indian equities markets fell 143 points Friday, due to heavy selling pressure in interest rate-sensitive banking, auto and realty stocks ahead of the RBI monetary policy review.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,570.01 points, ended the day at 19,427.56 points, down 0.73 percent or 142.88 points from its previous day close at 19,570.44 points.
The Sensex slumped to a low of 19,383.13 points and touched a high of 19,673.16 points in the intra-day. The benchmark index has closed in the red in four out of the past five trading sessions.
The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell 0.62 percent or 36.35 points at 5,872.60 points.
There was heavy selling pressure in the interest rate-sensitive realty, banking and auto stocks ahead of the monetary policy review.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is scheduled to announce mid-quarter review of the monetary policy for 2012-13 on March 19. Continuing inflationary pressure has dampened the hope for rate cuts by the central bank.
According to official figures released this week, retail price-based inflation surged to 10.91 percent and wholesale price-based inflation accelerated to 6.84 percent in February.
In a bid to contain inflationary pressure, the central bank has been maintaining a tight monetary policy, which has hurt growth and company's profitability.
The BSE realty index slumped almost three percent. Banking index fell 1.67 percent, oil and gas index dropped 1.18 percent and auto index closed 0.80 percent down.
ICICI Bank tumbled 3.93 percent at Rs.1067.15. Tata Motors, down 3.27 percent at Rs.291.10; Gail India, down 2.60 percent at Rs.324.10; RIL, down 1.96 percent at Rs.843.80; and HDFC Bank, down 1.67 percent at Rs.638.75 were among the major Sensex losers.
Only 12 of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the positive territory. Mahindra & Mahindra, up 1.48 percent at Rs.927.70; Tata Power, up 1.19 percent at Rs.101.90; Hero MotoCorp, up 0.73 percent at Rs.1681; and Wipro, up 0.57 percent at Rs.440.95 were among the major Sensex gainers.