Stocks plunged on the Indian bourses today as investors went on a selling spree almost across the board, tracking cues from Asian and European markets, where the mood was quite bearish amid renewed worries about eurozone economy. The proposed hike in freight tariff in the Indian Railway Budget presented today, contributed as well to the weak sentiment in the market.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which plummeted to 18,976.94, ended the day with a loss of 316.55 points or 1.64% at 19,015.14. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed with a loss of 93.40 points or 1.6% at 5761.35, slightly off the day's low of 5748.60.
Oil stocks, led by heavyweights Reliance Industries (down 3.5%) and ONGC (down 3.7%), declined sharply. Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Petronet LNG lost 3.6% - 4%, while BPCL and Oil India declined by 1.8% and 1.2%, respectively.
Automobile, capital goods, metal, PSU and healthcare stocks too mostly ended sharply lower. Realty and bank stocks plunged as well. Power and consumer durables stocks too wilted under pressure, while select FMCG and information technology stocks found support.
Rail related stocks suffered sharp losses after the Railway Minister proposed to scale down the target of 700 km of new lines in the current year to 470 km due to inadequate resources. He also cut the target for gauge conversion for 2012-13, from 800 km to 575 km. All rail related stocks, Kalindee Rail, Titagarh Wagons, Kernex Microsystems, Hindustan Rectifier, Texmaco
Rail Engineering and Stone India
ended with sharp losses.
Among automobile stocks, Bajaj Auto
, Mahindra & Mahindra
, Maruti Suzuki
and Tata Motors
lost 2.5% - 4.2%, while Hero Motocorp ended lower by around 0.7%. Ashok Leyland
declined by 2.7%.
Capital goods stocks BHEL
, Larsen & Toubro
, Bharat Earth Movers
, Bharat Electronics
, Jindal Saw
, Punj Lloyd
, Praj Industries
lost 2% - 4%, while Suzlon Energy
and Welcorp declined by 4.2% and 8%, respectively.
Metal stocks, Coal India
, Sterlite Industries
, Sesa Goa
and Tata Steel
lost 1% - 4.5%.
In the healthcare space, Biocon
, Cadila Healthcare
, Dr Reddy's
Laboratories, Divi's Laboratories
, Opto Circuits
, Ranbaxy Laboratories
, Strides Arcolab
and Sun Pharmaceutical
Indsutries, all ended sharply lower.
Realty stocks HDIL
, Anant Raj Industries
, Indiabulls Real Estate
, Prestige Estates, Parsvnath Developers, Sobha Developers
lost 2% - 5.5%, while DLF
ended lower by 0.8%.
Among banking sector stocks, ICICI Bank
, Axis Bank
, Bank of India and Union Bank of India
lost 2% - 3%. State Bank of India
, HDFC Bank
, IndusInd Bank
, Punjab National Bank
and Yes Bank
declined by 1% - 1.8%.
HDFC ended lower by 3.7%. Wipro
, GAIL India
, Tata Power
lost 0.5% - 1%.
IDFC, Reliance Infrastructure
, Ambuja Cements
, HCL Technologies and Power Grid Corporation
ended with sharp to moderate losses.
Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys
and Bharti Airtel
gained 1.4% - 1.6%. NTPC
, Grasim Industries
, Jaiprakash Associates
and Hindustan Unilever
ended with modest gains.
The market breadth was very weak. Out of 2961 stocks traded on BSE, as many as 2069 stocks declined. 777 stocks moved up and 115 stocks ended flat.
The Railway Minister Pawan Kumar, presenting the rail budget for 2013-2014, stated that losses on passenger operations in financial year 2013 will be around Rs 24,600 crore. He said 'steep increase in input costs can only be met by a hike in freight rates', and announced fuel adjustment component linked revision for freight tariff to be implemented with effect from 1 April 2013.
The minister said that the railways spent around Rs 100 crore on upgrading 3 Delhi stations and is aiming to borrow around Rs 1 lakh crore from the market during the 12th plan.
The rail minister has said that by fiscal 13 end, 1500 km of projects for dedicated freight corridor will be awarded.
The minister identified 104 stations for better infrastructure facilities and announced a plan to allocate Rs 2000 crore for land and station development, besides spelling out a slew of passenger-friendly amenities.