The Indian stock market opened with a big negative gap, drifted down further subsequently, and, despite staging a mild recovery in late afternoon trade, ended the session with notable losses as investors kept pressing sales at several counters. A sell-off in Asian and European markets amid renewed concerns about the eurozone economy following a levy on deposits in Cyprus hurt sentiment.
Investors, despite expectations that the central bank will announce a rate cut on Tuesday while stating its monetary policy, chose to refrain from indulging in any big buying.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which plummeted to 19,232.23, losing nearly 200 points in the process, ended the session with a loss of 134.36 points or 0.69% at 19,293.20. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5835.25, recording a loss of 37.35 points or 0.64%. The Nifty, which declined to 5814.35 in early trades, recovered to around 5850 by late afternoon.
Metal stocks ended sharply lower. PSU, automobile, realty and oil stocks also mostly ended with notable losses. Power stocks too attracted selling. Information technology and bank stocks found some support, but failed to hold at higher levels. Private sector bank stocks were under pressure once again due to allegations of money laundering practices.
Capital goods stocks recovered well after a weak spell, while select healthcare, FMCG and consumer durables stocks closed on a firm note. Sugar stocks were in demand on hopes of government's nod to a proposal on sugar decontrol.
Coal India, trading ex-dividend, ended 5.4% down. Reports that the government is planning to sell a stake in the company hurt sentiment to an extent. Sterlite Industries (down 2.6%) Tata Steel (down 1.4%), Jindal Steel & Power (down 0.6%) and Hindalco (down 0.4%) also closed weak.
Tata Power ended lower by 3.4%. GAIL India lost around 3.1%. Maruti Suzuki ended nearly 3% down. Wipro, Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Mahindra & Mahindra and HDFC lost 1% - 1.6%. Bharti Airtel traded weak following the telecom regulatory body directing the company to stop providing 3G services in circles where it does not hold licences. BHEL, Infosys, ONGC and State Bank of India also closed weak.
IDFC ended nearly 3.5% down. Ambuja Cements lost a little over 3%. ACC, Reliance Infrastructure, Sesa Goa, Kotak Bank, Axis Bank, Grasim Industries, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Ultratech Cement lost 1% - 2.2%.
Cipla closed with a strong gain of 2.2%. HCL Technologies, Siemens, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Cairn India, Lupin and Hero Motocorp also closed on a firm note.
The market breadth was weak. Out of 2969 stocks traded on BSE, 1757 stocks closed weak. 1091 stocks moved up and 121 stocks ended flat.