The Indian stock market tumbled on Thursday with investors indulging in heavy selling at several counters almost right through the session, tracking weak global markets.
Amid worries about prospects of the U.S. Federal Reserve winding up its stiumulus program on the back of some encouraging economic data out of the U.S., markets across Asia and Europe declined, rendering the mood on the Indian bourses quite bearish.
Though a few earnings reports from India Inc turned out to be somewhat encouraging, investors stayed wary of picking up stocks, and instead, were seen selling heavily at times.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which plunged to 19,763.90, ended the day with a loss of 285.92 points or 1.42% at 19,804.76. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5907.50, recording a loss of 83 points or 1.39%. The Nifty touched a low of 5896.40. The Sensex and Nifty tumbled to their lowest levels since 16 July 2013 and 11 July 2013, respectively.
FMCG stocks, led by heavyweight ITC, ended on a weak note. ITC (down ) declined sharply post release of its quarterly results.
Metal, healthcare, oil, capital goods and power stocks mostly ended with sharp losses. Bank, PSU and consumer durables stocks too closed weak. A few stocks from realty, information technology and automobile sectors ended higher. Midcap and smallcap stocks lost ground.
ITC ended lower by over 4.5%. The company reported a net profit of Rs 1891.33 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2013 as compared to Rs 1602.14 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2012. Total income increased from Rs 6876.43 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 to Rs 7613.88 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2013.
Hindustan Unilever, the other FMCG heavyweight in the Sensex, closed with a loss of 3.2%. IT major Wipro lost around 4%. Tata Power, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Tata Steel, BHEL and Jindal Steel & Power lost 2.5% - 3.2%.
Sterlite Industries ended lower by a little over 2%. Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Coal India, Cipla, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, ONGC and Hindalco also closed notably lower. State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel and HDFC declined marginally.
Hero Motocorp ended stronger by over 4% despite the company reporting a 10.8% decline in net profit for the quarter ended 30 June 2013. The company attributed the fall in profit to higher tax rate on account of the expiry of 5 years of 100% exemption in Haridwar, where its largest-producing manufacturing plant is located.
ACC (down 2.9%) and Ambuja Cements (down 10.6%) declined sharply following their Swiss parent Holcim announcing a major restructuring of its India operations. Ambuja Cements' net profit fell 30.85% to Rs 324.20 crore on 7.64% decline in total income to Rs 2450.87 crore in the quarter ended June 2013, as compared to the corresponding quarter last year.
Jaiprakash Associates ended with a hefty loss of 9.3%. NMDC, Grasim Industries, Ultratech Cement, Sesa Goa, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Reliance Infrastructure, Punjab National Bank, IDFC and Cairn India lost 1% - 3.5%.
The market breadth was weak. Out of 2443 stocks traded on BSE, 1419 stocks declined. 850 stocks moved up and 174 stocks ended flat.