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Benchmark indices dropped for the first time in three days on Wednesday with the Sensex slumping 243 points and the Nifty slipping over 74 points as investors booked profits in banking and metal stocks, amid weak global cues due to persisting geopolitical tensions.
The BSE 30-share Sensex resumed slightly lower and gradually moved down further to settle at 25,665.27, a fall of 242.74 points, or 0.94%. In the previous two days, it had risen 427.17 points or 1.68%. The NSE Nifty also dipped 74.50 points, or 0.96%, to 7,672.05 after gaining 144 points in the last two sessions.
Almost all major Asian stock markets fell with indices in Japan and Jakarta the worst-hit. European indices were trading deep in the red, down up to 1.5%. In oil trade, the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery rose 10 cents to $97.48 while Brent crude gained 25 cents to $104.86.
The weakness in global financial markets, triggered by reports of fresh build-up of troops on Ukraine's border by Russia, also affected the rupee that dropped to near five-month low of 61.41 to the dollar, intra-day, on rising outflows and dollar buying. “Indian equity markets were seen struggling as participants opted to book profits after two sessions of wins. Mainly, weak global cues and depreciation in the rupee dampened the sentiments,” said Jayant Manglik, president-retail distribution, Religare Securities.
Shares of ITC, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, HDFC Bank, ONGC, Axis Bank, HDFC, Sun Pharma, Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel and Hindalco were among 23 laggards. Overall, 10 out of 12 S&P BSE sectoral indices closed in the red. Only IT and Tech barometers finished in the green on smart rise in Infosys and mild uptick in Wipro.
Brokers also said that worries over slowing purchases by foreign investors concerned participants. Overseas investors picked up shares worth only R52.85 crore on Tuesday. IT stocks were in demand after fall in the rupee value. Infosys was the top gainer from the Sensex pack with a rise of 2.01% on news that three former executives have asked the company to consider a buyback of shares.