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Sensex plunges 300 points as Infosys shares drop most in a decade

Hit by over 21 per cent plunge in Infosys shares on disappointing earnings, the BSE benchmark Sensex today tumbled by nearly 300 points to end at 18,242.56 despite better-than-expected industrial production as well as consumer price inflation data.

The Sensex, which had gained 316 points in last two sessions, dropped by 299.64 points, or 1.62 per cent to 18,242.56. Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 65.45 points, or 1.17 per cent to 5,528.55.

The second biggest software exporter, Infosys plunged by 21.33 per cent to Rs 2,295.45, recording its biggest single day fall since April 2003, after lower-than-expected revenue outlook for fiscal 2013-14 and disappointing Q4 earnings.

"The main reason for the decline in benchmark indices was the big fall in share price of Infosys," said Nagji K Rita, Chairman & MD, Inventure Growth and Securities.

Markets ignored sentimentally positive macroeconomic data like February IIP at 0.6 per cent as against street expectations of marginal decline and Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation declining to 10.39 per cent in March, said brokers.

"Better-than-expected numbers on IIP and CPI inflation was a mix of sustainable and one-off factors," said Kotak Mahindra Bank chief economist Indranil Pan.

After the steep fall in Infosys, which alone dragged the Sensex deep into negative terrain, other software exporting companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, HCL Technologies, Wipro and Tech Mahindra also declined.

In 30-share Sensex pack, 13 stocks declined, while 16 stocks gained led by ITC, SBI and RIL.

Sectorally, the IT sector index suffered the most by falling 11.09 per cent to 6,040.48, followed by tech index by 1.87 per cent to 3,506.81. Capital goods index fell by 0.69 per cent to 8,940.19 and consumer durable index by 0.61 per cent to 6,958.57.

Trading sentiment further dampened on a weakening trend in overseas markets before a report that may show US retail sales stagnated.

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