Sensex closes flat; PSU, bank stocks plummet

A benchmark index for Indian equities markets Friday closed flat following heavy selling in public sector undertaking (PSU), bank and metal stocks.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,543.95 points, closed at 18,506.57 points, down 10.77 points or 0.06 percent from its previous close at 18,517.34 points.

The benchmark index touched a high of 18,556.50 points and low of 18,402.38 points intra-day. The BSE midcap index was up 3.65 points. The smallcap index was higher by 14.16 points.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange slumped 1.15 points or 0.02 percent at 5,626.60 points.  There was heavy selling in public sector undertaking (PSU), bank, metal, health care and realty stocks.

The PSU index was down 57.05 points, while the bank index was lower by 45.56 points, followed by metal index down 30.22 points, healthcare index down 28.78 points, and realty index down 10.93 points.

However, auto index gained 34.45 points followed by oil and gas index up 21.48 points, and consumer durables index was higher by 11.81 points.

The major Sensex losers were NTPC, 2.57 percent lower at Rs.159.50; Gail India, down 1.95 percent at Rs.340.00; Cipla, down 1.62 percent at Rs.381.45; Wipro, down 1.38 percent at Rs.365.50; and ITC, down 0.95 percent at Rs.286.20.

Only 12 of the 30 Sensex scrips were trading in the green.

Among the gainers were BHEL, higher by 1.51 percent at Rs.224.65; Hero MotoCorp, up 1.21 percent at Rs.1,824.35; Tata Power, up 1.14 percent at Rs.102.05; Hindustan Unilever, up 1.04 percent at Rs.529.65; and Sun Pharma, up 1.00 percent at Rs.705.35.

Among the other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei rose 1.56 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.79 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.58 percent.

All major European markets were trading flat with Britain's FTSE 100 up 0.14 percent, while the German DAX was higher by 0.03 percent. The French CAC 40 index was trading 0.10 percent down.

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