Sensex down 143pts, bank shares hit by money laundering fears

Sensex down 143pts, bank shares hit by money laundering fears

 The BSE benchmark Sensex today fell by 143 points on heavy selling in private banks, including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, following government's promise that action will be taken against the guilty in alleged money laundering scam.

After a better start at 19,673.16, the Sensex fell by 142.88 points, or 0.73 per cent to settle at 19,427.56. The gauge had gained 208 points in the previous session after a three-day string of losses.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 36.35 points, or 0.62 per cent to end at 5,872.60, after touching the day's high of 5,945.65.
ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank were among top losers in 30-share Sensex. Axis Bank ended nearly 1 per cent lower.

In New Delhi, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru said both RBI and the Ministry are collecting information. If the allegations are established, then whoever is guilty will pay the price, he added.

"Banking stocks pared their recent gains after news of RBI probing the money-laundering practices in the said banks weakened investor sentiment," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.

While Asian stocks were mixed, a lower opening in Europe as eurozone leaders eased constraints on national budgets amid a deepening recession, further influenced the Indian markets.

ICICI Bank ended 3.93 per cent lower, HDFC Bank by 1.67 per cent. The negative sentiment hit others including Yes Bank and Indusind Bank.

Overall, 18 Sensex like Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, GAIL India, L&T, BHEL, Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and NTPC, declined.