Sensex plunges 297 pts on F&O expiry day; oil cos stocks fall

Sensex plunges 297 pts on F&O expiry day; oil cos stocks fall

The benchmark Sensex today fell over 297 points, posting its biggest drop in one week, to end at 27,208.61 on the December F&O expiry day, weighed down by heavy losses in BHEL, GAIL and ONGC shares.

Apart from a cautious stance by investors on the last day of December derivative contracts expiry, the rupee slipping past 63.50 level against the dollar on robust growth in the US economy also weighed on the sentiment.

The BSE Sensex after a slightly better start quickly slipped into the negative zone and continued to lose momentum to touch an intra-day low of 27,146.52 and settled at 27,208.61, down 297.85 points, or 1.08 per cent.

The index's drop today was its steepest since 538.12-point fall on December 16. It had lost 195.33 points yesterday.

Out of the 30-share Sensex, 27 scrips closed with losses led by oil and gas stocks, while Sesa Sterlite, Tata Steel and ICICI Bank ended higher.

The 50-share NSE index Nifty dipped below the crucial 8,200-mark by losing 92.90 points, or 1.12 per cent, at 8,174.10 after shuttling between 8,286.40 and 8,155.25.

Mixed Asian cues with China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbling nearly 2 per cent, on speculation the government is taking measures to cool the world's best-performing major stock market over the past month, too triggered selling on the domestic markets here, they said.

Market heavyweights BHEL lost 2.62 per cent, ONGC fell 2.16 per cent while GAIL declined 2.22 per cent. RIL shed 0.79 per cent.

Sectorwise, the BSE IT index suffered the most by plunging 1.38 per cent, followed by Oil & Gas index (1.36 pc), PSU index (1.15 pc), FMCG index (1.02 pc), Heatlhcare (1.01 pc), Power index (0.88 pc), Consumer Durables (0.81 pc), Capital Goods (0.76 pc), Auto index (0.66 pc) and Metal index (0.46 pc) and Banking index (0.38 pc).

However, Realty index ended 1.14 per cent higher. Smallcap and midcap indices also rose up to 0.15 per cent.

Sentiment were weighed down because of continued selling by foreign investors. FIIs have been net sellers on the Indian bourses for 11 straight sessions as of Tuesday.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 444.93 crore yesterday as per the provisional data. Stock exchanges will remain closed tomorrow on account of "Christmas".

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