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Markets back on Fall Street

The twin impact of widening trade deficit and budget write-offs, and fresh fears of a US recession, result in the second-biggest fall in Sensex history. Suman Layak and Suprotip Ghosh report.

business Updated: Mar 04, 2008 01:05 IST

Indian Markets have gone glocal. And investors are paying the price. The twin impact of widening trade deficit and budget write-offs, and fresh fears of a US recession, resulted in the second-biggest fall in Sensex history on Monday.

The Sensex lost 900.84 points (5.12 per cent) to close at 16,677.88 points. The Nifty ended lower by 270.5 points (5.18 per cent) at 4,953 points.

<b1>Experts predict a further fall. With Swiss banking giant UBS announcing a write-off of $15 billion or Rs 60,000 crore — coincidentally the amount written off by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his budget towards farm loans in default — experts see no respite in the short term.

Market watchers feel the only sensible thing to do is to buy stocks of good companies with sound financials that are now going cheap. “We are asking investors to go in for fundamentally strong stocks. They should be cheap,” said Deven Choksey of KR Choksey Securities.

The downslide reflected the meltdown in global financial markets. With the exception of China’s Shanghai Composite Index, all major indices stayed in the red.

Meanwhile, India’s fiscal deficit numbers, and the widening export-import gap saw the rupee fall by 0.9 per cent against the dollar on Monday. At Rs 40.26, it is now down to September 2007 levels.