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Falling for the second straight day,the S&P BSE benchmark Sensex today slid 286 points to end below the crucial 20,000 level on heavy losses in ITC, RIL, HUL and ICICI Bank shares, amid investors adopting a cautious stance on monthly derivatives expiry.
Weak global cues and concerns related to recent RBI liquidity tightening moves also weighed on sentiments as the 30-share index closed at its lowest levels in two weeks.
The Sensex, which had lost 211.45 points in the previous session, fell further by 285.92 points, or 1.42% to 19,804.76, a level last seen on July 16.
On similar lines, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty tumbled by 83 points, or 1.39% to 5,907.50.
It had lost 87.30 points on Wednesday. SX40 index, the flagship index of MCX-SX, also closed 159.66 points, or 1.33%, lower at 11,829.16.
Sanjeev Zarbade, Vice President- Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities said: "Market continued its downward slide today partially fuelled by negative global cues as the Dow and S&P 500 had finished in negative territory on Wednesday. It was also expiry day for Indian derivatives."
Selling pressure was more confined to FMCG sector led by Sensex heavyweight ITC whose shares tanked 4.57% even as the firm posted over 18% growth in Q1 profit. Its peer, HUL slid 3.2% on heavy selling as well.
Another index heavyweight RIL fell nearly 2%. Financial majors like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ended lower.
Meanwhile, shares of Ambuja Cements plummeted by 10.52% and ACC by 3% after Swiss cement-maker Holcim announced a move to rejig shareholding in the firms.
Sectorally on Thursday, the BSE FMCG sector index suffered the most by losing 3.33% to 7,270.50, followed by metal sector by 1.73% to 7,233.24. Health sector index fell by 1.64% to 9,164.15 and oil and gas index by 1.35% to 8,894.94.