Sensex crashes 340 points, rupee tumbles to record low

After an initial rally, the BSE benchmark Sensex crashed another 340 points today to the lowest closing level in more than 11 months as the rupee continued its free fall to an all-time low.

business Updated: Aug 22, 2013 02:26 IST

After an initial rally, the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex crashed another 340 points on Wednesday to the lowest closing level in more than 11 months as the rupee continued its free fall to an all-time low.

The rupee continued its downslide for the fifth trading day in a row, dropping to 64.52 against the dollar in afternoon deals, amid fresh measures announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday to increase the availability of cash in the banking system.

The 30-share Sensex opened at 18,545.44 and rallied more than 300 points from Tuesday's close to a high of 18,567.70 before declining to a low of 17,807.19. It closed at 17,905.91, a loss of 340.13 points, or 1.86%, the lowest level since Sept. 11, 2012.

In four days, the Sensex has plunged by 1,461.68 points or 7.55%.

The Nifty index on the National Stock Exchange dropped 98.90 points, or 1.83%, to 5,302.55. The SX40 index on the MCX-SX closed at 10,618.44, down 1.95%.

Brokers said market sentiment was hurt by sustained weakness in the rupee and expectations the US Federal Reserve would start withdrawing its bond-buying programme next month.

"The fall was led by selling in index heavyweights. This coincided with further weakness in the rupee," said Sanjeev Zarbade, vice president, Private Client Group Research at Kotak Securities.

"The market is now awaiting the Fed meeting notes to be released today for fresh clues on when the central bank plans to taper its monthly bond purchases."

Read more: Steep fall of rupee hits small and medium sector hard

Bharti Airtel, Sun Pharma, Sterlite Industries, ITC and Reliance Industries led the losers on the Sensex, while BHEL, HDFC and HDFC Bank gained. ITC and Reliance Industries together contributed 176 points to the index decline.

Metals, oil and gas, realty and FMCG were among the sectoral indices that fell. The bank and consumer durables sectors were the only two that gained. Bank stocks rallied after the RBI relaxed some rules to will help them deal with the notional or mark-to-market (MTM) loss in their government bond portfolios due to the recent sharp fall in bond prices.

Asian stocks ended mixed before the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's July meeting. Key indices in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea finished lower, while indices in China and Japan inched up.

In Europe, benchmark indices in France, Germany and UK were lower.

In the domestic market, 25 scrips on the Sensex ended lower, led by Bharti Airtel (6.31%), Sun Pharma (4.92%), Sterlite Industries (4.81%), ITC (4.8%), Reliance Industries (4.72%), NTPC (4.26%) and Hindalco (4.21%).

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Among sectoral indices, S&P BSE Metal dropped 3.63%, followed by S&P BSE-Oil&Gas 3.52%, S&P BSE-Realty 3.34%, S&P BSE-FMCG 3.17%, S&P BSE-Healthcare 2.6%, S&P BSE-CG 2.18%, S&P BSE-Teck 2.02% and S&P BSE-Power 1.78%.

Foreign institutional investors sold a net Rs 1,364.80 crore on Tuesday, as per Sebi data.

The total market breadth turned negative as 1,350 shares ended with losses, 915 finished with gains and 137 ruled steady. Total turnover rose further to Rs 2,261.40 crore from Rs 1,941.27 crore on Tuesday.

VIDEO: Rupee hits record low of 64.50 per dollar

First Published: Aug 21, 2013 10:14 IST