Sensex sheds 250 points

Updated on May 11, 2004 04:16 PM IST

With exit polls predicting a hung Parliament, the Bombay Stock Exchange went crashing down for the second day running.

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PTI | ByIANS, Mumbai

Indian shares took a beating and a key index crashed by 250 points or 4.5 percent in early hours of trading on Tuesday as exit polls after the final leg of the general election dashed any hope of a decisive mandate.

The bellwether sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange opened at 5,472.03 points, compared with Monday's close of 5,555.84 points, and soon dipped further to 5,385.64 points. At this level the index was down 4.5 percent.

The index subsequently recovered to 5,393.77 around 11:00 am but was still 162.07 points or 2.92 percent lower than the previous day's close.

All the 30 shares that comprise the 30-share Sensex registered declines.

The sentiment was also affected by developments in the international arena, where US stocks hit their lowest levels of this year on fears of interest rate hikes and crude prices continued to rule above the $40 mark.

The results of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, in which N. Chandrababu's ruling Telugu Desam Party was facing defeat at the hands of the opposition Congress party, also dampened sentiments.

"Traders expected the last set of exit polls to give some relief in terms of a decisive mandate. The ruling coalition had been improving," said an analyst with a brokerage here. "But now political uncertainty looms large and sentiments are obviously hit hard.

"Sentiments are also affected by fears of interest rate hikes in the US and creeping inflation due to hardening crude prices."

The hammering of Sensex stocks apart, the automobile, banking, steel, cement and software counters were also in the grip of selling pressures.

Reliance Industries was down Rs. 13 at Rs. 506, ONGC lost Rs. 16 at Rs. 830, ICICI Bank dipped Rs. 15 at Rs. 285 and ITC lost Rs. 50 at Rs. 952.

Persistent downtrend at the Nasdaq kept tech counters weak, with Infosys Technologies, Wipro and Satyam all trading at lower levels. Second-rung tech stocks were also in the negative territory.

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