The benchmark Sensex today fell 251 pts, its biggest drop in six days, to end at 25,062.67 weighed down by losses in ONGC and RIL shares after the government deferred a decision to hike natural gas prices and caution prevailed on the last day of June derivative contracts. Brokers said a sudden gust of selling at the fag-end in realty, banking and metal shares also pulled down indices.
The BSE 30-share barometer resumed lower and remained in negative terrain throughout the day before falling sharply at the end to settle at 25,062.67, a net drop of 251.07 points or 0.99 per cent. In six out of last straight seven trading sessions, the Sensex has showed a bearish trend. The index's drop today was its steepest since 274.94-point fall on June 18. Shares of gas producers were at the receiving end after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last evening postponed a hike in natural gas prices by 3 months and decided comprehensive discussions were necessary on the issue.
"This (postponement of decision) has been taken negatively by the market, as it was contrary to the general expectations," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio. All ten shares from sectoral S&P BSE Oil&Gas index ended with losses between 0.81 pct and 5.89 per cent. Sensex constituents RIL and ONGC contributed almost 150 points to the Sensex fall today
Other Sensex-based counters like HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Tata Motors, SBI, NTPC, Gail India and Coal India too suffered marked losses. Profit-booking on the last day of derivatives contract
also weighed on the market. As markets enter the July series, volatility is expected to remain high on account of the Union Budget, said Sahaj Agrawal, Deputy Vice President- Derivatives Research, Kotak Securities.
"The sentiment today further deteriorated after an update on weak monsoon by IMD," said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities. The broader 50-issue CNX Nifty of the NSE tumbled 76.05
points to end at nearly three-week low of 7,493.20. The Nifty's drop today was its sharpest since 107.80-point loss on June 13.