Indian markets lose more than 4 per cent on panic selling


New Delhi : Indian markets witnessed a major downswing on Thursday with the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark 30-share Sensex at one point touching a six-month low due to panic selling fuelled by reports of a steep fall in industrial growth and possible recession in the United States, according to dpa. The weak US dollar and rising crude prices added to the fall.

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The Sensex, which opened on a weak note, closed at 15,357.35, down 770.63 points, or 4.78 per cent, on its previous close. The benchmark index fell for the first time in three days, with 29 of its 30 stocks trading in the red.

The wider 50-share Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange also dropped by 248.40 points, down by 5.10 per cent, to close at 4,623.60 as most of the heavyweight stocks led by banking sector lost major ground.

Realty and metal stocks saw a lot of selling, along with consumer durables and power stocks. State-run oil refinery stocks dipped sharply as global crude oil prices traded near record levels of 110 dollars a barrel.

Indian Oil Corporation, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel and real estate developer DLF were among the biggest losers. Analysts ascribed the sharp fall in the equities market to fears of a slowdown of the economy following the Indian government’s report that industrial growth for January had nosedived to 5.3 per cent from 11.6 per cent in the same month in 2007. The market sentiment also tailed weak global markets on concerns
that the US Federal Reserve may not be doing enough to solve the current credit crisis, analysts said.

“Things have gone from bad to worse,” market analyst Sudhanshu Pandey said on NDTV-Profit television channel. He predicted that the shares could dip further over the next few days. Analysts now fear there may be a redemption pressure on funds.