Sensex closes 141 points lower as bribery scam jitters persist


Mumbai : A benchmark index of Indian equities markets Thursday closed 141 points lower as traders continued to be jittery over a bribery scam in leading realty financing companies and banking institutions.

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The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,560.25 points, closed at 19,318.16 points, down 141.69 points or 0.73 percent from its previous close at 19,459.85 points.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the 50-share S&P CNX Nifty ended at 5,799.75 points — down 1.13 percent.

Broader markets indices were also in the red, with the BSE midcap index ending 1.89 percent down and the BSE smallcap index trading 1.87 percent lower.

Top officers of some state-run banks as also financial institutions were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly accepting bribes to extend loans to corporate houses in a housing finance scam.

The CBI arrested senior officials from LIC Housing Finance, LIC, Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Punjab National Bank Wednesday and is investigating at least 15 real estate companies who could be beneficiaries of the corporate loans.

As a result, real estate and banking scrips, which were hammered in late trade Wednesday, continued to be under selling pressure.

Among gainers on the Sensex at this time were Infosys, up 2.09 percent at Rs.3,063.70; ACC, up 1.46 percent at Rs.1,009.05; HDFC, up 1.38 percent at Rs.696.55 and TCS, up 1.32 percent at Rs.1,023.60.

Major losers included Jaiprakash Associates, down 5.19 percent at Rs.115; DLF, down 4.13 percent at Rs.292.75; Reliance Com, down 3.94 percent at Rs.137.90, and L&T, down 3.48 percent at Rs.1,941.95.

The market breadth was negative, with only 743 stocks advancing, compared to 2,203 scrips on the decline. A total of 110 stocks remained unchanged.

Other Asian markets closed moderately higher as investors shook off the jitters from the exchange of firing between South and North Korean soldiers.

Trader sentiments were also up on positive data on incomes and consumer spending in the US, raising hopes that shoppers will come out in good numbers during the festive season.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended 0.13 percent higher at 23,054.68 points, while the Shanghai Composite index was closed 1.34 percent up at 2,898.26 points.

The Japanese markets closed 0.5 percent higher at 10,079.76 points.

European markets were in the green but gains continued to be moderate by ongoing concerns about sovereign debt of countries in the Euro zone.

Around mid-day, Britain’s FTSE 100 was trading 0.4 percent up at 5,679.87 points. The German DAX was 0.28 percent higher at 6,842.67 points, while the French CAC 40 was 0.15 percent down at 3,741.82 points.