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The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex today fell 651 points as the rupee once again breached the 68-mark to the dollar after a spate of negative news, including escalating tension in Syria. Investors were spooked as Russian media said two missile launches were detected from the central Mediterranean Sea. The report came amid concern about military action in Syria. Brokers said across-the-board selling was triggered by a report that Standard & Poor's had said chances of a credit rating downgrade for India were higher than for Indonesia. After JP Morgan, HSBC Global Research and Nomura, Goldman Sachs today cut India's growth forecast for this fiscal to 4 per cent from 6 per cent earlier and said it expects the rupee to touch 72 against the dollar in the next six months. The Sensex, which started above the 19,000 mark, fell to close at 18,234.66, a decline of 651.47 points or 3.45 per cent. The drop was the most since August 16, when it fell 769 points or 3.97 per cent. It was the first loss after four sessions of gains, during which it added 918.05 points. The series of negative news followed data on Friday that showed economic growth slowed to 4.4 per cent in April-June. Yesterday, the government said growth in eight infrastructure industries was 3.1 per cent in July, against 4.5 per cent a year earlier. An indicator of manufacturing sector activity in India contracted in August. The Nifty tumbled 209.30 points, or 3.77 per cent, to 5,341.45.


Hit by massive sell-off in the stock market, as many as 170 stocks touched their one-year low on the BSE today. Among stocks that hit their 52-week low include PNB, Tata Chemicals, IDBI Bank, City Union Bank, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank, Andhra Bank and Adani Enterprises. Axis Bank shares fell by 9.27 per cent. From the Sensex components, 28 ended the day in red, while only Coal India and Mahindra & Mahindra managed to make gains. Hero MotoCorp was the worst performer among the Sensex blue-chips, falling 6.58 per cent.
All the BSE 13 sectoral indices ended the day with losses, with banking index taking the biggest hit. Defying the weak markets, 44 stocks scaled their 52-week high. 


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Stock markets ended on a flat note on Wednesday, just below their record highs, but finished Samvat 2073 with robust gains of over 16 per cent. Equities added over Rs 25 lakh crore to investors' wealth this Samvat year. The benchmark Sensex has gained 4642.84 points, or 16.61 per cent, in the Hindu Samvat year 2073, while the broader NSE Nifty surged 1572.85 points, or 18.20 per cent during this period.
Small loss in last session
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The combined market valuation of the Kumar Mangalam Birla-led listed companies stood at Rs 3,42,354.87 crore (USD 53.5 billion) at the end of Friday's trade.
Among various listed companies of the group, UltraTech Cement's valuation stood at Rs 1,10,097.70 crore at the end of Friday's trade while that of Grasim Industries was Rs 76,881.73 crore.
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Among Indian conglomerates, the Tata group remains on the top in terms of total valuation of listed firms with about Rs 8,46,567 crore (USD 132.5 billion).
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