STOCK MARKET BLEEDS
Sensex plummets 807 pts to crack 23,000-mark
In a bloody carnage on Dalal Street, market benchmark Sensex plunged by 807.07 points today, its biggest fall in six months, to settle below 23,000-level after 21 months as fears of a global slowdown and disappointing quarterly numbers combined to batter investor sentiment. Total investor wealth, measured in terms of cumulative market value of all listed stocks, tanked by more than Rs 3 lakh crore. Following today's fall, the Sensex has come off over 23 per cent from its all-time peak of 30,024 recorded nearly a year ago on March 4 while the total investors' wealth has come down by close to Rs 20 lakh crore since then. With this domestic equities have entered a 'bear market', which experts define as a fall of 20 per cent from all-time peak. The BSE Sensex after opening lower at 23,758.46 continued to slide on heavy selling pressure in blue-chips, forcing the index to touch a low of 22,909.12 before settling at 22,951.83 showing a fall of 807.07 points or 3.40 per cent. This was index's weakest closing since May 12, 2014. The 50-share NSE Nifty broke 7,000-mark after plunging 239.35 points or 3.32 per cent to 6,976.35. The fall was so widespread that 28 Sensex stocks closed with losses including Adani Ports, BHEL, Tata Motors, ONGC, M&M, Tata Steel, HDFC, RIL, Axis Bank, GAIL, Maruti, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, lupin and ITC falling up to 6.94 per cent. Only Cipla and Dr Reddy's ended in the green territory. Among BSE sectoral indices, realty suffered the most at 5.94 per cent followed by power (4.81 pc), PSU (3.90 pc), oils&gas (3.82 pc), metal (3.81 pc), banking (3.81 pc), capital goods (3.57 pc) and auto (3.53 pc). The broader markets also performed weak with the BSE small-cap index falling 4.64 per cent and mid-cap down 3.27 per cent. Weak quarterly earnings of key corporates, global economic growth prospects and continued selling pressure by foreign portfolio investors and oil prices tanked again on fears of a deepening economic slowdown, dampened the sentiment. Country's biggest lender State Bank of India fell by 2.99 per cent to Rs 154.20 after it posted 67 per cent decline in consolidated profit to Rs 1,259.49 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2015-16. Overseas, Asian and European shares declined, as investors weighed a warning from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen that global financial market turbulence could hurt US growth. Hong Kong listed shares plunged 3.85 per cent to a three year low, while European markets were also down in their early trend.