Sensex tanks 287 pts, but holds above 34,000; Nifty hits 1-month low

PNB scam, came back to haunt Dalal Street investors on Friday, as benchmark indices reversed early gains to end nearly a per cent lower, bogged down by losses in frontline bank stocks such as SBI and YES Bank

Heavy selling in metal, auto and FMCG stocks in the absence of any positive global cues, also weighed on market sentiment. Most Asian markets were closed for Lunar New Year holidays.

The Nifty50 settled 93 points, or 0.88 per cent, down at 10,452, more than one-month low. Nifty had earlier closed at 10,443 on January 3, 2018.

Out of total 50 stocks in the Nifty pack, only nine remained up, while 41 fell.

Sensex settled 287 points, or 0.84 per cent, down at 34,011 on Friday.

The BSE Midcap and smallcap indices extended the fall and plunged 1.20 and 1.22 per cent, respectively.

“After opening on a positive note tracking upbeat global markets, key benchmark indices soon erased gains following selling pressure in public sector banks, weak macroeconomic data and a sharp appreciation of the rupee against the dollar. The Nifty PSU Bank Index slipped nearly 3% to 3,182.45 points,” said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager – Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.

Bank stocks have been in a free fall since the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud came into limelight.

Shares of Punjab National Bank settled nearly 2 per cent down on Friday amid reports that the RBI has directed the bank to pay the entire Rs 11,300 crore owed to counterparty banks in the alleged fraud involving jeweller Nirav Modi.

In other stock news, some liquor companies faced the heat after Karnataka government in the state’s Budget for 2018-19 increased the excise duty on alcohol products by 8 per cent.

Ravi Kumar Distilleries, Tilaknagar Industries, Globus SpiritsBSE -4.24 %, United Breweries, Radico Khaitan, Som Distilleries & Breweries and United Spirits fell after the news.

Eicher Motors, Indiabulls Housing Finance and Tech Mahindra stood as the top drags on the Nifty50 index, each falling over 3 per cent.

Bucking the trend, Ambuja Cements, Kotak Mahindra Bank and InfosysBSE 0.96 % gained over 1 per cent and settled as the top gainers of the day.

All sectors on the NSE closed in the red, with Nifty PSU Bank index, with a fall of over 2 per cent, as the top loser

Globally, European stocks were holding up, backed by decent earnings and easing clamour around inflation.

Most Asian markets were closed on Lunar New Year holidays. China markets will remain closed till February 21 and Hong Kong markets will be shut till February 19, 2018.

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