Mumbai: The BSE Sensex fell for the fourth straight session on Monday and closed 0.7% lower after choppy trading, as renewed concerns over Europe’s debt woes and fears of recession in the US continued to weigh on investor sentiment.
Investors reacted cautiously to the latest efforts by European policymakers to stop the fallout from the region’s debt crisis, while a sell-off in the commodity markets hit shares in Indian metals and mining companies.
Gloomy outlook: A file photo of the BSE building in Mumbai. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Index heavyweight Reliance Industries Ltd and capital goods stocks were also among the main losers for the session.
The 30-share BSE index closed 110.96 points lower in a volatile session to 16,051.10 after opening up 0.2%. It, however, ended off its intra-day low of 2.2%. Only nine of its components ended higher.
“We expect the market to remain volatile till there is an end to this Europe problem. That decision is getting postponed and the uncertainty is going up day by day,” said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities Ltd.
“We are just tracking the global markets. Since Europe and US futures turned positive, there was short covering,” he added.
However, metal and mining shares were among the worst hit after copper futures in Shanghai and London crashed as fears of a Greek default caused panic about a possible sharp slowdown in the global demand for industrial metals.
In India, shares of non-ferrous metals produces Hindalco Industries Ltd and Sterlite Industries India Ltd dropped close to near two-year lows and ended down 3.9% and 4.3%, respectively. State-run Hindustan Copper Ltd fell 3.7%, while Coal India Ltd, the world’s largest coal miner, lost 5.2%.
Energy major Reliance Industries, which has the heaviest weight in the main index, extended its previous session’s losses as investors continued to worry over the company’s woes in its oil and gas business. The stock fell 1.5% to Rs 759.20, taking its total losses in 2011 to more than 28%.
“Buyers are choosing to stay away, but this is actually the time at which long-term funds should be coming into the market,” said D.D. Sharma, senior vice-president at Anand Rathi Securities.
Shares in software exporters were among the few gainers in the session as the rupee dropped further from Friday’s close. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd, which get most of their revenues from the US and Europe, rose between 0.2% and 0.7%.
In the broader markets, 1,122 declines led 323 advances on a moderate volume of 564.6 million shares.
The 50-share National Stock Exchange main index NSE Nifty ended 0.7% lower at 4,835.40 points.
Ind-Swift Laboratories Ltd rose 1.1% to Rs 84.45 after a top official with the pharmaceutical ingredient maker said on Friday it had received approval to sell seven products in Australia.
Watch and jewellery maker Titan Industries Ltd fell 7.3% to Rs 207.25 after gold fell 3% on the day, taking losses to 10% over the last three days.