Mumbai: The Sensex fell 4.01% on Wednesday to their lowest close in four months, dragged down by a global stock market sell-off and a budget that raised levies on some cement and widened the tax net for software services.
The 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange index was down 540.74 points to 12,938 on the day Finance Minister P. Chidambaram unveiled the annual Budget. The 50-share National Stock Exchange index down by 148.60 points or 3.82% to 3,745. About 564 shares have advanced, 1,864 shares declined, and 30 shares are unchanged.
Most companies saw red with index-heavyweight Infosys Technologies Ltd, India’s seond-largest software exporter, shed 109.50 points to close at Rs2,078.35 while larger rival Tata Consultancy Services shed 6.1% to Rs1,188.45.
Shares of ICICI Bank Bank Ltd dropped 43.75 points to Rs831.90, Tata Steel Ltd dipped 26.85 points to Rs442.50, and Bajaj Auto Ltd declined 107.30 points to Rs2,616.95.
In the broader Indian market, 1,949 losers outpaced 588 gainers on volume of 325.4 million shares.
India said on Wednesday it was raising spending in its annual budget on health and education and focusing on boosting the flagging agricultural economy in a drive to ensure growth included hundreds of millions of poor.
Top cement makers Grasim Industries, ACC Ltd and Gujarat Ambuja fell between 5.1% and 7.8% after the finance minister, striving to control inflation, raised taxes by 50% to Rs600 per tonne on cement sold for more than Rs190 per 50 kilogram bag.
Adding to the negative sentiment, Asian stocks skid on Wednesday as a global sell-off that started in China on Tuesday gathered steam after Wall Street stocks shed more than 3%.
But China’s main stock index gained almost 4% on Wednesday after falling 8.8% on Tuesday.
The Reserve Bank of India increased its overnight lending rate for the fifth time in a year on 31 January to a four-year high of 7.5% to help slow inflation to within its estimated range of 5% to 5.5% in the fiscal year ending 31 March.
India’s benchmark inflation rate held near a two-year high at 6.63% for the week ended 10 February.
Overseas investors sold a net Rs5.82 billion worth of stocks on 26 February, according to the latest information on the Securities & Exchange Board of India’s Web site.