The BSE benchmark Sensex fell for the third day today, dipping 130 points to 17,463.04, on concerns over corporate earnings against the backdrop of high inflation and rising interest rates.

Intraday, it fell to nearly 8-month low of 17,362.59 as overall investor sentiment remained negative on reports that India’s economic growth rate may slip next fiscal.

Major contributors to the fall were heavyweights like Infosys Tech (2.27 per cent), SBI (3.64 per cent), RIL (1.33 per cent) and HDFC (2.01 per cent).

Besides, telecom counters suffered the most on widening CBI probe in 2G spectrum (radio waves) scam and sectoral regulator Trai’s recommendations on spectrum pricing, which, if accepted, will end up hitting telcos to the tune of over Rs 16,000 crore.

IT and realty stocks also were on selling list.

However, yesterday’s badly battered Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group (ADAG) companies recovered after the group said late Wednesday that it was a victim of a bear cartel that has caused a market value loss of over Rs 3.0 lakh crore across the infrastructure sector in past two weeks.

It has written to market regulator Sebi and intelligence agencies to investigate the matter.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30—share index resumed in the green but immediately fell back to end at a fresh 7—month low of 17,463.04, a fall of 129.73 points or 0.74 per cent. In straight three days, it has lost 574.15 points or 3.18 per cent.

The NSE 50—issue Nifty also declined further by 27.75 points to end at near 8—month low of 5,225.80. It touched the day’s low of 5,196.80.

Market sentiment was so fragile that sharp fall in food inflation could not boost investor confidence. It dipped to a seven week low of 13.07 per cent for the week ended January 29 from 17.05 per cent in the previous week.

However, smart rise in Tata Motors, ITC, REL Infra, L&T, Jaipra Asso and ICICI Bank help recover some losses in the later part of the trade.

Increased selling by foreign funds remained the main concern for marketmen. They sold shares worth Rs 609 crore yesterday as per provisional data after pulling out Rs 531.60 crore on February 8.

Weak global cues also weighed on the market. In Asia, besides China, which ended up by 1.62 per cent, most of the other markets ended in the red after US Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the economy was still too weak to pull back the monetary stimulus.

Other key indices from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan ended in the red between 0.11 per cent and 1.97 per cent. European market also displayed a feeble trend in their afternoon deals.

Overall, 16 of the 30 Sensex—based counters closed with losses, while others finished with gains. Bharti Airtel dropped by 2.80 per cent, Sterlite Ind by 2.53 pc, BHEL by 2.48 pc, Hindalco 1.64 pc, HUL by 1.36 pc and Wipro by 1.25pc.

However, REL Infra was the top gainer from the Sensex pack with a rise of 9.45 per cent followed by Jaipra Asso(5.25 pc), Tata Motors (2.37 pc), REL Com (1.79 pc), DLF (1.45 pc) and ITC (1.20 pc).

The total market breadth remained negative with 1,811 stocks ending in the red against 1,032 that finished in the green. The total turnover was relatively low at Rs 3,700.07 crore from Rs 3,942.21 crore yesterday.

Keywords: stocks closesensexBSE

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