The Sensex on Monday fell by over 229 points to close at 18,708.98, its lowest in 10 days, on heavy selling in RIL, SBI and L&T amid weakness in European stocks ahead of a key meeting to discuss the region’s debt crisis.

After opening slightly weaker on weak Asian cues, the BSE benchmark index stayed in the negative zone throughout the session and touched the day’s low of 18,684.40.

Dragged down by realty, oil and gas, capital goods and consumer durable shares, Sensex finally closed 229.48 points or 1.21 per cent lower at 18,708.98. This is the lowest closing for the index since 18,579.50 on September 27.

The 50-share NSE Nifty index ended 70.95 points down or 1.23 per cent at 5,676. “Selling pressure in heavyweights led to fall of over 1 per cent today. Lower opening of European indices as well as weaker US Futures also hit sentiment,” said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Reseach Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

RIL was the worst hit among 30-share Sensex on Monday as it dropped 4.51 per cent. Hindalco (3.52 pc), Bhel (3.44 pc), L&T (3.09 pc), SBI (2.97 pc), Tata Motors (2.87 pc), Tata Power (2.5 pc) and Wipro (2.18 pc). Pharma stocks, however, bucked the trend.

In BSE, 1,515 stocks fell while nearly 1,383 scrips rose. M-cap fell by Rs 62,000 crore to Rs 65.71 lakh crore.

Globally, European stocks are trading over 1 per cent down on reports that World Bank has cut its East Asian growth forecast. Sentiments were also weak ahead of Eurozone finance ministers meeting shortly to discuss the region’s debt crisis.

Meanwhile, the rupee slumped over 1 per cent to 52.51 against the US dollar in afternoon trade.

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