The benchmark Sensex on Monday fell over 173 points, its first drop in six sessions, to end below the 21,000-mark on economic growth concerns and global meltdown due to fears of war between Ukraine and Russia.

Healthcare, IT, Power, Auto and Capital Goods shares were among the hardest hit. Overall, 10 of the 12 BSE sectoral barometers ended in the red. Consumer durables and oil & gas shares, however, bucked the weak general trend.

TCS, ICICI Bank and Sun Pharma led 25 scrips in 30-share Sensex down. Dr Reddys and Bhel were biggest losers. However, RIL and ITC were among the five counters that advanced.

The BSE Sensex lost 173.47 points, or 0.82 per cent, to close at 20,946.65, snapping a five-day winning trend where it gained over 583 points. Also, the 50-scrip NSE index Nifty dropped by 55.50 points, or 0.88 per cent, to end at 6,221.45.

Brokers said besides profit-booking by speculators after recent gains, subdued economic growth data for the December quarter and a weak trend in global markets affected the mood.

Global stocks tumbled as tension over Russia’s military advance into Ukraine and possible sanctions by Western governments intensified. Oil surged above USD 104 per barrel on concern Russian supplies could get disrupted. Gold was up 2 per cent overseas on safe haven buying, said analysts.

“Political uncertainties developing within Russia and Ukraine led to cautious approach. Russian indices were trading lower by almost 10 per cent after interest rates were hiked by 150 bps by the country’s central bank. Other Asian and European indices were also seen under pressure,” said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

In the BSE, the healthcare sector index suffered the most by losing 1.55 per cent, followed by IT index (down 1.25 per cent), Power (1.18 per cent) and Auto index (1.18 per cent).

Auto scrips were weak after tepid February sales.

Last week, data showed the economy grew below expectations at 4.7 per cent in October-December. Growth in key infrastructure sector also slowed to 1.6 per cent in January.

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