Sensex drops 116 points

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The Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index, Sensex, fell for the third straight session on Thursday, shedding 116 points on sell-off in interest sensitive stocks such as realty and auto, amid fears that a sharp rise in food inflation would prompt the Reserve Bank of India to hike policy rates, making loans costlier.

Opening firm, the benchmark index failed to maintain the momentum and closed lower by 116.36 points at 20184.74 against 20301.10. The key index has plummeted by 376.35 points or 1.83 per cent in the last three trading sessions. Marketmen said a sharp rise in food inflation to 18.32 per cent for the week ended December 25, 2010, coupled with foreign institutional investor tepid inflows added to the market woes.

Profit-booking in Larsen & Toubro, which plunged by 2.74 per cent to Rs. 1,877.50, was the biggest contributor to the overall fall.

The realty sector index suffered the most by losing 2.41 per cent to 2713.74 on fears that a hike in interest rate would directly impact sale of homes. The capital goods sector index was down by 1.88 per cent to 14912.81, followed by the auto sector index which fell by 1.59 per cent to 9806.13. Consumer durable index lost 1.41 per cent to 6312.31. Besides, banking shares continued to remain under pressure. State Bank of India declined by 2.67 per cent to Rs. 2,625.20 from Rs. 2,697.30 and ICICI Bank by 1.59 per cent to Rs. 1,053.05.

TCS rallied by 1.39 per cent to Rs. 1,174.20 and Infosys by 0.24 per cent to Rs. 3,475.85.

Rupee recovers 7 paise

The rupee on Thursday recovered by about 8 paise to close at 45.2450/2550 against the U.S. currency on late dollar selling by exporters and banks despite weakness in equities and firm dollar overseas. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened lower at 45.40/41 from the overnight close of 45.32/33 and immediately touched a low of 45.43 on the back of weakness in domestic equities — PTI



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