Sensex tumbles on soaring oil prices

MUMBAI, MARCH 17. Soaring crude prices and negative FII (foreign institutional investors) activity today sent the Sensex tumbling by 77 points during the last one hour on the Bombay Stock Exchange even as global markets witnessed a meltdown.

Despite a pledge by OPEC to increase production, international oil prices touched a record closing high of $56.46 a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday and hit an all-time high of $56.69 dollar during morning Asian trade.

In a dramatic slowdown in activity, foreign institutional investors reported net sales of Rs. 46.10 crores on March 15 after pumping in massive funds in February and during the post-budget fortnight.

Extending its losing string to the fifth day in a row, the BSE Benchmark 30-share Index opened weak at 6719.11 and later reeled under sustained sell-off and dropped to an intra-day low of 6640.88 before ending at 6669.52 as against yesterday's close of 6746.88, a net fall of 77.36 points or 1.15 per cent.

The Sensex has fallen by over 238 points or 3.45 per cent in the five trading sessions since March 11. Operators, which were having long outstanding positions, continued to wind up their holdings in the futures and options segment following concerns over rising global oil prices. Blue chip counters such as Reliance, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Zee Telefilms, Grasim, HDFC Bank, HPCL, BHEL, GACL, Hero Honda, Hindalco and Maruti Udyog recorded sharp losses on heavy selling pressure. — PTI

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