Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sensex falls 286 points, ends below 20,000 in choppy trade

Mumbai:Thu, Jul 25 2013(7STARNEWS) Indian shares fell over 1% on Thursday to their lowest close in nearly two weeks as ITC Ltd slumped after missing its quarterly sales forecast, and Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) dropped a day ahead of its results.

Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd also fell after their Switzerland-based owner Holcim Ltd announced a complex restructuring of its Indian units that was seen by some analysts as detrimental to minority shareholders.

The market was also choppy as July derivative contracts expired at the end of the session. The week was marked by volatility, with India's benchmark index rising to a

two-and-a-half-year high on Tuesday, but slumping since then on the central bank's additional cash-draining measures to support the rupee.

The Reserve Bank of India's steps such as capping individual banks' borrowing from itself has sent bond yields surging, raising concerns about higher borrowing costs for banks and companies. The measures also come ahead of its policy review on Tuesday.

"Nifty can fall till the 5,800 level if RBI announces more measures to stem the rupee's slide on or before policy day," said Vivek Mahajan, head of research at Aditya Birla Money.

The benchmark BSE index, Sensex, fell 1.42%, or 285.92 points, to end at 19,804.76, marking its biggest single day fall since 3 July. The broader NSE index lost 1.39%, or 83 points, to end at 5,907.50, falling for a second day.

Shares in ITC Ltd, India's largest cigarette maker, fell 4.57% after sales missed forecasts on lower-than-expected volume growth in the cigarette segment, dealers said.

Consumer goods maker HUL fell 3.21% on profit-taking a day ahead of its June-quarter earnings. It touched an all-time high of Rs.725 on Wednesday.

HUL was also hit after its parent Unilever Plc. reported underlying sales growth of 5% for the second quarter, just shy of market expectations, and said growth was slowing in emerging markets.

Technology company Wipro Ltd fell 4.01% a day ahead of its June-quarter results.

Ambuja Cements slumped 10.52%, after several brokerages, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Religare Institutional Research, downgraded the stock on news of its restructuring.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd closed 0.12% lower after declaring its June quarter earnings.

Among stocks that gained, Hero MotoCorp Ltd gained 4.2% after its adjusted operating margins for the June quarter beat estimates, while Bajaj Auto Ltd rose 0.04%.
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