Sensex drops over 250 pts in early trade; Nifty slips below 15,050

Mumbai, Feb 19 Equity benchmark Sensex dropped over 250 points in early trade on Friday tracking losses in banking and financial stocks amid negative cues from global markets.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 281.86 points or 0.55 per cent lower at 51,042.83.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty was quoting 87.25 points or 0.58 per cent down at 15,031.70.

PowerGrid was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by ICICI Bank, NTPC, Bajaj Auto, Maruti, Bajaj Finance and SBI.

On the other hand, HUL, Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, L&T, M&M and HCL Tech were among the gainers.

In the previous session, Sensex ended 379.14 points or 0.73 per cent lower at 51,324.69, and Nifty dropped 89.95 points or 0.59 per cent to finish at 15,118.95.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 903.07 crore on Thursday, as per exchange data.

According to Binod Modi Head-Strategy at Reliance Securities, domestic equities do not look to be inspiring at the moment. "A pullback in broad indices was quite visible for the last two days. However, investors continued to lap-up midcap and smallcap stocks led by improved earnings outlook."

US markets finished lower as weaker jobless claim data and risk of potential rise in inflation amid elevated commodity and energy prices weighed on sentiments.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading on a negative note in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.64 per cent lower at USD 62.88 per barrel. PTI

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Rupee settles flat at 72.96 against US dollar

Mumbai, Feb 4 The Indian rupee ended unchanged at 72.96 (provisional) against the US dollar on Thursday even as the domestic equity markets scaled fresh highs.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 72.92 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 72.90 and a low of 72.96.

It finally ended at 72.96 against the American currency, unchanged from its previous close.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, advanced 0.28 per cent to 91.42.

The rupee is trading in a narrow range as market participants are looking ahead to cues from the Monetary Policy Committee decision due this week and the outlook on the economy by the central bank, analysts said.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 358.54 points or 0.71 per cent higher at 50,614.29, while the broader NSE Nifty climbed 105.70 points or 0.71 per cent to 14,895.65 .

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 2,520.92 crore on Wednesday, according to exchange data.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.55 per cent to USD 58.78 per barrel.

Input: PTI

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