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Sensex falls 344 points, Nifty slides below 17,000 mark in fifth day of losses

Banking, financial and telecom stocks witness heavy selling


Benchmark BSE Sensex trimmed all its early gains to close down by 344 points at a five-month low on Wednesday due to heavy selling in banking, financial and telecom stocks as lingering concerns over banks' health and high inflation dented sentiments.

Besides, persistent foreign capital drain from the domestic market and the sliding rupee kept the pressure on equities, traders said.

Falling for the fifth straight session, the 30-share BSE Sensex closed lower by 344.29 points or 0.59 per cent at 57,555.90. During the session, it touched a high of 58,473.63 and a low of 57,455.67.

The broader NSE Nifty declined 71.15 points or 0.42 per cent to end at 16,972.15, with 28 of its stocks ending with losses.

IndusInd Bank was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, shedding nearly 2 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, HDFC twins, SBI, HUL, Tata Motors, Nestle India and Axis Bank.

On the other hand, Asian Paints, Tata Steel, Titan and L&T were among the gainers, rising up to 3.03 per cent.

In Asian markets, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul ended in the green.

However, European equity markets were trading with significant losses in the afternoon trade. Major indices on Wall Street settled higher in the overnight trade.

Meanwhile, the rupee declined 25 paise to close at 82.62 against the US dollar on Wednesday.

International oil benchmark Brent crude gained 0.72 per cent to $78.01 per barrel.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) offloaded shares worth Rs 3,086.96 crore on Tuesday, according to exchange data.

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