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Thursday, May 25, 2006

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Sensex sheds 250 points

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Heavy volatility marks day's trading; Nifty down 83

Mumbai , May 24

Heavy selling and unwinding of positions in the F&O segment, ahead of Thursday's settlement, pushed the stock market back into the negative after a day's recovery.

On Wednesday, the benchmark BSE-30 Sensex opened high and rose over 177 points to touch the 11,000-mark, before selling in heavy weights ONGC and Reliance Industries put the market in reverse gear.

The Sensex closed 250 points or 2.31 per cent down from Tuesday, at 10,573.15 points. NSE's Nifty ended at 3,115.55 points, down 83 points or 2.62 per cent.

"Selling by foreign funds was just one of the reasons. There was huge selling by local investors, who, seeing the volatility of the last two to three sessions, wanted to offload their holdings," said Mr Kunj Banksal, Chief Investment Officer, Religare.

Foreign institutional investors have sold over $1 billion worth of stocks during May. Mutual funds continue to be buyers. According to SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) figures, domestic fund houses have bought for Rs 5,367 crore in May. Mutual funds were aggressive buyers in the last three to four sessions, dealers said. The SEBI data showed they had Rs 2,547.47 crore of net investments in the equity market over the last four sessions alone.

Despite the fall in indices, the overall market breadth was even on the BSE with 1,101 shares ending in the green against 1,366 stocks that declined.

Among the indices, BSE Metal and BSE Oil and Natural Gas suffered their worst fall at 3.61 per cent and 3.36 per cent respectively. The BSE Health Care index bucked the trend and ended in the green.

ONGC, which lost Rs 72.90 or 5.89 per cent to Rs 1164.75, was the biggest loser in the Sensex, followed by Tata Steel (down Rs 28.50 or 5.59 per cent to Rs 481.50) and Maruti Udyog (Rs 42.25 or 5.26 per cent to Rs 760.35). Reliance Industries declined Rs 30.60 or 3.16 per cent to Rs 938.50.

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