Mumbai: Bucking a positive global trend, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday closed nearly 94 points lower at 19,323.80 on fag-end selling due to growth concerns, amid expiry of December futures contract.
    
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer initially touched a high of 19,504.40 but succumbed to heaving selling at the end of session to close at 19,323.80 -- a fall of 93.66 points or 0.48 percent. The index snapped a straight two-session gaining string.
    
Fall in stocks like RIL, ICICI Bank, Infosys, HDFC, ITC, M&M, TCS and HUL mainly weighed on the market, which took out nearly 90 points from the Sensex on Thursday.
    
"Profit-booking was seen in some of the stocks like Reliance, M&M, HUL and BHEL, and others kept the index under pressure. Investors rolled their positions as it was Futures and Options (F&O) expiry day," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
    
Traders said selling pressure in Indian stocks rose after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi that India faces many challenges to achieve sustainable growth.
    
Describing the current economic situation as a difficult one, he hinted at tough decisions like hike in energy prices and reduction of subsidies to achieve 8 percent growth target in 12th Five Year Plan.
    
The broad-based S&P CNX Nifty of the NSE also declined by 35.50 points or 0.60 per cebt to end at 5,870.10.
    
Overall, the market breadth turned negative as 1,664 stocks ended lower while 1,228 scrips settled with gains.
    
The domestic market did not move in line with Asian markets, barring Shanghai, that gained in the 0.1-1.1 percent range. European markets were also trading 0.2-0.4 percent higher in their afternoon trades.
    
Market experts attributed the initial rally in Indian stocks to "covering of short positions" on the last day of derivatives contract, amid sustained capital inflows. However, selling, in the form of profit-booking, in the last half an hour later put pressure on the market, they added.
    
Traders generally cover the sales of borrowed shares that they had expected to fall when they speculate the securities could actually rise.
    
Globally, key indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan ended up between 0.10-1.09 percent while the one from China finished lower by 0.60 percent.
    
US President Barack Obama was expected to be back in Washington to resume talks to avert the budget issue.
    
France's CAC was up by 0.42 percent, the UK's FTSE by 0.23 percent and the Germany's DAX was trading 0.28 percent higher in late trades.
    
On Indian markets, Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL said: "As long Nifty is unable to surpass the barrier of 5930 the view remains cautious, as any break below the 5800 levels could trigger major unwinding of long position in the market."
    
Around 21 scrips from 30-share Sensex pack finished weak on Thursday. Major losers were BHEL (1.74 pc), Jindal Steel (1.68 pc), Sterlite Ind. (1.59 pc), GAIL (1.57 pc), M&M (1.47 pc), RIL (1.20 pc), Cipla (1.15 pc), Infosys (1.06 pc), HUL (0.97 pc), ICICI Bank (0.91 pc), TCS (0.78 pc) and ITC (0.47 pc).
    
However, Tata Motors led the gainers as it rose by 1.34 percent, followed by ONGC (0.86 pc) and SBI (0.74 pc).
    
Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-IT declined by 0.77 percent, followed by BSE-Oil&Gas (0.69 pc), BSE-Metal (0.65 pc), BSE-Teck (0.65 pc) and BSE-CD (0.63 pc).
    
The total turnover improved further to Rs 2,519.61 crore from Rs 2,410.67 crore on Wednesday.

(Agencies)

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