Mumbai: In line with weak Asian markets, Sensex on Wednesday dropped by 72 points to 16,846.05, its lowest closing since June 18, amid rising worries over deficient rains and delay in key economic reforms.
After opening marginally lower, the BSE benchmark index fell to the day's low of 16,736.60 -- over 180 points down -- on weak Asian cues.
The index later recouped some losses on the back of smart gains in ITC and Sun Pharma to conclude at 16,846.05, still 72.03 points or 0.43 percent lower. This is the lowest closing after it hit 16,705.83 on June 18.
Brokers said had it not been for the rise in these two stocks, Sensex would have seen a steeper fall. In the 30-share Sensex, nine scrips ended higher while 21 stocks, including Tata Steel and Hindalco, ended lower.
Both Infosys and Jindal Steel touched their 52-week lows. HUL, RIL, Bharti that fell in the 1-2 percent range also dragged the index down.
Traders said market participants feared that deficient rains will lead to a spurt in food prices, leaving not much room for the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates.
The absence of speedier economic reforms even after the Presidential Elections is a major worry, said dealers.
Trading was cautious ahead of the monthly settlement in derivatives segment on Thursday, they added.
Selling was seen mainly in metal, consumer durables, power, PSU and capital goods counters while some of the FMCG, IT and pharma stocks attracted good buying support.
The 50-share NSE index Nifty lost 18.60 points, or 0.36 percent to 5,109.60, after breaching 5,100 mark.     

The sentiment was negative as Asian markets, including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, closed lower on concerns over China's economic slowdown and debt crisis in Europe.
"Sentiments remain subdued over the concerns on overall economic health of global markets as well as weak monsoon in the country," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

Key benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan closed with losses between 0.14 percent and 1.44 percent.
However, European markets were trading higher in their afternoon deals on reports that an European Central Bank (ECB) policy maker said arguments can be made in favour of giving Europe's permanent rescue fund a banking licence.
France's CAC was up by 0.75 percent, Germany's DAX by 0.56 percent and the UK's FTSE by 0.24 percent.
Back home, other major losers in Sensex were Jindal Steel (4.33 pc), Tata Steel (2.41 pc), Bharti Airtel (2.26 pc), Hindalco (2.26 pc), Wipro (2.02 pc), NTPC (1.83 pc), Sterlite Industries (1.67 pc), Tata Motors (1.41 pc), Coal India (1.39 pc), SBI (1.15 pc), L&T (0.94 pc) and RIL (0.81 pc).
However cigarette major ITC was the top gainer from the Sensex pack with a rise of 1.64 percent while drug maker Sun Pharma rose by 1.27 percent.
Among sectoral indices, the BSE-Metal fell by 2.03 percent, followe by BSE-CD (1.70 pc), BSE-Power (1.41 pc), BSE-PSU (0.91 pc) and BSE-CG (0.91 pc).
The market breadth remained negative as 1,706 stocks settled with losses while 1,083 scrips closed with gains.
"It is almost certain that India is going to have a drought this year. In fact, US is in the midst of a drought and Europe too is facing unusual weather. So, food prices are likely to rise going ahead – almost ruling out rate cuts for the time being," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.
The total turnover was nearly stable at Rs 1,818.43 crore.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), first time in the current month, sold shares worth Rs 252.91 crore on Tuesday as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges, affecting the market sentiment.


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