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Relentless selling pulls sensex down 83 points

Mumbai, Nov. 14: Stocks continued their downward drift for the third straight session with the sensex falling by another 83 points in volatile activity on the Bombay Stock Exchange today on sustained selling pressure from local funds as well as foreign institutional investors (FIIs).

Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computers led the slide as FIIs, which have drastically slowed down buying in the past few days, reportedly targeted the technology sector and pressed sales in a bid to book profits ahead of the year-end.

“November and December are generally a slack period for foreign investors,” R K Chari Stock Broking director Venkatesh Iyer said.

In these months, foreign institutional investors face redemption pressure from their clients, forcing them to book profits and redeem the units. “But there are foreign funds waiting at the sidelines to enter at lower levels,” Iyer added.

Some operators were distraught by the huge margins imposed by the National Stock Exchange in the futures and options segment. This has forced them to liquidate a major portion of their exposure in the derivative segment, dealers said.

However, broking analysts expect the negative trend to blow over. “This is an important part of the rally. Corrections are healthy for the markets,” Iyer said.

The BSE benchmark 30-share index opened fractionally lower at 4948.77 and fell to the day's low at 4854.16 before ending at 4865.83 against Thursday’s close of 4949.16, a net fall of 83.33 points or 1.68 per cent.

The market is expected to fall further by around 150 points before any fresh price rally, brokers predicted.

Blue-chips like Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computers, Reliance, State Bank of India, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, ONGC, Grasim, GACL, Bajaj Auto and ACC registered sharp losses.

In the specified group, 168 stocks, including 26 index-based scrips registered losses, while 30 others ended with gains.

The traded turnover also plunged sharply to Rs 2059.81 crore from Rs 2541.17 crore on Thursday.

Among the stocks that bucked the trend were Bharti Televentures, adding Rs 1.80 to Rs 84.60, and ITC, adding Rs 2.10 to Rs 855.20.

Both NSE and BSE will remain open for trading between 11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. on Saturday, when NSE will test its back-up facilities in Chennai.

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