Mumbai, Oct. 8: Weak global markets and a bout of profit booking put the skids on the Sensex, which tumbled 229 points to close at 18708.98, its lowest level in the past 10 days.
Heavyweight Reliance Industries led the decline as the stock plunged 4.51 per cent to Rs 818.70 after Morgan Stanley downgraded the oil and petrochemicals giant to underweight from equal weight. The brokerage cited valuation concerns and weaker refining margins as the major reasons for the cut in its rating. RIL is due to announce its second quarter results on October 15.
Equities began the week on a modest note but lost ground as Asian stocks came under selling pressure on reports that the World Bank had cut the growth forecast for some Asia-Pacific economies to 7.2 per cent from 7.6 per cent. The bank cut its estimate for China to 7.7 per cent from 8.2 per cent. The selling pressure intensified after Europe also began trading in the red reflecting the nervous sentiment ahead of a two-day meeting of its finance ministers.
Reflecting the poor start to the week, the benchmark index, which opened marginally higher at 18969.19, hit an intra-day low of 18684.40 and thereafter ended at 18708.98, a drop of 229.48 points, or 1.21 per cent. The 50-share NSE Nifty index ended 70.95 points down, or 1.23 per cent, at 5676.
Analysts said investors chose to overlook the upbeat statements on the economy made by finance minister P. Chidambaram in the capital today.
The shares of real estate major DLF, which was sucked into a controversy last week over dubious business transactions with Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, slumped nearly 7.25 per cent to Rs 224.25 as worried investors dumped the stock.