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Sensex falls 369 points; banking, auto stocks drag

The broader NSE Nifty touched a high of 10,804.45 during the day and fell to a low of 10,630.95. It finally ended 119, or 1.10 per cent, down at 10,661.55.

The benchmark BSE Sensex on Monday fell 369 points on widespread selling pressure amid indications that the interim Union Budget will have some populist announcements which will impact the fiscal deficit target.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 36,124.26 and low of 35,565.15 before finishing 368.84 points, or 1.02 per cent, down at 35,656.70. The broader NSE Nifty touched a high of 10,804.45 during the day and fell to a low of 10,630.95. It finally ended 119, or 1.10 per cent, down at 10,661.55.

Analysts said the populist measures in the upcoming Budget will stray the government from fiscal consolidation path, triggering a caution among investors. Heavy selling pressure emerged mainly in banking, auto and consumer durables stocks, pulling down their shares by as much as 5.46 per cent.

Further, weak set of earnings from auto firms and selling in banks marked the tone of domestic indices.

Besides domestic factors, concerns related to ongoing US-China trade tussle kept investors jittery. "Global macro concerns are front and centre today, as investors focus on the Fed meeting, and US. China trade talks take centre stage. Markets across the globe remained weak and Indian markets were no exception with a 1.1 per cent fall in Nifty and 2.1 per cent fall in Midcap index," Sunil Sharma, chief investment officer, Sanctum Wealth Management, said. Yes Bank tumbled 5.46 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance 5.40, ICICI Bank 3.82 per cent, IndusInd Bank 3.10 per cent and HeromotoCorp 2.55 per cent. The BSE Sensex had Friday lost 169 points.

Bucking the trend, TCS emerged as the biggest gainer with 1.71 per cent gain on the Sensex. Other winners were Coal India, Larsen and Toubro, PowerGrid, Asian Paint, HCL Tech and NTPC - rising up to 1.51 per cent.

Sector-wise, BSE Finance Index declined 2.1 per cent, Healthcare Index fell over 2 per cent. On the flipside, BSE Teck Index was top gainer, up 0.8 per cent. Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet is expected to soon approve a relief package for farmers grappling with falling prices of their crops and to tackle distress in the farm sector, according to sources. The likely relief package is seen as an attempt to assuage the farming community's discontent ahead of the general elections.