Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sensex falls below more than 6 month low


By Shailendra Bhatnagar

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- India's Sensitive Index fell to its lowest in 6 1/2 months, paced by banks and real estate stocks, on widening global credit losses and as crude oil futures traded near a record above $110 a barrel.

ICICI Bank Ltd., the nation's second largest by assets, dropped to a 6 1/2-month low after a Carlyle Group fund failed to reorganize its debt. Indian Oil Corp., the largest state-run refiner, slumped to a one-month low. Asian stocks dropped the most in almost a week after the dollar tumbled below 100 yen for the first time since 1995.

``The market's appetite for absorbing bad news is very limited,'' said Sanjay Sinha, chief investment officer at SBI Funds Management, who oversees $8.6 billion in assets in Mumbai. ``There is more bad news flowing in from global markets than from the domestic environment.''

The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell for the first time in three days. The gauge of 30 companies slumped 770.63, or 4.8 percent, to 15,357.35, its lowest value since Aug. 31.

The exchange's gauge for the real estate industry fell 11.6 percent and led the other 12 industry indexes lower. The S&P CNX Nifty declined 248.4, or 5.1 percent, to 4,623.60.

ICICI Bank dropped 42 rupees, or 4.8 percent, to 837.9, its lowest since Aug. 24. DLF Ltd., the nation's largest real-estate developer, declined the most since its trading debut last year. DLF plunged 105.95 rupees, or 15 percent, to 606.75. Almost 2.4 million DLF shares were traded today, close to four times the daily average over three months.

Rising Crude

Indian Oil declined 25.05 rupees, or 5 percent, to 478.45 rupees. Bharat Petroleum Corp., India's second-largest state refiner, fell 21.3 rupees, or 5 percent, to 407.3 and Hindustan Petroleum Corp., the third largest, dropped 9.4 rupees, or 3.4 percent, to 269.45.

Indian Oil is making daily losses of as much as 1.8 billion rupees ($44 million) by selling fuels below cost, Chairman Sarthak Behuria said on March 10. The company and other state run refiners are barred by the government from raising retail fuel prices as it helps to partially control inflation.

Hindustan Zinc Ltd. dropped 6.8 rupees, or 1.2 percent, to 581.30 after the nation's largest producer of zinc cut metal prices by 8,300 rupees a ton and reduced lead prices by 11,500 rupees a ton.

Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd. recorded its biggest percentage drop since listing in March 2007, falling 73.95 rupees, or 13 percent, to 494.15 after Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. said it started coverage on the Indian real estate developer with a ``sell'' rating and a share-price estimate of 495 rupees.

V-Guard Industries Ltd. dropped 8.55 rupees, or 10 percent, to 73.45 in its debut on the Bombay Stock Exchange after selling shares at 82 rupees apiece.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shailendra Bhatnagar in New Delhi at sbhatnagar3@bloomberg.net

Source : bloomberg.com