Mumbai: Markets buckled under selling pressure on Monday as wary investors offloaded banking and financial services stocks amid a drumbeat of negative news from the sector.
The BSE Sensex tumbled 155.24 points or 0.40 per cent to finish at 38,667.33, while the broader NSE Nifty dropped 37.95 points or 0.33 per cent to 11,474.45. Market sentiment was jolted by a slew of reports highlighting governance and structural issues in the financial services space, traders said.
Lakshmi Vilas Bank shares tumbled about 5 per cent to hit its lower circuit limit after the RBI initiated prompt corrective action against the lender due to high NPA levels amid allegations of wrongdoings by some directors.
The regulatory action may cast doubts over its proposed merger with Indiabulls Housing Finance, which too plunged over 30 per cent. Reliance Capital dived over 14 per cent after the company decided to exit the lending business.
All this comes against the backdrop of Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank coming under the regulatory glare following a spate of alleged irregularities.
On the Sensex chart, Yes Bank was the biggest loser with over 15 per cent drop. Other major losers were IndusInd Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, HDFC and Axis Bank, losing up to 6.84 per cent.
In contrast, Bharti Airtel was the top gainer, spurting 5.29 per cent. IT stocks HCL Tech, TCS and Infosys also finished in the green. On monthly basis, the Sensex has gained 3.57 per cent or 1,334 points; while the Nifty rose 4.16 per cent or 459.65 per cent in September.
"Strong selling in banks, NBFC and metals dragged the indices down in Monday's trade. Selling in Indiabulls Housing Finance further weighed on market sentiment as it may have good exposure with banks," said Rohit Singre, Senior Technical Analyst at LKP Securities.
In the broader market, the BSE Smallcap index was the worst hit with a drop of 1.17 per cent, followed by the midcap gauge, which fell 1.12 per cent. BSE Largecap too under-performed the benchmark, sliding 0.42 per cent. Sectorally, bankex suffered the most by dropping 2.62 per cent, followed by finance 2.44 per cent and realty 1.63 per cent.
On the other hand, telecom was among the top sectoral gainers, rising 4.60 per cent. IT index rose 2.62 per cent. Of the 19 sectoral gauges compiled by the BSE, 13 closed in the red and six ended higher.
Recent government measures to prop up the slowing economy could not cheer the markets and investors are keenly awaiting the RBI monetary policy for further cues, analysts said.
The government on Saturday set October 15 as the deadline for central PSUs to clear overdue payments to vendors and exhorted them to front-load capital expenditure as it looks to lift economic growth from six-year low.
Besides, earnings announcements for the quarter ended September are scheduled to begin next week, which will also decide the market course going ahead, analysts added.
Asian stocks ended mixed as investors continued to track developments on the US-China trade front. The Indian rupee was trading 17 paise lower (intra-day) at 70.75 against the US dollar. Global oil benchmark Brent Futures depreciated 1.03 per cent to USD 60.41 per barrel.