Sensex slumps 324 points; Nifty drops below 11,650 on F&O expiry

Equity benchmark BSE Sensex cracked 324 points Thursday on heavy selloff in auto, metal, energy and financial stocks as boiling crude prices and depreciating rupee weighed on investor sentiment. Maruti Suzuki tumbled 2.23 per cent after the country's largest car maker reported a 4.6 per cent decline in net profit to Rs 1,795.6 crore for the March quarter.

After starting on a positive note, the indices succumbed to a sudden selloff in the last half-hour of trade.The Sensex finished at 38,730.86, down by 323.82 points, or 0.83 per cent.The NSE Nifty too dropped below the 11,650 mark as April futures and options (F&O) contracts expired, ending 84.35 points, or 0.72 per cent, down at 11,641.80.

Top losers in the Sensex pack included Tata Steel, Vedanta, Maruti, SBI, Coal India, Tata Motors, Sun Pharma, HUL, RIL, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC duo, ICICI Bank, M&M, Kotak Bank, and Infosys, falling up to 2.89 per cent.On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, TCS and Bajaj Auto gained up to 2.08 per cent.

According to Rahul Mishra, AVP (Derivatives), Emkay Global Financial Services, market made new highs during the month but could not sustain there due to profit-booking at higher levels.Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.25 per cent, surging past the USD 75 per barrel mark.The rupee depreciated 37 paise to 70.23 against the US dollar intra-day.

Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased equity worth Rs 974.88 crore on Wednesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold shares to the tune of Rs 657.06 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.Elsewhere in Asia, benchmark equity indices in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a mixed note. European equities too started weak.

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