Sensex Crashes by 624 Points, Nifty Settles at 10,925 as Auto and Telecom Stocks Drag
File image of Bombay Stock Exchange (Photo Credits: PTI)

Mumbai, August 13: Equity benchmark indices closed 1.6 per cent lower on Tuesday as heavy selling pressure built up in automotive and telecom stocks while investors awaited a government fiscal stimulus package to reverse the slowdown in the overall economy. Besides, the introduction of a surcharge on higher income brackets announced in the Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has led to a brisk selloff by foreign portfolio investors.

The BSE S&P Sensex closed 624 points lower at 36,958 while the Nifty 50 was down by 184 points to 10,925. All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the red with Nifty auto plunging by 3.95 per cent, financial services by 2.98 per cent, private banks by 2.56 per cent and IT by 2.51 per cent.

Among stocks, Yes Bank topped the chart of losers. It closed 10.9 per cent lower at Rs 73.20 per share. Bajaj Finance was down by 6 per cent, Mahindra & Mahindra by 5.8 per cent, Bajaj Finserv by 5.5 per cent and Eicher Motors by 5.3 per cent.

Telecom stocks slipped after Reliance Industries unveiled plans to launch high-speed internet services and free high definition TV with annual data subscription plans under its telecom subsidiary Jio. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea slipped 5.2 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively while multiplexes PVR Ltd and Inox Leisure were down by 4.1 per cent each.

"We are introducing a disruptive concept for watching new movies. Premium Jio Fibre customers will be able to watch movies in their living rooms the same day these movies are released in theatres," Reliance Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani announced at the 42nd annual general meeting on Monday.

Meanwhile, Reliance stocks spurted by 9.7 per cent to close at Rs 1,275 per share, a day after the conglomerate also announced a 75-billion dollar sale of a 20 per cent stake in its oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco. The other prominent gainers at bourses were Indiabulls Housing Finance which gained by over 14 per cent, Sun Pharma by 3.8 per cent and GAIL by 1.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Asian shares slumped as fears about a drawn-out US-China war and protests in Hong Kong drove investors to safe harbours like bonds. MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was down by 1 per cent and Chinese stocks fell by 0.6 per cent.

Hong Kong's main market index tumbled by more than 2 per cent to a seven-month low. Japan's Nikkei also took a hit of 1.1 per cent while stocks in Singapore shed 0.7 per cent after the government slashed its full-year economic growth forecasts.