Sensex ends below 18K; rate sensitives, IT, infra drag

The benchmark Sensex closed below the 18000 mark - important psychological level - for the first time since July 30, 2010. The index shed more than 200 points in the second half of trade, dragged by shares of financial, technology, realty, auto, capital goods and power companies.

Profit booking was the main reason behind today's fall and experts feel the markets may correct further as it has rallied recently upto 5550 level. Dilip Bhat of Prabhudas Lilladher said that the market is likely to be volatile and Nifty may correct to around 5,000-5,100.

However he did not even rule out the possibility of Nifty going up by 5,500-5,550 on the upside. "Nifty will probably have to spend either time wise correction or sideways correction," he said.

On the other side, PSU oil & gas companies' shares remained outperformers, might be post the news that oil retailers may up petrol price in September first week, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting sources. ONGC, GAIL, IOC, HPCL and BPCL gained 1.3-3%. Tata Steel, Sterlite Industries and Reliance Communications were other gainers.

The 30-share BSE Sensex closed at 17,998.41, down 227.94 points or 1.25% and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 69.20 points or 1.26% to settle at 5,408.70, after witnessing an intraday low of 5,391.95. For the week, indices lost 2.2% each.

Madhu Kela, Chief Investment Strategist, Reliance Capital said that the markets will take a sharp knock if FIIs sell and there is possibility of outflow of USD 1 billion. He is worried that domestic institutions don't have much cash and can't absorb FIIs selling.