Diwali fails to light up stock mkts

The first trading session of Samvat 2069 concluded on a weak note as Sensex today closed nearly 52 points lower at over one-week low of 18,618.87, the first time since 2007 the BSE benchmark logged losses in Muhurat trades, after investors booked profits amid tepid global cues.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer Sensex logged a high of 18,732.71 a few minutes after the onset of business today but profit-booking pulled it down to settle at 1-1/2-week low of 18,618.87 -- a fall of 51.47 points or 0.28 per cent.

Insipid global stock market sentiment and recent weak economic data continued to weigh on the market for the second straight day after Sensex dipped by 13.34 points yesterday.

Though there was no usual trading today, a special Muhurat trading was conducted on stock exchanges from 15.45 hrs to 17.00 hrs.

IT, realty and banking counters attracted profit-booking while some of the refinery and FMCG stocks were in demand.

The broader 50-issue S&P CNX Nifty of the NSE also eased further by 16.75 points, or 0.29 per cent, to end at 5,666.95.

With movements in front-line stocks limited to a few counters, second line stocks attracted good buying support from retail investors on this auspicious day which marks the beginning of the new trading year for the Gujarati community, who form the bulk of share brokers in India.

In Samvat 2068, Sensex had risen by around 8.2 per cent.

"I am personally optimistic about the coming year. I think market will give better returns this year compared to last year. Market may touch all time high provided we see RBI going for the rate cuts and the government continues its action on

the policy front," said Motilal Oswal, CMD, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

The Sensex had dipped by over 150 points in Muhurat trading in 2007.

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