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Markets end lower, software shares weigh

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Key share indices ended the trading session on a lower note led by weakness among index heavyweights, auto, metal and financial shares. The sentiments were further weighed down by the concerns over global growth recovery coupled with US fiscal cliff tensions and bailout uncertainty of Spain and Greece.

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s 30-share provisionally closed at 18,454 down 164 points. The National Stock Exchange’s 50-share S&P CNX provisionally closed at 5,628 down 39 points.

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Updated at 14:35

Benchmark Indices continue to witness selling pressure led by weakness among index heavyweights, auto, metal and financials shares. The sentiments were further weighed down by the concerns over global growth recovery coupled with US fiscal cliff tensions and bailout uncertainty of Spain and Greece.

By 14:30, Sensex plunged by 158 points at 18,461, and the Nifty was down 43 points at 5,624 levels. The Sensex and the Nifty reached an intra-day low of 18,409 levels and 5,604 mark, respectively.

On the global front, Asian stocks mostly fell on Thursday as investors reacted to the prospect of drawn-out negotiations over the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff" by shedding riskier assets, but Japanese equities bucked the trend as a sharp slide in the yen lifted exporters' shares.

European markets too have opened weak with CAC, DAX and FTSE declining 0.2-0.5%.

Back home, the rupee fell by 12 paise to 55 against the American currency on sustained dollar demand from banks and importers amid weakness in local equities.

On the sectoral front, BSE Metal and IT indices have plummeted by almost 2% followed by counters like Auto, FMCG, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, PSU and TECk, all declining by 1% each. However, BSE Consumer Durable index has gained by over 1%.

Software shares like Wipro, Infosys and TCS have plunged by 2% on concerns over outsourcing orders from US-based clients as world's biggest economy struggled to fight tax issue with the Congress.

Index heavyweight Reliance Inds has slipped over 1% as the company reported a further decline in natural gas production from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields.   

Metal shares like Jindal Steel, Tata Steel, Sterlite and Hindalco have melted between 2-3%.

Auto majors like Tata Motors, Hero Moto, M&M and Bajaj Auto have slipped between 1-2%.

Other notable include ITC, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Dr Reddy’s, Cipla and SBI.

On the gaining side, Bharti Airtel gained by almost 3% on Thursday after winning bids in the second-generation (2G) mobile-phone airwaves auction process.

The much awaited 1,800-MHz 2G spectrum auction ended on the second day on Wednesday, with the government managing to rake in a dismal Rs 9,407 crore as against the expected Rs 40,000 crore.

Among individual shares, DLF recover to rise 1% after falling as much as 1.6% in early trading.

The shares had initially slumped after DLF said late on Monday July-September net profit slumped 63% from a year ago, hit by slowing home sales.

Shares in HCL Technologies gain 1.8%, after earlier hitting a session high at Rs 629.85, their highest since March 2000.

Meanwhile, Meanwhile, BSE Midcap index has dipped by 0.3% whereas BSE Smallcap index is almost flat.

The market breadth in BSE remains unhealthy with 1,656 shares declining and 1,023 shares advancing.

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