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Sensex ends its two-month high, falls by 119 points at 26,759 over US visa curb worry

Marked by day-long swings, the stock market came off its nearly two-month high by falling over 119 points to close at 26,759, stumped by IT worries following proposed visa curbs in the US. The NSE nifty too briefly retook the 8,300 level before capitulating. Information technology stocks hit a rough patch after US lawmakers pushed ahead with legislation to put restrictions on use of H1B visas — Infosys fell 2.50%, TCS 2.18% and Wipro 2.18%. Selling pressure was so hard that it pulled indices such as IT, realty, FMCG, consumer durables lower.

The Sensex opened higher and advanced to touch a high of 27,009.61 before ending at 26,759.23, down 119.01 points, or 0.44%. The gauge had gained 245.11 points in yesterday’s trade. The NSE 50-share Nifty also regained the 8,300 level before settling lower by 30 points, or 0.36%, to close at 8,243.80. On a weekly basis, both key indices — the Sensex and the Nifty — recorded a rise of 132.77 points, or 0.49%, and 58 points, or 0.70%, respectively. In the 30-share Sensex pack, 17 scrips ended with sharp losses while the remaining 13 finished in the green.

Sectorally, the IT index suffered the most by falling 2.54% as two US lawmakers reintroduced a Bill to curb the use of H-1B visas, including requiring employers to pay more for workers under the system. Other sectoral indices that ended in the negative zone were technology 2.16%, realty 0.97%, FMCG 0.81%. But banking and healthcare bucked the trend and ended in the green. ITC, Power Grid, Tata Motors, Adani Ports, Coal India, Axis Bank, NTPC, Reliance Industries and Bharti Airtel fell up to 1.56%. However, ONGC, Asian Paints, Dr Reddy’s, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Bharti Airtel and Cipla ended up on the gainers list.

The BSE small and midcap indices also showed a weak trend, down 0.43% and 0.27%, respectively. Meanwhile, foreign funds sold shares worth Rs 86.88 crore yesterday, as per provisional data. A mixed trend at other Asian markets and a lower opening in Europe ahead of the US non-farm payrolls data triggered late selling on the domestic bourses here, brokers said. Elsewhere in Asia, Japanese Nikkei fell 0.34% and Shanghai Composite index was down 0.35% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.21% today. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.1%, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index slipped 0.2% and Paris CAC 40 lost 0.3% as investors awaited US jobs data.