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Sensex drops 140 points as rupee hits new low

Mumbai: Falling for the sixth straight session, the BSE Sensex shed about 140 points on Wednesday to close at an over two-week low of 38,018.31 as investor sentiment remained bearish amid a plunging rupee and weak global cues.

The rupee crashed to a fresh record low of 71.96 against the US dollar in intra-day trade on the back of rising bond yields and crisis in emerging market currencies.

Market sentiment was further dampened after a monthly survey showed that India's services sector activity fell in August from July's 21-month peak as new business orders declined.

The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index fell from July's peak of 54.2 to 51.5 in August owing to weakest growth in new work in three months.

The 30-share Sensex, after opening a shade higher and advancing to 38,250.61 in early trade, quickly slipped below the 38,000-mark.

It touched a low of 37,774.42 during the day, before finally ending at an over two-week low of 38,018.31 -- down 139.61 points or 0.37 per cent. It had lost 738.71 points in the previous five sessions.

The BSE benchmark is set for its longest string of losses in six months.

The 50-issue NSE Nifty too cracked below the 10,400-mark and hit a low of 11,393.85 before finishing 43.35 points, or 0.38 per cent down at 11,476.95.

Top losers were HUL, Kotak Bank, Bharti Airtel, RIL, HDFC, Hero Motocorp, Coal India, L&T, Infosys, TCS, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ONGC, PowerGrid and M&M, falling up to 2.45 per cent.

In contrast, Yes Bank, Vedanta, Adani Ports, Wipro, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Asian Paints, Maruti Suzuki, ITC, Tata Steel, NTPC and SBI finished with gains of up to 2.93 per cent.

Meanwhile, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 21.41 crore, while foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares to the tune of Rs 32.64 crore on Tuesday, provisional data showed.

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