Sensex fell 24 points on profit booking and lack of buying interest due to the uncertainty attached to the financial performance of corporates in the December quarter.

The benchmark index Sensex opened on a positive note at 21,367 against the previous close of 21,289. It made a high of 21,379 and low of 21,200 before closing at 21,265. The trading volume on BSE was up 7 per cent at Rs 2,001 crore against Rs 1,876 crore recorded on Wednesday.

Most banking stocks ended the day in red on fears of substantial increase in non-performing asset. Gross non-performing asset of banks is expected to increase to five per cent of the total gross lending by end of this fiscal, revealed a study on banks bad loans released by Assocham on Thursday.

As of September 2013, banks together approved Corporate Debt Restructuring worth Rs 2.72 lakh crore out of Rs 3.62 lakh crore that came for restructuring, said the study.

Iron and steel and infrastructure sectors are the largest contributors to public sector banks NPA. Besides, aviation, textiles and mining are also adding to the stressed assets. These five sectors together contribute about 24 per cent of total advances of all banks, and account for about 51 per cent of their total stressed advances at the end of September last year, said the study.

Axis Bank lost 0.10 per cent to Rs 1,177 on BSE as the bank's gross non-performing assets increased to Rs 3,008 crore as of December quarter against Rs 2,275 crore recorded in the same period last year.

The bank, which announced its results during the market hours on Thursday, reported 19 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 1,604 crore.

Major gainers were Gitanjali Gems (10%), Wockhardt (4%), Bharat Forge (4%), HCL Tech (4%), Prestige Estates (4%), Berger Paints (4%), Aurobindo Phar (4%) and JSW Steel (3%).

Prominent losers were Idea Cellular (-7%), Bharti Airtel (-5%), Max India (-4%), Reliance Comm (-4%), Mcleod Russel (-4%), Godrej Cons (-4%) and Muthoot Fin (-4%).

(This article was published on January 16, 2014)
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