The BSE Sensex tumbled for the ninth straight day today - its longest losing tempo in about a decade - plunging nearly 259 points to 18,210 as investors remained apprehensive that high interest rate regime, and low GDP growth projection by RBI will crimp corporates earnings.The trend in global markets remained weak, dampening investor sentiment further.

The 9-day fall in the stock market barometer is the longest losing stint seen since a 450-point, or 14 per cent dip in ten days between September 5 and September 18, 2001.

The 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange index, Sensex, which lost 1,133 points in the last eight trading sessions, dipped another 258.78 points to 18,210.58.

It climbed to 18,569.21 at opening, before tumbling to touch the day’s low of 18,160.65. Besides the banking sector, telecom stocks fell on a dip Bharti Airtel’s Q4 earnings.

Brokers said Q4 earnings results have been a dampener this season as 10 of the 13 Sensex companies have missed market expectations so far.

The Sensex has declined 11 per cent this year on concerns over all round negatives - high inflation, soaring oil prices, rising interest rates and below—expected Q4 earnings.

The Reserve Bank of India has increased key rates by 50 basis points to 7.25 per cent, the most since July 2008, and predicted that inflation will stay “elevated” until September.

It also said the economy will grow just 8 per cent, as against the government’s projection of 9 per cent.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dipped below 5,500 level losing 77.30 points at 5,459.85.

Bharti Airtel dropped by 3.25 per cent to Rs 357.60, Reliance Communication by 5.52 per cent to Rs 89.05, and Tata Teleservices by 4.62 per cent to Rs 16.50.

In the banking sector, State Bank of India fell by 0.56 per cent to Rs 2,602.60, ICICI Bank by 2.82 per cent to Rs 1,028.30, HDFC Bank by 2.37 per cent to Rs 2,212.30 and HDFC Ltd by 1.35 per cent to Rs 655.70.

The most interest-sensitive realty sector index remained major loser by falling 2.89 per cent to 2,065.07, followed by power index by 2.40 per cent to 2,563.08.

The healthcare index fell 1.68 per cent to 6,017.07 after Ranbaxy dropped 6.03 per cent to Rs 426.40 on reports that it may have to pay about a USD 1 billion in fines as settlement with US Federal prosecutors.

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