Several index heavy weights either hit their 52-week lows or just managed to ward it off during Monday's trading as the unexpected inflation numbers for April appear to have spooked the markets.

Even a share buy-back programme that could rank among the biggest in corporate history was not sufficient to keep a company's stock immune to the negative sentiments as Reliance Industries found on the day.

What compounded the market's misery was the weak global indices — Asia and Europe — and reports of Moody's downgrading the rating of LIC, a very large institutional investor that bailed out some of Government's divestment programmes.

The four stocks among the CNX Nifty to hit their 52-week lows during the day were two PSU banking majors, apart from Reliance and Hindalco. Punjab National Bank stock went down to Rs 721.20 and Bank of Baroda fell to Rs 618.30, both 52-week lows for the respective stocks.

Though both managed to recover at the close, it was not significant and they shed huge value — PNB was down by Rs 22.85 when it closed at Rs 722 and BoB lost Rs 29.80 at close when it ended at Rs 619.

RelianceInd hit a 52 week low of Rs 678.55 before recovering to Rs 681 at close, still a loss of Rs 16.20.

The company is at present implementing a buy-back programme under which it has planned to buy-back up to 12 crore shares at a price not exceeding Rs 870 a share through the exchanges. The company has put a war chest of Rs 10,440 crore for the share buy-back.

A few other stocks managed to ward off hitting fresh 52-week lows. NTPC's day's low of Rs 146.50 was just 40 paise less than its 52-week low. GAIL also narrowly avoided breaching its 52-week low of Rs 315 when it went down to Rs 315.25.

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