BSE Sensex moves in reverse gear Statesman News Service MUMBAI, Nov. 12: Bears have tightened their grip on stock markets. A slowdown in US economy feared by the Federal Reserve chairman, Mr Ben Bernanke recently, hit bourses the world over. Coupled with the current sub-prime mortgage crisis the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange are also suffering from a distinct withdrawal symptoms of foreign institutional investors. The FIIs are said to have withdrawn about $950 million since 16 October when the market regulator SEBI curbed the inflow of unaccounted money via Participatory Notes and had asked FIIs only to “enter through the front door.” Last Saturday’s disappointing Muhurat trading had clearly shown the foreigners’ intentions. This morning the 30-stock Sensitive Index opened with a significant negative gap at 18,640.52 points and crashed further in initial business to touch low of 18,333.21 points which was 574.39 points below last Friday’s level. The index recovered as profit-taking took place at lower levels. It finally ended the day at 18,737.27 points with a loss of 170.33 points or 0.90 per cent down. The Nifty of the NSE lost 0.81 per cent or 46.15 points closing at 5,617.18. The Sensex had a rollercoaster ride. In mid-session it improved peaking at 18,815.11 points. Of the 30 Sensex shares 11 were up and 19 down with a volume of 2.28 crore shares traded at a turnover of Rs 1,945.95 crore. Once again the Reliance Industries stock topped the turnover list with Rs 283.39 crore followed by Bharti Airtel Rs 253.51 crore and Reliance Energy Rs 222.21 crore. The main losers were ONGC Rs 1,179.50 (-4.70 per cent), Bharti Rs 833.25 (-4.29 per cent) and HDFC Bank Rs 1,478.25 (-3.90 per cent). The gainers were ITC Rs 177.85 (5.30 per cent), NTPC Rs 253.50 (5.03 per cent) and SBI Rs 2,237.15 (3.45 per cent). Market watchers say FIIs with faceless investments in Indian equities misusing PNs are trying to minimise their losses before completely liquidating their positions as directed by the SEBI. With a deadline of 18 months to dissolve such PNs (constituting about 40 per cent of FIIs' total net investment) the foreigners appear to have opted for a gradual withdrawal lest any hasty selling would incur heavy losses. The foreigners ~ much to the delight of the bear lobby ~ are likely to mount selling pressure next month since December will be their year-end and time to celebrate Christmas and New Year.