New Delhi, Aug 8 (PTI) Investor wealth today plunged by

Rs 1.43 lakh crore amid sell-off in the stock market where the

BSE benchmark index slumped nearly 260 points.

The 30-share index, which lost nearly 52 points in the

previous session, resumed higher at 32,341.05 and advanced to

32,354.77 in early trade.

But selling pressure emerged as participants digested the

Sebi order clamping down on shell companies, which dragged the

gauge below the 32,000-mark briefly to a low of 31,915.20. The

index finally settled at 32,014.19, a loss of 259.48 points,

or 0.80 per cent.

Following weakness in stocks, the market capitalisation

of BSE-listed companies fell by Rs 1,43,634.86 crore to Rs

1,31,84,912 crore.

The benchmark indices fell as Sebi cracked down on 331

suspected shell companies listed on exchanges.

Investors were spooked after the markets watchdog last

night directed bourses to initiate action against the

suspected shell companies. These scrips will not be available

for trading this month.

“Sebi order has taken industry and investors by surprise.

This has led to erosion of serious wealth and if some of the

companies are found to be not shell companies, this order

shall still be a death knell on their perception and

valuation,” said Rajesh Narain Gupta, Managing Partner, SNG

and Partners.

Dr Reddy’s was the worst performer in the 30-share pack,

losing 4.91 per cent. Other laggards included SBI, ITC, ICICI

Bank and NTPC.

Among the sectoral indices, realty was the hardest hit,

down 4.53 per cent, followed by oil and gas (2.16 per cent).

On the BSE, 2,020 stocks declined and 566 advanced while

121 remained unchanged.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.