The Indian equity benchmarks fell for third day in a row on Tuesday dragged by losses in index heavyweights like Reliance Industries, ITC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and HDFC Bank as the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant weighed on investor sentiment globally ahead of a series of central bank meetings this week, including by the US Federal Reserve. The Sensex fell as much as 480 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday low of 17,225.
The Sensex ended 166 points lower at 58,117 and Nifty 50 index declined 43 points to settle at 17,325.
“The biggest concern that the markets have right now is the spread of the Omicron variant. A lot of information is still unknown,” Saurabh Jain, assistant vice president at SMC Securities told news agency Reuters.
“Also, with several central bank meetings this week, markets want to know what would be the pace of the liquidity tightening even though the Reserve Bank of India is ultra-dovish.”
Among individual stocks, Anand Rathi Wealth opened at a 9 per cent premium in its Mumbai market debut. Drugmaker Lupin Ltd surged 6.2 per cent after its Goa manufacturing plant got the establishment inspection report from the US federal drug regulator.
Eight of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty PSU Bank index’s 0.7 per cent decline. Nifty Realty, Private Bank, Financial Services, FMCG and Auto indices also ended with a negative bias.
On the other hand, Media, metal, pharma and healthcare shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares ended mixed with the Nifty Midcap 100 index declining 0.2 per cent while Nifty Smallcap 100 index advancing 0.2 per cent.
Tata Consumer Products was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 1.2 per cent to close at Rs 489. Reliance Industries, Bajaj Finserv, Sun Pharma, Mahindra & Mahindra, Grasim Industries, HDFC Life, HDFC, Indian Oil, HDFC Bank, Eicher Motors and UltraTech Cement were also among the losers.
On the flipside, Power Grid, Divi’s Labs, Axis Bank, Nestle India, Dr Reddy’s Labs, UPL, Titan and Adani Ports were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,802 shares ended higher while 1,507 closed lower on the BSE.