The Indian equity benchmarks extended losses in afternoon trading as rising Coronavirus cases in the country continue to dampen investor sentiment. The benchmarks opened lower and extended declines on the back of selling pressure in banking and financial services shares. The Sensex fell as much as 532 points and Nifty 50 index tumbled below its important psychological level of 14,650. Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC and Bajaj Finance were among the biggest drags on the Sensex.
As of 12:32 pm, the Sensex fell 487 points to 49,370 and Nifty 50 index was down 122 points at 14,621.
India reported 46,951 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours – biggest single-day jump since November 7. Total cases rose to 1,16,46,081, the government data showed. Maharashtra, which has logged the highest number of cases in India since the start of the pandemic, yet again saw its biggest single-day jump in fresh cases. 30,535 new infections on Sunday took the tally to 24,79,682. With 3,775 new infections, Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, also saw the highest-single day cases.
Meanwhile, ten of 19 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the S&P BSE Bankex index’s 1.4 per cent decline. Finance, Energy, IT, Auto, Consumer Durables and Oil & Gas shares were also facing selling pressure.
On the other hand, Pharma, Realty, Power and FMCG shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were outperforming their larger peers as S&P BSE MidCap index rose 0.47 per cent and S&P BSE SmallCap index advanced 0.37 per cent.
IndusInd Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 3.5 per cent to Rs 976. Power Grid, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Finance, Mahindra & Mahindra, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Life, HDFC, ONGC, Bharti Airtel and SBI Life also fell between 1-2.5 per cent.
On the flipside, Adani Ports, Sun Pharma, Divi’s Labs, Britannia Industries, Cipla, Tech Mahindra and Dr Reddy’s Labs were among the gainers.