Domestic stock markets started the last session of the week on a lacklustre note, a day after benchmark indices jumped more than 1 per cent following four straight days of losses. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell as much as 102.19 points to hit 41,220.81 in the first few minutes of trade, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark slid to as low as 12,092.80, down 33.1 points from the previous close. Losses in financial services and metal stocks were countered by gains in IT and pharma stocks limited the downside.
At 9:41 am, the Sensex traded 6.99 points – or 0.02 per cent – lower at 41,316.01, while the Nifty was down 2.80 points – or 0.02 per cent – at 12,123.10.
Twenty eight stocks on the 50-scrip benchmark index moved higher at the time. Top percentage losers were Cipla, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC, Hindalco and JSWL Steel, trading between 0.80 per cent and 1.09 per cent lower.
On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Zee Entertainment, Bharti Infratel and ONGC – up between 1.23 per cent and 3.40 per cent – were the top Nifty gainers.
HDFC, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the top drags on Sensex.
Equities in other Asian markets edged up on Thursday, supported by a fall in coronavirus cases and expectations of more Chinese stimulus to offset the economic impact of the epidemic.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.1 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei rallied 1.5 per cent.
The epicentre of the outbreak in China’s Hubei reported just 349 new cases on Thursday, the lowest since Jan. 25, although it was accompanied by a change in diagnosis rules.
More than 2,100 people have died from the coronavirus in China, spreading to more than two dozen countries, and governments around the world are trying to prevent it from becoming a global pandemic.
On Wednesday, the S&P BSE Sensex index and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark had risen 428.62 points – or 1.05 per cent – to end at 41,323.00 and 133.40 points – or 1.11 per cent – to settle at 12,125.90 respectively, backed by gains across most sectors.
The capital markets will remain shut on Friday for Mahashivratri.