The Indian equity benchmarks fell sharply on Thursday ahead of weekly expiry of index futures and option contracts on the back of weak global cues. The Sensex fell as much as 322 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below its important psychological level of 17,950. HDFC, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Infosys, Axis Bank and Tech Mahindra were among the top drags on the Sensex.
As of 9:36 am, the Sensex was down 296 points at 60,060 and Nifty 50 index fell 94 points to 17,924.
Inflation fears pressured Asian stocks and buoyed the dollar on Thursday after data overnight showed US consumer prices surged at the fastest pace since 1990 last month, boosting the case for faster Federal Reserve policy tightening.
Nominal US Treasury yields shot higher, with that on the benchmark 10-year note leaping by the most since February, while real yields, which take inflation into account, dipped to record lows.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.85 per cent, led by a 1.19 per cent slide in Australia’s benchmark.
Back home, nine of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Bank index’s 0.6 per cent decline. Nifty Financial Services, IT, Pharma, Private Bank and Oil & Gas indices also fell between 0.4-0.6 per cent.
On the other hand, select media, metal and real estate shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were witnessing a mild selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.2 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index declined 0.4 per cent.
ONGC was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2 per cent to Rs 154. tech Mahindra, Wipro, HDFC, Cipla, Axis Bank State Bank of India, Tata Consumer Products, Sun Pharma, Shree Cements, Eicher Motors, IndusInd Bank and Nestle India also fell between 1-1.8 per cent.
On the flipside, Titan, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Hindalco, Maruti Suzuki and Larsen & Toubro were among the notable gainers.