Continuing its losing streak for the third straight session, the Indian benchmark indices, Sensex and Nifty, closed lower on Thursday, led by sustained selling across realty, auto, metals and oil and gas stocks.
Investors resorted to profit booking ahead of corporate earnings season scheduled to begin next week, with index heavyweights TCS and Infosys set to announce their December quarter results.
The BSE Sensex closed at 35513.71, down by 377.81 points, or by 1.05 per cent, and the NSE Nifty ended at 10672.25, down by 120.25 points, or by 1.11 per cent. In the bearish trade today, the BSE Sensex touched an intra-day high and low of 35999.66 and 35475.57, respectively. The NSE Nifty touched intraday high of 10814.05 and intraday low of 10661.25.
In line with benchmark indices the broader markets also settled in red, with mid cap and small cap indices falling as much as 1.03 per cent and 0.58 per cent, respectively.
Mahindra & Mahindra emerged as top laggards of the BSE Sensex pack, skidding over 3 per cent to close at Rs 718.95, the lowest since December 12. Among others, Oil And Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (Rs. 143.20, 2.98%), Vedanta Ltd. (Rs. 188.00, 2.64%), Tata Steel Ltd. (Rs. 481.05, 2.59%), Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (Rs. 1393.95, 2.27%), were notable losers.
On the flip side, HCL Technologies, Bajaj Auto, Asian Paints, Hindustan Unilever Ltd and Bharti Airtel, were among top gainers on the BSE.
The market breadth, indicating the overall strength of the market, was weak. Out of 2,906 shares traded on BSE, 1,054 advanced while 1,684 shares declined and 168 were unchanged.On the sectoral front, all the indices ended in negative terrain, barring FMCG index, with metal and oil and gas stocks emerging as top losers, falling as much as 2.35 per cent and 1.75 per cent, respectively.
Among the individual stocks, SMS Lifesciences India, maker of active pharmaceutical ingredients, surged as much as 17.58 per cent and touched 52-week high of Rs 694.20 apiece, after opening higher at Rs 610.10 compared to the previous close of 590.40 on the BSE.
Shares of state-run Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank tumbled as investors gave thumbs down to share-swap ratio on its merger with Bank of Baroda. Bucking the trend, shares of Bank of Baroda rose after the public sector lender announced the swap ratio for the proposed merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank. The investors also cheered the bank's plan to raise fund up to Rs 1,285 crore by issuing Basel III compliant bonds.
Overseas, Asian markets ended lower for the second session on Thursday as weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data coupled with a fall in France's PMI in December sent world shares tumbling. The weak Chinese data indicated that the ongoing trade war between China and the US will affect global economic growth.
Wall Street ended the first session of the year tad higher after volatile trading on Wednesday, led by a sharp drop in Apple shares. However, rebound in oil prices helped the market to offset weakness. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index rose 3.18 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 2,510.03, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 18.78 points, or 0.08 percent, to finish at 23,346.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 30.66 points, or 0.46 percent, to settle at 6,665.94.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar