Key benchmark indices reversed direction in morning trade. At 10:32 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 45.09 points or 0.15% at 29,473.65. The Nifty 50 index was down 16.50 points or 0.18% at 9,110.35.
Earlier, the key benchmark indices had drifted higher in early trade on positive Asian stocks.
The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, turned negative from positive in morning trade. On the BSE, 1,111 shares declined and 932 shares rose. A total of 135 shares were unchanged.
Overseas, most Asian shares were trading higher on the prospects of a less-hawkish Federal Reserve policy trajectory. The main US stock indexes closed marginally lower yesterday, 20 March 2017 for the third straight day of losses, as investors were reluctant to make big bets without major economic or corporate news.
Expectations that the US Federal Reserve will have to step up rate hikes to counter inflationary pressure from President Donald Trump's stimulus are waning after the Fed dropped no hints of an acceleration in credit tightening last week.
Back home, Dr Reddy's Laboratories (down 4.18%), Axis Bank (down 2.93%) and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 2.19%) edged lower from the Sensex pack.
Metal and mining stocks declined as copper prices fell in global commodity markets.
National Aluminium Company (down 1.08%), Vedanta (down 0.97%), JSW Steel (down 0.88%), Tata Steel (down 0.46%), Steel Authority of India (Sail) (down 0.94%), Hindustan Zinc (down 0.96%), Jindal Steel & Power (down 0.51%), Hindalco Industries (down 0.74%), NMDC (down 0.4%), Hindustan Copper (down 0.3%) edged lower.
Copper edged lower in the global commodities market. High Grade Copper for March 2017 delivery was currently off 1.48% at $2.6275 per pound on the COMEX.
Cement stocks rose. Ambuja Cements (up 1.37%), ACC (up 0.85%), UltraTech Cement (up 0.33%) and Shree Cement (up 1.46%) gained.
Grasim Industries was up 0.09%. Grasim has exposure to the cement sector through its holding in UltraTech Cement.
Divi's Laboratories fell 17.13% after the US drug regulator issued an import alert at the company's Visakhapatnam unit-II. Divis Laboratories announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has issued an Import Alert 66-40 on 20 March 2017 on the products manufactured at the company's Unit-II at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The agency has exempted the 10 products namely Levetiracetam, Gabapentin, Lamotrigine, Capecitabine, Naproxen Sodium, Raltegravir potassium, Atovaquone, Chloropurine , BOC core succinate and 2, 4-wing active ester, from the import alert, it added.
Divi's Laboratories said the company, along with third party consultants, is currently working to address the concerns of the USFDA and is making all efforts to fully meet the compliance requirements.
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