Equity indices traded sideways with small losses in early afternoon session. The Nifty hovered below the 15,100 mark. Rising COVID-19 case and negative global cues impacted domestic sentiment.
At 12:27 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 130.69 points or 0.25% at 51,194. The Nifty 50 index fell 37.15 points or 0.25% to 15,081.80.
In broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index fell 0.34% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index was up 0.44%.
The market breadth was positive. On the BSE, 1492 shares rose and 1271 shares fell. A total of 161 shares were unchanged.
The NSE's India VIX, a gauge of market's expectation of volatility over the near term, rose 0.04% to 21.5525. The Nifty 25 February 2021 futures were trading at 15,089.50, at a premium of 3.15 points as compared with the spot at 15,086.35.
The Nifty option chain for 25 February 2021 expiry showed maximum Call OI of 41.1 lakh contracts at the 16,000 strike price. Maximum Put OI of 50.2 lakh contracts was seen at 14,000 strike price.
Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 110,289,988 with 2,441,112 deaths. India reported 139,542 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 156,111 deaths while 106,67,741 patients have been discharged, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
The Nifty Pharma declined 0.78% to 12,419.70, extending losses for third consecutive session.
The pharmaceutical indices lost 3% in three days.
Biocon (down 2%), Cadila Healthcare (down 1.68%), Divi's Laboratories (down 1.33%), Torrent Pharmaceutical (down 0.88%) and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (down 0.83%) were top losers in pharmaceutical space.
Stocks in Spotlight:
Engineers India was up 1.68% while Oil India rose 2.87%. A consortium of Engineers India (EIL) and Oil India (OIL) has decided to bid for 61.65% stake of Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) in Numaligarh Refinery (NRL). The bid is to be submitted through a formal process. EIL is taking the minority stakeholding. EIL's move is aimed at diversification into downstream oil & gas operations. The exact percentage of the stake of OIL and EIL will depend on the extent of Right of First Offer (ROFO) to be exercised by Government of Assam which already holds 12.35% stake in NRL.
Escorts fell 1.6%. CRISIL Ratings upgraded its ratings on the long-term bank facilities of Escorts to 'CRISIL AA' from 'CRISIL AA-' and revised its outlook to 'Stable' from 'Positive'. The rating on the short-term bank facilities and commercial paper programme has been reaffirmed at 'CRISIL A1+'.
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