The benchmark indices were trading near the day's low in early afternoon trade. Global cues were weak amid renewed Covid fears over a new variant found in South Africa. The Nifty was trading below 17,200 level. Barring the pharma and healthcare indices, all other sectoral indices on the NSE were in the red. Auto, metal and realty shares tumbled.
At 12:30 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, tanked 1282.20 points or 2.18% at 57,512.89. The Nifty 50 index tumbled 400.45 points or 2.28% at 17,135.80.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index declined 2.08% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index lost 1.29%.
The market breadth was weak. On the BSE, 1,074 shares rose and 2,117 shares fell. A total of 132 shares were unchanged.
The US Dow Jones futures skid 524 points, indicating a weak opening in the US market today.
The World Health Organization officials said Thursday they are monitoring a new variant with "a large number of mutations." A special meeting is scheduled for Friday to discuss its implications for vaccines and treatments. The variant, called B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa in small numbers, according to the WHO.
The NSE's India VIX, a gauge of market's expectation of volatility over the near term, surged 18.01% to 19.67. The Nifty 30 December 2021 futures were trading at 17,171.35, at a discount of 12.45 point as compared with the spot at 17,183.80.
The Nifty option chain for 30 December 2021 expiry showed maximum Call open interest (OI) of 53,296 contracts at the 18,000 strike price. Maximum Put OI of 81,225 contracts was seen at 17,000 strike price.
The Nifty Metal index dropped 4.02% to 5,397.85. The index rose 3.73% in the past three sessions.
NALCO (down 7.02%), JSW Steel (down 5.55%), Hindalco Industries (down 4.75%), SAIL (down 4.41%), JSPL (down 4.36%), Tata Steel (down 4.32%), Adani Enterprises (down 3.41%), Vedanta (down 3.29%), NMDC (down 3.22%), Hindustan Copper (down 3.11%), Welspun Corp (down 2.23%), Ratnamani Metals & Tubes (down 1.73%), Coal India (down 1.26%), APL Apollo Tubes (down 0.64%) and Hindustan Zinc (down 0.11%) tumbled.
Stocks in Spotlight:
Kirloskar Ferrous Industries (KFIL) fell 2.13%. The company said that it will acquire a majority stake in Indian Seamless Metal Tubes (ISMT) by subscribing to its equity shares through a preferential allotment and gain sole control over ISMT.
Shreyas Shipping & Logistics fell 1.80%. The company said it took the delivery of one bulk carrier named, TBC Kailash at price of $14.60 million.
Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys rose 3.23%. The company said that its board has approved issue of bonus equity shares in the ratio of one new equity bonus share for every one existing equity share of the company held by the shareholders. The company has fixed Monday, 10 January 2022 as the record date.
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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)