Equity stock markets were in a bear grip as profit-booking dragged indices lower across the globe. Japan's Nikkei edged down 0.58 per cent to 30,292 even as the country began Covid-19 vaccination drive. South Korea's benchmark Kospi index, meanwhile, ended down 0.93 per cent at 3,134 after the country reported the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in over a month.
In Europe, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.4 per cent, while London's mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 0.2 per cent.
Back home, the headline S&P BSE Sensex declined 400 points, or 0.77 per cent, to end below the 52,000-mark at 51,704 levels. Losses in heavyweights such as HDFC Bank, HDFC, TCS, Infosys, HUL, and Asian Paints dragged the index nearly 300 points down today.
Overall, Nestle India, Maruti Suzuki, Asian Paints, Bajaj Finserv, HDFC Bank, and IndusInd Bank were the top losers on the BSE barometer. However, gains of 3 per cent in State Bank of India, and up to 2 per cent in Power Grid, Reliance Industries, Bajaj Auto, and Axis Bank helped trim losses.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 index ended below the 15,250-mark at 15,209 level, down 104 points or 0.68 per cent.
In the intra-day session, the Sensex and the Nifty indices touched a low of 51,586 and 15,171, respectively.
The broader markets, however, bucked the trend and ended higher. Riding on up to 20 per cent gains in Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India, Greaves Cotton, and Shankara Building Products, the S&P BSE SmallCap index ended 0.5 per cent higher. Meanwhile, the mid-cap counterpart settled 0.02 per cent up.
Overall, market breadth favoured advances as nearly 1,500 scrips moved up on the BSE while 1,448 stocks declined. 338 stocks also managed to hit their respective upper circuits today.
On the sectoral front, IT and pharma stocks bore the maximum brunt with the Nifty IT and Pharma indices closing 1.3 per cent and 1.7 per cent down, respectively. The Nifty Financial Services and FMCG indices, too, ended up to 1 per cent down. On the upside, the Nifty PSU bank index settled around 6 per cent higher on privatisation hopes.
Shares of Nestle ended 2.8 per cent lower today after sliding 5 per cent in the intra-day after the firm's December quarter numbers failed to meet Street's expectations. The company on Tuesday posted a 2.25 per cent year-on-year rise in net profit to Rs 483 crore for the fourth quarter ended December.
Shares of Happiest Minds Technologies, meanwhile, hit a new high of Rs 484 as they hit 20 per cent upper circuit on the BSE in the intra-day trade on the back of heavy volumes. In the past seven trading days, the stock has rallied 33 per cent after its net profit nearly doubled to Rs 42 crore in Q3FY21, against Rs 21.4 crore in the year-ago quarter. Global brokerage Nomura has 'Buy' call on the stock with a target of Rs 480.
That apart, shares of Info Edge India declined 4.4 per cent in today's intra-day session to hit a low of Rs 4,865 per share. With today's slide, the share price has tumbled 12 per cent in two days after analysts cautioned against the stock's expensive valuation post Q3 nos.
Lastly, shares of telecom equipment manufacturers such as ITI, HFCL, ADC India, and D-Link surged up to 17 per cent as the Union Cabinet approved PLI scheme in the telecom equipment sector.
The Three-day IPO of RailTel has been subscribed 5.8 times till 4:30 PM on day 2. Meanwhile, that of Nureca has been subscribed nearly 40 times till 4:#0 pm on the last day.