Indices were painted in the red for the fifth consecutive session as weak global cues, rising bond yields, and fears of Covid-19-led lockdown came to haunt the bulls on the Street.
Meanwhile, elevated oil prices and stretched valuations also concerned investors as most chose to take the profit off the table and stay on the sidelines following a secular rally in the benchmark in nearly one year.
The frontline indices nursed the maximum loss (in absolute terms) in nearly two-months today with the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex sinking 1,262 points in the intra-day trade while the Nifty50 lost 345 points.
At close, the BSE barometer of the 30-share index settled at a 3-week low of 49,744 levels, down 1,145 points or 2.25 per cent. Only three counters -- ONGC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and HDFC Bank -- were ruling up to 1 per cent higher. On the downside, Dr Reddy's Labs (down 5 per cent), M&M and Tech M (down around 4.5 per cent each), RIL, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, and TCS (down up to 4 per cent each), and Maruti Suzuki (down 3 per cent) were the top laggards.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 index managed to end above the 14,650-mark at 14,676, down 306 points or 2 per cent. About 40 stocks cracked on the index while 10 advanced. Adani Ports, JSW Steel, Hindalco, Tata Steel, and ONGC were the winners.
The broader markets, however, felt lesser pain with the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices closing 1.34 per cent and 1 per cent down, respectively.
On the sectoral front, metal stocks dazzled at the bourses as a steady economic recovery, roll out of Covid-19 vaccination, expectation of higher inflation and veering of government policies towards electric vehicles drew investors towards the sector. Besides, the supply deficit, which is nearing a decade high, also drove the prices higher. The Nifty Metal index ended 1.6 per cent higher on the NSE with Hindustan Copper, Ratnamani Metals, Hindalco, JSW Steel, and MOIL closing up to 14 per cent higher.
On the downside, the Nifty Realty, PSU banks, Pharma, IT, and Media indices declined by 3 per cent, while the Nifty Private Bank, FMCG, Financial Services, and Bank index closed 2 per cent down.
However, certain stocks managed to buck the trend and trade higher. Shares of Jubilant FoodWorks, the master franchise owner of Domino's Pizza in India, for instance, surged 6 per cent and hit a fresh 52-week high of Rs 3,127 on the BSE after the company said it would fully acquire Netherlands-based Fides Food via its wholly-owned subsidiary—Jubilant Foodworks Netherlands B.V. While analysts applauded the deal and believe that Jubilant's attractive valuation, potential to revive loss making business, expertise in running Domino’s, stronger global footprint, and synergy in terms of technology may add more legs of growth in the existing business.
That apart, shares of Jagran Prakashan surged 18 per cent to Rs 57.65 in intra-day trade after the company informed the exchanges that its board would mull buyback plan during its next Board meeting on March 2.
Lastly, shares of Thomas Cook (India) extended their winning run to the third straight session today as they rose by 6 per cent in intra-day trade to Rs 50.25 following the firm's fund-raising plans. In the three days, shares of the firm have added over 10 per cent.
World shares sank on Monday as expectations for faster economic growth and inflation battered bonds and boosted commodities, while rising real yields made equity valuations look more stretched in comparison.
MSCI’s All Country World Index was down 0.4 per cent. Meanwhile, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 1 per cent and at its lowest in 10 days while Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC 40 and Spain’s IBEX 35 index fell 1 per cent each. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.85 per cent and Italy’s FTSE MIB index fell 0.9 per cent.
Dow Jones Futures were last down nearly 180 points, indicating a weak start on Wall Street later today.