Indian equities failed to hold on to their gap-up start and skid 1 per cent on Monday as profit booking in Reliance Industries' stock and weakness in IT and banking counters erased gains. That apart, reports of a fresh clash between Indian and Chinese troops, which left many injured, in Sikkim's Naku La region soured sentiment. Markets turned volatile with the India VIX index up nearly 4 per cent at close.
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex settled the session at 48,348 levels, down 531 points or 1.09 per cent, dragged by Reliance Industries (down 5.6 per cent), IndusInd Bank (down 5.5 per cent), HCL Tech (down 3.86 per cent), and HDFC (down 1 per cent).
Index heavyweight Reliance Industries' shares skid 5.7 per cent today as investors booked profit on the company's better-than-expected Q3 results. Global brokerage Macquarie has 'Underperform' rating on the stock with a target price of Rs 1,350.
The Nifty50, meanwhile, gave up the 14,250-mark and closed at 14,239 levels, down 133 points or 0.93 per cent. Only 18 of the 50 constituents ended the day in the green. Among these, Grasim Industries soared 15 per cent in the intra-day trade, and ended as the top gainer on the NSE, up 6 per cent, after the company decided to foray into paint business.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap index slipped 1.14 per cent to end at 18,547 levels, while the S&P BSE SmallCap index declined 1.15 per cent.
Sectorally, pharma stocks outperformed the market with the Nifty Pharma index ending nearly 2 per cent higher. Among individual stocks, Aurobindo Pharma ended 8 per cent higher on report that the government has given the company approval under the Production Linked Incentive scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical bulk drugs. The stock had jumped nearly 11 per cent higher in the intra-day trade.
On the downside, the Nifty Realty and the Nifty IT index ended with a cut of 1 per cent.
On the earnings front, shares of L&T hit a fresh 52-week high of Rs 1,396 on the BSE ahead of the announcement of its December quarter results later today.
In the primary market, the public issue of Stove Kraft was subscribed 77 per cent till 3:45 pm on the first day of the issue. Meanwhile, Home First Finance IPO got subscribed by around 26 times till 4 pm on the last day of the issue.
Domestic markets will remain shut on Tuesday on account of Republic Day holiday.
Asian shares climbed to near all-time highs on Monday as concerns over rising Covid-19 cases and delays in vaccine supplies were eclipsed by optimism of a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan to help revive the US economy.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose to 726.46, while Japan's Nikkei ended 0.7 per cent up. Australian shares added 0.4 per cent after the country's drug regulator approved Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine with a phased rollout likely late next month. Chinese shares rose, with the blue-chip CSI300 index up 1.1 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index leapt nearly 2 per cent led by technology stocks.
In Europe, stocks rose as gains in technology shares and upbeat earnings reports helped investors look past the possibility of extended lockdowns. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4 per cent.