An across-the-board sell-off enveloped markets in the last hour of trade as an unwavering rise in Covid-19 cases and slower-than-expected pace of vaccination worried investors on Dalal Street. Besides, confidence in the markets took a hit after media reports suggested that banks have approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to grant a 3-month moratorium period courtesy slowdown in the economic activity.
After starting gap-up and staying range-bound for the better part of the day, the 30-share Sensex index succumbed to bear hammering and dropped approximately 850 points from day's high to touch a low of 48,149. The index then mildly recovered to settle the day at 48,254 levels, down 465 points or 0.95 per cent.
On the NSE, the Nifty50 gave up the psychological level of 14,500 and closed at 14,496-mark, down 138 points or 0.94 per cent. Earlier in the day, it hit a low of 14,461.
Nearly 35 of the 50 constituents on the index ended the day in the red including Tata Consumer Products (down 4.3 per cent), Cipla, Reliance Industries, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hindalco Industries, Divi's Labs, and Sun Pharmaceuticals.
On the upside, SBI Life, up over 2 per cent, ended as the top Nifty gainer for the second straight day, followed by Bajaj Finance, BPCL, Adani Ports, ONGC, and Coal India.
The broader markets, although in the red, outperformed the benchmarks. The S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices each ended about half a per cent lower today. The losses stayed limited amid healthy buying in PSU Bank stocks such as Union Bank of India, Bank of India, Indian Bank, Central Bank of India along with NBCC, Bharat Forge, Shriram City Union Finance, Dish TV, Tata Steel BSL, and Excel Industries.
>> Among other individual stocks, Steel Authority of India today regained market capitalisation of Rs 50,000 crore, after its stock climbed over 80 per cent in the past one and half month.
The state-owned steel major also entered into the league of top 100 most valued companies in terms of market capitalisation. Earlier today, SAIL stood at 78th position in the overall m-cap ranking with a market cap of Rs 55,529 crore. The firm, however, ended the day with an m-cap of Rs 52,844 crore.
>> That apart, shares of IndiaMART InterMESH hit an over three-month low of Rs 7,220, down 6.6 per cent on the BSE in the intra-day trade on Tuesday, and was quoting at its lowest level since January 7. The scrip has declined 18 per cent in three days following the announcement of its March quarter results.
>> On the upside, shares Gateway Distriparks hit a fresh 52-week high of Rs 266 after rallying over 17 per cent on the BSE in intra-day trade on Tuesday. The stock has now surged 51 per cent in the past six trading days, after the company reported a four-fold jump in consolidated net profit at Rs 46.60 crore in the March quarter.
Coming to sectoral trends, the Nifty PSU Bank index was the sole sectoral gainer on the NSE today, up 3.5 per cent. The Nifty Pharma index, on the contrary, was gripped in profit-booking and ended 2 per cent lower today. All other sectoral indices on the NSE nursed losses between 0.4 per cent and 0.8 per cent.
Economically sensitive sectors, including miners, travel and energy, drove gains in European stocks on Tuesday, with British shares outperforming after a holiday-extended weekend.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4 per cent in early trading, with the German DAX up 0.2 per cent, and the UK's FTSE 100 rising 0.8 per cent.
Earlier in Asia, South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 per cent and Australia's S&P/ASX200 gained 0.5 per cent.