The Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Thursday ahead of weekly expiry of index futures and option contracts due later in the day. The Sensex fell as much as 316 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below its important psychological level of 15,800. Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Hindustan Unilever and Infosys were among the top drags on the Sensex.
As of 12:36 pm, the Sensex was down 304 points at 52,750 and Nifty 50 index declined 88 points to 15,791.
“With earnings season kicking in, markets might get a sense of direction since most positive triggers had already been factored in,” said Gaurav Garg, head of research at CapitalVia Global Research in Indore told Reuters.
“IT companies are expected to announce robust earnings but we might see some correction if there are any shortfalls in their results as expectations from the sector are very high.”
Selling pressure was visible across the board as all the 11 sector gauges, barring the index of real estate shares, were trading lower led by the Nifty Metal index’s 1.4 per cent decline. Nifty FMCG, Pharma, PSU Bank, Auto, Financial Services and Bank indices dropped 0.5-0.9 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares were trading mixed as Nifty Midcap 100 index was trading flat and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.3 per cent.
Hindalco, JSW Steel, Tata Motors, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, ONGC, Hindustan Unilever, Cipla, Britannia Industries, Bajaj Finance and Grasim Industries were among the top Nifty losers.
On the flipside, Bajaj Auto, Shree Cements, NTPC, IndusInd Bank, Titan and Tech Mahindra were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,667 shares were advancing while 1,400 were declining on the BSE.