Favourable inflation data failed to lift sentiment as market benchmark Sensex retreated from its six-month high on Tuesday after plunging 253.11 points on sell-off in pharma stocks, while global cues also remained muted ahead of the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting.
Healthcare index fell sharply by 3.01% as Lupin dropped 7.59% after company received nine observations relating to inadequacy and adherence to operating norms for its manufacturing plant in Goa from the USFDA.
Another pharma stock Pfizer continued to remain under pressure and fell by 3.15% to Rs 1,705.30 amid concerns over the ban on their popular drug products.
Globally, European shares dropped following weak Asian markets after the Bank of Japan painted a bleaker picture of the country’s economy.
“With Federal Open Market Committee meeting underway, caution was obviously the watch word, despite expectations that the US would refrain from raising rates tomorrow,” said Anand James CoHead Technical Research Desk Geojit BNP Paribas.
Deflationary trend continued for the 16th month in a row as wholesale prices declined by 0.91% in February, prompting India Inc to press for a rate cut by RBI to boost factory output, which has been contracting since November.
The 30-share Sensex after opening up, advanced to a high of 24,840.77, before profit-booking in recent gainers took hold, which pulled it down to a low of 24,517.28 and ended at 24,551.17, showing a loss of 253.11 points or 1.02%.
The gauge had gained 180.94 points in the previous two sessions to hit a high of six-month high.
Some weakness in the rupee too weighed on the sentiment.
The 50-share NSE Nifty broke below the crucial 7,500 level and settled 78.15 points or 1.04% lower at 7,460.60.
Foreign investors bought shares worth a net Rs 1,035.63 crore on Monday, as per provisional data.
Asian stocks ended lower as investors braced for a run of policy announcements from major central banks this week and after the Bank of Japan held policy steady as expected.
Indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan fell by 0.12% to 1.56% while China’s index moved up by 0.17%.
Europe was also lower as investors remained cautious ahead of the outcome of Federal Reserve policy meeting, which begins on Tuesday. Key indices in France, Germany and the UK moved down between 0.19% and 0.49%. Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 22 scrips ended lower while eight gained.
Major losers were Lupin (7.59%), HDFC (3.63%), Dr Reddy’s (2.96%), Cipla (2.48%), Sun Pharma (2.33%), ITC (2.30%), Adani Ports (1.70%), HUL (1.50%), Bajaj Auto (1.50%), Tata Motors (1.43%), Asian paints (1.24%), TCS (0.95%), GAIL (0.80%) and Infosys (0.58%).
However, SBI rose by 1.84% followed by Tata Steel 1.18%t, Bharti Airtel (0.81%), Axis Bank (0.77%, BHEL (0.52%), RIL (0.18%) and Maruti (0.12%).
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, other losers were FMCG 1.54%, teck (0.93%), IT (0.85%), auto (0.70%), finance (0.59%), industrials (0.53%), telecom (0.49%) and utilities (0.29%), while bankex rose by 0.36% and oil&gas gained 0.29%.
The market breadth remained negative as 1,633 shares ended lower, 1,011 closed higher while 157 ruled steady.
The total turnover fell to Rs 2,369.49 crore from Rs 4,253.37 crore on Monday.