The downtrend in bourses continued for the third straight session with benchmark Sensex on Wednesday slipping about 51 points to fresh one-month lows while the Nifty index ended below the key 8,700-mark on selling in key frontline heavyweights amid sluggish Asian cues.
Metal, Oil&gas, Healthcare, Capital Goods and Technology stocks mostly witnessed pressure. In the previous two days, Indian markets saw sharp sell-off following fears of an imminent rise in US interest rates.
The bellwether 30-share Sensex has now lost 789.78 points in straight three days. The Sensex opened higher at 28,725.75 and hovered between 28,843.23 and 28,608.20 before settling at 28,659.20, showing a loss of 50.70 points, or 0.18%, over its last close.
This is its lowest close since February 11. Similarly, the NSE Nifty index lost 12.10 points, or 0.14%, to end below the 8,700 mark at 8,699.95. Taking a breather after recent heavy bout of selling, market rebounded with modest gains and traded mostly in a tight range in early part of the day but the upward momentum fizzled out towards the fag-end.
"Market opened higher on the back of positive news flow on current account deficit which came in lower than expectations of the street.
However, positive opening failed to hold initial gains due to weakness in Asian markets and weaker trend of Indian currency against dollar," said Shrikant Chouhan, Head-Technical Research, Kotak Securities. Investors are turning a bit more cautious at this juncture and paring long positions due to uncertainty in global markets and caution ahead of Fed meet next week, a floor trader said.
Hindalco was the top loser among Sensex and Nifty stocks by slumping over 5.5% after its promoter Kumar Mangalam Birla was summoned as accused by a special court in coal scam case. Pharma stocks, which have been outperforming the benchmark indices in the past few trading sessions, also came under selling pressure. Cipla and Sun Pharma fell. Elsewhere, a slew of poor-than-expected Chinese economic data kept most other Asian equities under pressure with key indices from Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan falling 0.14% to 0.75%, while China and Japan gained marginally.
European stocks recovered in late morning deals halting the previous session's losses. France's CAC was trading up by 1.40%, Germany's DAX by 1.16% and the UK's FTSE by 0.44%. In the 30-share Sensex pack, 22 scrips closed with falls. Besides Hindalco, other major Sensex laggards included Sesa Sterlite 2.33%, Tata Steel 1.88 %, Cipla 1.63 %, Tata Motors 1.62 %, Sun Pharma 1.41 %, Bajaj Auto 1.41 %, ONGC 1.40 %, TCS 1.27%, SBI 0.85%, Infosys 0.75% and L&T 0.72%.
However, prominent gainers were Bharti Airtel 5.97%, NTPC 2.63%, M&M by 2.48%, GAIL 1.58%, HUL 1.34%, Dr Reddy 1.07% and HDFC 0.70%. Meanwhile, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) sold shares worth Rs 748.13 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional data.
The total market breadth continued to rule weak as 1,636 stocks lost ground and 1,186 gained while 133 held stable.